He believes in the power of passion and love on the way to achievements, prefers to work his own way up instead of looking for a “template for success”, and takes his second feature film South abroad for the first time this year – who is Gerard Walsh, the director behind one of the independent Irish films that stole the hearts of the audiences?
His newest feature film South, released nationwide in Ireland, follows Tom – an aspiring musician who finds it difficult to deal with the death of his father. To cope with grief, he sets out on a journey to find his mother who left him as a child. Looking for his parent, he meets Jess, a fascinating girl who supports him on the way. Starring young talent – Darragh O’Toole as Tom and Emily Lamey as Jess – the film is an interesting coming-of-age project that has been selected to screen at the international film festival Fargo in North Dakota.
The film was shot over twelve days – over the first nine days, the script has been brought to life, and the remaining time was spent on fine-tuning and recording the missed bits. The story was inspired by another movie: Gerard watched a film called Charlie that sparked the idea of his own feature.
“There isn’t a lot of similarities in the story,” he explains, “but I just started thinking of ideas while I watched it and South was one of them.”
He has a handful of films that he likes – and if he had to recommend three must-watch flicks, he would pick Steve McQueen’s Shame, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and True Romance directed by Tony Scott. Who else is his source of inspiration? Does he have any role models? For him, that term means something a bit different.
“I never really thought of it that way,” he tells us. “I have met some amazing people in my life that have thought me a lot, mostly my parents and family, that showed me how to grow up and become a functioning member of society. But I see a role model as someone you look up to and want to be like. I would rather be like me and achieve what I can, rather than use a template for success,” he clarifies.
A few Irish films have stirred up the worldwide cinematography recently – Brooklyn got a handful of Oscar nominations last year, and Sing Street has been nominated for Golden Globes. Their commercial success is promising – and Gerard also finds it optimistic.
“Sing Street and other Irish films will always appeal to me as they are home grown and an amazing display of what our tiny isle can do,” he says. “It’s very encouraging and inspiring to see the success of Irish films and filmmakers. It makes me want to achieve more and aim for a higher goal.”
Talking of the award season – with the Golden Globe nominations announced recently and the Oscar season in the full swing, has he had any guesses on this year’s Oscar-worthy films?
“I really enjoyed Sausage Party but I’m not sure it’s got Oscars written in the stars,” he says.
The critics responded positively to his second film, and it earned a cinema release – what’s his next step, then? He’s working on four ideas that he’d like to present for prospective funding.
“Either of them would be ideal to start working on but I will just have to wait and see,” he reveals. “I’m also expecting a child in April so I’ll have my hands full then!”
His Twitter bio says he couldn’t be happier because he gets paid for what he loves – and his work starts getting recognition. From this perspective, does he have any advice for budding filmmakers who would love to start, but are a little too afraid to explore doing what they love?
“There’s no harm in trying, what’s the worst that could happen?” he says. “But honestly, if the passion and love are there, it’s just a matter of time.”
Watch the trailer for South below.