The Sweet & Lowdown: Áine Coady

Áine Coady.

Áine Coady.

The prospect of 12-hour days, six days a week, doesn’t daunt film-maker Áine Coady. And the Slieverue girl has also been burning the midnight oil in recent days, putting in night-shifts in the editing room on her first feature production, Poison Pen, which premieres at this month’s Galway Film Fleadh.

A graduate in Sociology and Psychology from UCC, Áine is currently studying the Msc Digital Feature Film Production course at Filmbase in Dublin. She worked in retail management for over a year but, having gotten the taste for film production at Waterford Youth Arts, decided to pursue a career in film and television production.

“I was involved in Waterford Youth Drama during school in Our Lady of Mercy and I started out as most filmmakers, with a few willing friends as crew and a camcorder. I also volunteered as a steward at the Spraoi festival for years and I worked on many promotional campaigns in Waterford, Kilkenny and Cork.

“I wrote a few scripts in university but this career only became a reality when I was accepted into the Filmbase and Staffordshire University Masters programme. I always loved films, but didn’t think about it as a profession until after university. I sort of fell into the production side of filmmaking and being a producer fit.

“As a producer, you have to be very hands on and so I was involved in all aspects of making the film, from casting to location scouting to marketing. I relished the experience of working on my first feature although it’s been a hectic six months from inception to post production. No two days are the same and you have to constantly think on your feet. But I was a manager in retail so I’m used to working in such a fast-paced environment.

“The masters is a terrific course in that it prepares filmmakers for the reality of writing, developing, pitching, producing, shooting, editing, posting and distributing feature films in digital formats.”

Poison Pen was produced as part of the MSc in Digital Feature film Production course but, Áine says, the film became a much bigger picture than she could have hoped for.

Áine on site, filming Poison Pen.

Áine on site, filming Poison Pen.

‘As soon as I read Eoin Colfer’s script I knew I wanted to co-produce it (alongside Sharon Cronin). This is Eoin’s first produced screenplay with an Artemis Fowl film in the works being developed by Disney and the Weinstein company.

Poison Pen is a brilliant script and test screenings have described the film ‘as a smart, savvy rom-com with genuine humour and heart’, which is great to hear before our official release’. Poison Pen is a romantic comedy which stars Lochlann O Mearain (The O’Briens) alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/ Hate) in the leading roles. Lauryn Canny (A Thousand Times Goodnight / Amber), Susan Loughnane (The Food Guide To Love, Love/ Hate), Paul Ronan (One Hundred Mornings), Aaron Heffernan (Obama Mia! / Love/Rosie) and Mary Murray (Magdalene Sisters) come together as the supporting cast. The film follows washed-up author PC Molloy, who is forced to write for April Devereaux’s gossip magazine Poison Pen. He becomes caught up in a world of stars and their secrets and is soon in danger of becoming a celebrity himself. With the spotlight turning to Molloy, he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page.

‘The film is set in London so this presented us with a number challenges from the outset. As we were a micro budget production, having raised most of our funds from an online Indiegogo funding campaign, we shot all our interior scenes in Dublin before moving to London with a skeleton crew for the exterior shots. In addition we had to change Irish signs and accents along the way. We shot in Dublin, Kildare, London and Eoin Colfer’s hometown, Wexford, within a very limited schedule and budget.

Life through the lens.

Life through the lens.

“Teamwork was so important and Sharon my co-producer and I were so lucky to have such a hard-working and talented cast and crew which made our jobs so much easier. I am really proud of the dedication and sheer hard work that has gone into making Poison Pen come alive. I was delighted with the cast who came on board and their performances are really impressive throughout the film. Our cast joked that we were the Love/Hate Actually filmset.

“All our cast and crew are attending the Galway Film Fleadh this Friday and we feel privileged to premiere alongside the best in Irish and world cinema.”

It’s been a busy year for Áine, as she also worked as a production assistant on TG4’s Jockey Eile and produced two short films.

‘I have a short ‘Me First’ premiering at the Gaze film festival in August and another short, ‘Winter’s Dream’, currently in post production which I will hopefully enter into this year’s Waterford Film Festival.

“I’m spending the rest of the summer working on my thesis. Poison Pen will have a very good festival run this year so I’ll still be heavily involved with that. I have no aspirations for Hollywood but instead plan on setting up an independent production company in the autumn to continue to produce shorts and features from emerging Irish filmmakers.”

* Poison Pen screens at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre on 11th July. You can follow the film’s progress at www.poisonpenfilm.com and on social media – PoisonPen – The Film.

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