Rebecca O’Flanagan • Treasure Entertainment
by Naman Ramachandran
22/09/2011 - After stints at Film Makers Ireland and the Irish Film Board Rebecca O’Flanagan formed Rubicon Films that later teamed with Treasure Entertainment, where she is currently a director. She produced the short Right Now Ladies and Gents and served as associate producer on the acclaimed Shrooms. She was an executive producer on The Eclipse and produced My Brothers.
Cineuropa: How did being chosen as Ireland’s Producer On The Move this year help you at Cannes?
Rebecca O’Flanagan: It was a great honour to be chosen as Ireland’s Producer on the Move. I think that Cannes can be an overwhelming experience for a lot of people and to have a structure and context can be very helpful. Luckily I had been to Cannes many times before so for me I found that it was a great opportunity to build on networking opportunities. From the moment that the list is announced, the emails start to flood in with meeting requests etc. It is clear that the financiers and decision-makers see the selection as an important filter and that is a great thing. Also it is a great opportunity to form relationships and connections with other European producers with a view to co-production and financing opportunities. The whole experience provides for a very busy and productive Cannes!
Could you walk us through the process of how you raised financing for My Brothers? How difficult/easy was it?
The financing of My Brothers was very challenging. We had a first time writer, first time director and an unknown cast so the package was a hard sell! The script was beautiful though and that attracted strong support from the Irish Film Board, who was invaluable in its commitment. There was in point in time where we had to decide to just move forward with the film, even thought the budget level was extremely challenging for a road movie set in the 80s. And it required investment from ourselves to get it on screen. That was a hard decision but one that we were proud to have made once the film was made.
What do you think are the challenges facing the Irish film industry currently and what do you think could be the solutions?
Like many other European territories, Ireland faces the challenges of reduced budgets and access to equity. Unlike other territories, Ireland faces the additional challenge of being without a national broadcaster that supports feature film production as part of its remit. This makes it very difficult for Irish producers to find an internal financing mechanism for their films and means we are dependent on the external market. On a plus, I think that this requires producers to be outward looking and to constantly engage with the international filmmaking community.
What feature film projects are you working on now?
We have a number of projects on the go. We are the Irish producers on the feature film, Good Vibrations, which is shooting at the moment between Belfast and Dundalk. The film is financed by BBC Films, Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, BBC Northern Ireland, Immaculate Conception Films, Cinema One and Matador Pictures. The Works is handling international sales. Later this year, we are slated to shoot the feature film The Vehicle in LA. It is the debut feature film from writer/director John Butler. Following that, we hope to shoot the Irish/French co-production Wayfaring Strangers, starring Cillian Murphy, in Burgundy next spring.