Burnside filmmaker heads Stateside for awards ceremony
Feb 13 2013
by Douglas Dickie, Rutherglen Reformer
Film award season is well underway, but while all eyes will be on Hollywood at the end of this month for the Oscars, one Burnside man has his attention fixed firmly on the other side of America.
David Brown (31) has always fancied himself as a filmmaker, but by his own admission hasn’t really done anything about it.
Until now that is, and rather than ease himself in David has found his directorial debut - self-financed short film A Bird In The Hand - which has been shortlisted in the prestigious Washington DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF).
The offbeat comedy/romance will now be seen by industry experts from across the globe as they converge on the American capital from March 6 to 10.
It’s an incredible rise for the former Hutchison Grammar student, who openly admits he didn’t have any expectations when he directed the seven-minute piece last year.
“I was extremely surprised (to get shortlisted) because I had pretty much given up on it,” says David.
“I finished it over seven months ago and not really bothered putting it into festivals. I sent it to a website called Withoutabox but I didn’t really do anything with it.
“I really forgot about it and went back to my job and then got an email through in January. My reaction was just ‘Oh my God!’”
The film itself tells the tale of Alan, a man who literally thinks he’s a chicken after years of torment about his looks. He catches the eye of free-spirited Grace and the pair strike up an unlikely romance.
The slightly surreal story was shot in Dublin in 2011 and 2012 with all the cast and crew working in regular jobs throughout the filming. The film stars up-and-coming Irish actor Finbarr Delaney and Canadian voice-over actress Zoe Slusar.
David, who allows himself a brief cameo, captures the heart of the story perfectly as Alan gets back in touch with his human side. Despite the finished product, David admits the filming didn’t always go smoothly as he learned one of showbusinesses golden rules.
“I enjoyed the actual filming of it but I didn’t enjoy the editing too much, or getting the money together to actually do it.
“There was one scene that had a cat in it. There’s the old saying about not working with children or animals and it’s absolutely true. The cat scratched the owners arms really badly and I wanted to re-shoot the scene, but we just didn’t have the money so I left it out.”
By his own admission, filmmaking is something David has always been interested in but he’s never actually done much about it until now.
Apart from the odd dabble in the industry, David finally “caught the bug” when doing a college course in Ireland and has gone on from there. It’s a far cry from his first experiences as he freely admits.
“This is the first film I’ve ever directed but I made one at college which was absolutely dreadful, that’s the only way I can describe it,” laughs David.
“There was another one I did at Strathclyde Uni that was so bad it was beyond belief. It was made after a night out and had my mates in it and it was a really dodgy horror film.
“I produced another with my friends and helped out on a few things, but they were all on a very small scale.
“Filming is something I’ve always been interested in but never really done much about. Maybe that was through laziness or maybe I just didn’t think it was possible, but it continued to intrigue me.
“I done a couple of courses in Ireland and really got the bug. I got to know some people and from that I made some contacts.”
He’s certainly starting in style. The DCIFF is Washington’s oldest independent film festival and is celebrating it’s 15th birthday this year. As well as having his work showcased, David will be able to attend workshops and meet other filmmakers to exchange ideas.
Ultimately he hopes to carve out a career in the industry, but he has one hurdle to overcome first - just getting to the US: “I’m trying to get the money to go over there but it’s going to cost more than the film itself which is crazy.
“It will be great for the experience though, it’s not just about showing films but there are seminars and hopefully I’ll get to meet directors.
“I really want to do this now properly. I didn’t write this film but I have written some stuff and really want to get funding so I can work in Scotland with a proper budget.
“I’d very much like to make a feature film but that’s a bit of a dream. But this had given me more confidence to do it.”