It takes a village to make a movie, and sometimes it takes an Irish village. New York-based Irish filmmaker and producer Imelda O’Reilly knows all about it. Currently she’s heading a campaign to bring her exciting new short film to the public.
Eggs and Soldiers, her upcoming short, explores issues common to all first generation Irish immigrants, single parents and – this being New York – the enlivening complexities within bi-racial families.
An intimate portrait of a 17-year-old boy named Ned, who’s being raised by his single-father alongside his younger brother in the city, the film captures the struggles and dreams of growing up in a single parent home in a gritty urban environment.
“When a single Irish dad forgets the tree on Christmas Eve, Ned’s maturity is challenged. He has to risk everything to have his younger brother Marco experience a real Irish Christmas,” O’Reilly tells the Irish Voice.
Three generations of Irish and Irish American men from very different backgrounds come together under one roof in the film. Along the way we learn how Ned helps his dad raise his younger brother who has a different birth mother.
What’s fascinating for an Irish viewer is to watch the way that our own traditions are inherited and subtly changed or passed on by city life in the U.S.
“I made the film to explore and understand the difficulties associated with raising a family in an atypical fashion. The themes of single parenting, immigration and inter-racial families affect Irish people in New York and people everywhere,” says O’Reilly.
We’re very familiar with films about single mothers raising their children alone, but O’Reilly realizes there are thousands of single fathers who are doing the same in the city and their stories should be told.
“Often we hear the story of single mothers, but there are many single fathers who raise families and this is among one of the social issues the film is tackling. It also explores the theme of immigration, as the father is a first generation Irish immigrant,” she says.
“He’s not a saint, in fact at times we could be prepared to dislike him, but at the end of the day he is raising these boys in the best way he knows how.”
Her film is currently in the postproduction period, and this is where you, dear reader, can get your very first film production credit.
“In order to complete our project we need finishing funds and support,” says O’Reilly. “We’re at the point where we need music rights, color correction, sound-mixing, sound editing and other postproduction costs including money for film festival submissions.”
O’Reilly’s goal is to finish the new film by May and then start submitting to national festivals.
“As an Irish artist and immigrant I am a strong advocate for helping to raise awareness around what it means to build a homeland overseas,” says O’Reilly, an award winning independent filmmaker. That perspective gives her a unique voice, which is certain to resonate.
Originally from Co. Kildare, O’Reilly holds an master’s of fine arts in film from Columbia University and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco. She has also received supportive grants from New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Women In Film and TV and the Irish Arts Council.
“Eggs and Soldiers has been shot although we do need to do some additional photography,” she adds. “Contributions from the public will be crucial for the completion of the project. We really hope to develop the film into a series for television and so this will also be our pilot episode.”
An obvious perfectionist, O’Reilly has considered every detail of the film down to the music that plays in the background of her characters’ busy Irish American lives.
“While I was making the film I had a sound track running through my head and it’s the music from the dad’s generation like the Pogues,” she says.
“I would love to have this music in the film but that costs money. Without fundraising I will not be able to give the film the final professionalism it needs to be completed and reach an international viewing audience.”