What else is there to say
Interview with Director Dave Mack
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Unfortunately, it seems everyone knows someone who has committed suicide. Up until last January I had only know through degrees of separation. When a friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time died after a battle with his mental health, it hit my friends and myself in different ways. One of the things that stood out to me was that we will never know if he died at his own hands, or an accident… there was no note. I thought of the huge numbers of people who commit suicide every year, and of the percentage of them that don’t leave a note. That must be very tough for families who are going through all that pain, to have zero communication, or answers to why. So I thought that making a film centered around the writing of a suicide note could help not only make more awareness to suicide, but also act as a note for those left behind without the very small closure that having one might leave.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
A lot of films that deal with this subject generally explore the character, and the issues and events that have brought them to this place; in I’m Sorry, But we only get to see the real-time writing of a note. I hope that this can help people empathise not just with the nameless character in the film but with anyone who may be in this place in their life. For anyone interested in the practices of film making, then I think it’s worth watching for how we made a film in real time set around not just one location, but around one piece of paper.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film is 100% universal. Although I had personal reasons to make the film, I tried to make it as impersonal and relatable to everyone else. I already know how to feel about it! So mental illness and depression is heavily soaked throughout the film. There’s also some aspects to family and friendships in it, and to how they can effect a person (or have no effect as the case may be) on a person at their lowest.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The script started out as a hand written note. I knew that the film would be essentially just a guy writing a note, so I felt that the wording of the note was the most important to the film’s script. I scrawled a 3-4 page note one night and then typed it up and sent it to my co-writer, who made it more concise. I like to get input from everyone working on my films, so my cinematographer worked on the action elements of the film, and It was actually his suggestion to have a back and forth with an internal voice for the character. Up until then, the film was just going to be the transcript of the note. I finally sent the script to the actor, and he read through it as we made changes on the flow of it until we were all happy with it.
I think the finished script is pretty much identical to the final cut of the film, maybe there’s a word change here or there. I work closely in the edit with my DOP, so the storyboards and final cut also matched.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It’s been largely positive, it’s lovely to get accepted to a festival. The Awareness Festival is my first festival entry as a director, so that’s certainly something special. It’s also been accepted to a similar festival in October. Those that have seen it have said it’s quite sad, but say it’s very good.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Not hugely, although I’m used to making comedies, so it’s a bit different to receive this exact type of feedback I’ve been getting. Usually it’s people quoting a funny line, or talking about a stupid character etc.. So it’s been interesting to have people talk about the film with the sense of a serious meaning and tone.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
It’s great to have a further outlet online rather than just Facebook and Twitter, especially when there’s a general purpose to the site rather that just exposing any old film; but films with a social tone or statement. It’s also great to have further exposure for the film, and for the folks involved in making it. I’d also like to see a push for women directors up to the forefront of film, of the few that I’ve worked with; I’ve never seen anything to hold them any different to their male counterparts, so to help support a site that helps to promote this is good too.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’d love to spread the film around charities that deal with suicide and depression, as great as it is to have a film on the festival circuit, I feel the long run for this is as a video for these groups, and potentially any schools or colleges that would like to run it during their mental health awareness weeks.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
It’s purpose is to act as a suicide note to stand in for anyone who was left without one. I don’t think a film could in any way fill or answer any of the questions for anyone in that position, but if there was any solace taken that sometimes you could never change someone’s actions no matter what you said or did, then it could hopefully help some people come to terms with it. It’s a pretty big reach to try and connect to such a huge group of people so it would be nice to hear it did some good.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
The whole idea of “If only I’d known and I could have said…” about someone who has killed themselves is mentioned a lot in the wake, and as much as it’s vitally important to ask people how they are, and to listen to people when they say they’re feeling down; there’s a lot of guilt left in people about how they didn’t talk or reach out someone. This film focuses on both how there is people willing to talk to you, and would never want to see you go through with a suicide; but also some people who are so far gone that there’s nothing short of tying them up that will stop them from going through with the deed. It’s a delicate line to balance on.
Would you like to add anything else?
Never be afraid to talk to anyone if you feel down. And again I’d like to mention the likes of wearemovingstories and the Awareness Film Festival for doing such a good job on helping to highlight these types of films that get made. There’s a time and place for comedy and horror festivals, but I think having an outlet for these “less fun” films is vitally important to everyone.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m currently taking some time away from film making and have a couple of writing projects in various phases. Although myself and co-writer Liam Kavanagh are entering the annual RTÉ Storyland competition. Rob Reeves, our star is in the process of directing (and I think starring.. he loves to act) in 12 films in 2016, you can check in on that here: https://www.facebook.com/robreevesfilms
Interview: September 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
I’m Sorry, But
What else is there to say
Niamh Leahy & Dave Mack
Liam Kavanagh & Dave Mack
About the writer, director and producer:
Dave had been making films for the past few years, generally comedy and web series ripping off other people’s ideas and turning them into his own. Co founder of Hairy Dog Films with Niamh Leahy and Sinead Lillis.
Liam has been writing both film and comics for the past few years, even dabbling in directing film and stage.
Hoping to release it sometime before Christmas 2016 once the festival run is over. Will have more details on our Facebook page.