"My Brothers," a road trip in every sense of the word
So the emotional wallop of My Brothers slowly sneaks up on you, accumulating as each scene progresses. You’ll barely notice how affecting it is until it hits you (and it can’t fail to hit you). And that glacial pace and the gradual way the story reveals itself are what drew Fraser to it in the first place.
“Two years ago Will Collins showed me the script,” Fraser tells the Irish Voice. “I thought it was beautiful and by then I had wanted to direct something. Finally he delivered a draft back to me that was just awesome.
“Collins’ voice is also very similar to my own (Fraser is also an award winning author) when I write which is a strange situation to be in. About six months after meeting him I mentioned to the Irish Film Board that I wouldn’t mind directing 'My Brothers.' From then on it just snowballed.”
But "My Brothers" was already in pre-production before Fraser decided if he wanted to direct it or not. He had previously directed a series of short films, but he was still on the fence about moving into feature films.
So it became a case of fate taking over. The financing was in place and he decided to run with it.
“We had a tiny budget and we made it work on that,” says Fraser. “The film is set during Halloween 1987 and we shot it in Ireland in November when the daylight hours felt like they stretched from half 10 till half 12.
“The shoot also coincided with one of the worst rainfalls Ireland’s ever had. Except for the point it just wouldn’t rain. We thought someone must be having a laugh. Why would an Irish film crew need to hire a rain machine in November?”
"My Brothers" has two distinct sections. First comes the road trip where we discover who the three lads are and what they’re facing into, and there’s plenty of comedy and adventures involved. Then the tone darkens and sibling rivalries break out, as does the awareness of what’s coming up for them.
Actor Timmy Creed, at 17 the oldest and also the most accomplished actor of the three lads, knew he’d be a shoe-in for the role when he was asked if had a driver’s license (his character steals a van for the road trip). For Creed the biggest challenge facing all three first time actors was becoming comfortable in front of the cameras.
“Paul told us to relax into our characters as much as we could and not be bothered by the crew and the lights,” says Creed.
“After a few days we got used to it. It just seemed to flow from there. There was lots of improvisation and rehearsals before the shoot and we relied on them too.”
None of the three boys look like each other at all, but their performances make you believe they’re brothers. All the bickering and leg pulling and laughter are totally convincing.
Fraser turns on the camera and records it all, and that gives My Brothers its unexpected depth.
And just how important is a Tribeca Film Festival launch for producers and distributors? Well, just witness the extended travel arrangements that My Brothers producers Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole (the producers of last year’s "The Eclipse") made to get it here on time.
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