Here on our Indie Film VOD Platform we are lucky enough to get enormous support from superb filmmakers. We caught up with just such a filmmaker, Robbie Walsh, to ask him all things movie related.
You have two movies on the UK Film Channel, Eden and S.P.L.I.T. why did you decide to add them?
As an independent filmmaker, getting distribution is very very difficult and without sales agents or a distribution company it's made even more so. Even after cinemas screened my 2 films within 6 months of each other, I couldn't get companies or agents to talk or discuss, so when the channel became available and it meant getting my films shown to a UK audience I was on board.
There was no way I could self distribute in the UK. It would be far too expensive for me, but the films can't just sit on a hard-drive, laptop or DVD, you have to get your work out to the public and let them see it.
What's the journey been like for you as a filmmaker? In terms of getting movies made and then getting them out there.
Tough, very tough, I'm an actor and film fan 1st and foremost but I wasn't getting called in for auditions or getting the parts I'd like to play, so I started to write short stories and scripts and would show them to friends or acting colleagues.
My 1st short film I made (ACES) I fought in a cage to get the money to make it (it ended up screening in Cannes Film Festival) so from the beginning I knew I had to work hard and develop a tough resolve to keep going in the face of constant rejection.
As I grew as a filmmaker, I would always take inspiration from my favorite actors, directors, writers, producers, so you must be a fan or the art first.
As far as getting them made, I would save as much as I could, shoot as quick as I could, ask for help from friends/family when I could and go from there. Getting the films out there is an interview and a film/documentary unto itself, the final week leading up to S.P.L.I.T's cinema release is an insane story (I had a real life DANCING CAVALIER at my press screening), a lot of emails, phone calls, knocking on doors and gritting teeth. BUT..... when you sit in a film theater and see the film start on the big screen.....it's worth it.
How did you get into making movies?
I was in the army and got an shoulder injury so I couldn't really do anything, at the time I was taking the odd acting class before it happened, so I used the opportunity to get more and more into acting and do as many classes as I could afford at the time.
I was getting very small and bit parts, the odd commercial and a bit of extra work. That's when I started writing and making my films and it grew and grew from there.
How much control would you say you have had over your career as a filmmaker?
Making/shooting my films, a lot. Getting them out there? I only have control in reaching out to people, but virtually none in the TV stations, online VOD, or theaters/cinemas decisions in actually showing, broadcasting or booking the films.
It is a very large complex machine...but with each email you send and phone call you make, you learn to navigate it a little better. A lot of the time you won't even get an answer...BUT... when you do get that simple "yes, we will show your film" or a "sure, send it over"... it's worth it.
How much time do you spend looking for distribution deals for your films?
The topics are your movies are quite heavy. Why is that?
Well you write about what you know, about what inspires you or about what might need attention or changing.
Films and artists are always at the forefront of change and a film can really alter or change how a person views a subject or could change certain aspects of a their life. If you have a story you feel only you could tell and tell correctly, it's your duty as a filmmaker to tell it. Otherwise it could be done badly and then you'll have to live with that.
Why should UK Film Channel users watch your two films?
Watch S.P.L.I.T to be entertained or offended, but definitely for a discussion (even to try spot all the film references).
Watch EDEN to get a real insight in what it is like to be and how easy it is to become homeless in Ireland.
Both are very relevant to what is happening more often than not in society both here and in the UK and I'm not sure how I feel about that as the films have become far more prophetic.
What's your favorite film quote?
"sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand" - Cool Hand Luke.