We chat to the makers of short film ‘New Boy’, which is now available to view online
There were big celebrations at Movies.ie HQ when Irish short ‘New Boy’ was nominated for an Oscar. The film comes from producer Tamara Anghiethe, director Steph Green and the hardworking crew at Zanzibar Films in Ranelagh.
The nomination for an ACADEMY AWARD® follows wins in over 20 international film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Manhattan Shorts International Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Irish Film & Television Awards and a Special Mention at the Berlinale.
Movies.ie spoke to producer Tamara Anghie as she was clearing an Oscar shaped place on her mantlepiece.
Q: Tell us about the background of New Boy?
New Boy is based on a Roddy Doyle short story of the same name. It’s about a nine year-old African boy’s first day in an Irish school. It’s drawn from Roddy’s experience as a teacher and his interactions with students and his desire to express the experiences of new immigrants in Ireland.
The story came to me through writer/director, Steph Green with whom I’ve been working for several years. Steph first came across the short when it was published as part of a four part series in “Metro Eireann” and she immediately felt sure it would adapt to make a great short film, so she contacted Roddy about acquiring the rights. Roddy asked to see some of Steph’s previous work and based on that and her ideas for how she’d handle the screen version of the story, he granted her a limited option for the rights. It was then my job to find the money to acquire the full rights and make the film. Fortunately I was able to get a production loan through the Irish Film Board and RTÉ Short Cuts scheme and from contracting with them to delivering the film, it took about 4 months to make it.
Q: How many people worked on the short?
From pre-production to post-production we had about 100 of the most wonderful and generous cast and crew work on New Boy. We’ve been fortunate to have screened in over 70 international film festivals and to have won over 20 awards and Steph and I genuinely believe this is a shared success for all involved in the film.
Q: How surprised were you to hear about the Oscar nomination?
Stunned, delighted and disbelieving probably more aptly describe the feelings when I heard about the Oscar nomination. I’m still pinching myself really.
Q: Where were you when you heard about the Oscar nod?
I was actually in a meeting with the Irish Film Board which was possibly a happy coincidence since they were the major financiers. The professional facade from both sides of the fence were dropped momentarily as we all whooped with happiness over the news.
Q: Will you be attending the ceremony in LA?
Most definitely. This is an incredible experience and both Steph and I want to ensure we make the most of it and really enjoy it. I’m also really lucky that designers, Niall Tyrrell and Donald Brennan, are creating an incredible dress to wear for the Awards ceremony so I hope I wear it with the style it deserves.
Q: What advice would you give to upcoming film makers in Ireland?
I would encourage all emerging filmmakers who are passionate about their craft, to be persistent and only make work they truly love. If your interest is writing or directing, have the confidence to keep experimenting and generating material. As a producer, it can be tempting to take on a project that you might only be somewhat interested in, just to feel productive, but the work involved to make and promote a film is too intense for it to be over a project you are not totally committed to. Ultimately, I’ve found that the best projects come from working as a team and treating everyone who works on the project with respect and gratitude.
Q: Finally, What are your plans for the next feature?
I’m developing a few projects at the moment but really concentrating on a couple of features – Steady, which is with Steph, and another with writer/director Audrey O Reilly called Low Season.