aidan gault | film



NO HOPE - A Human Trafficking Awareness Short

I received an email in June from Gayle of the Human Trafficking Charity "Freedom Project Ireland." in late June. It tested my interest in a new project they were producing for the Unchosen - Film campaign against Human Trafficking. Gayle produced a strong point and conveyed a powerful passion for the issue. Something she was dedicated to getting made. I saw this straight away and knew I had to get involved as well. I'm constantly on the look for inspired, dedicated people to collaborate with in producing new exciting content for the screen.

Since I was in Belfast for a total of three weeks (due to other commitments in Dublin), there was a massively ambitious turn around from page to screen. I had to write the screenplay from scratch and wrap production all in just three weeks! Crazy! But who doesn't like a challenge.

The story follows Katerina, a woman from Slovakia trying hard to provide for her family, and her journey accepting work in Ireland as a Nanny. Only what she has been told isn't as originally agreed. Tricked and enslaved into Human Sex trafficking, she struggle to cope in desperate conditions. No Help, No Hope.

The story is hard-hitting and heavy going. Very, heavy going. It has to be. If I truly wanted to get audiences to open their eyes and widen their perception of what is really happening on their very own doorsteps; I had to shock them. Make them feel uncomfortable, sympathetic and appalled. I want them to come away from it, still thinking and still discussing the film and the issue within.

Once again, I managed to generate interest in the film. And once again, an overwhelming response from some amazing people who helped to get the project in the bag!

I was joined from the very beginning by Director of Photography, Drew Curran from Drew and I immediately hit it off with our shared interests in cinematography and everything and anything technical. He proved to contribute a whole lot to the film with tracking down lighting gear, grip equipment, camera lenses etc. An absolute pleasure to work with! He was very understanding that I in fact am very precious over the cinematography of projects I work on. He was able to work very closely with me in achieving the look I wanted. We shot the film on the Canon c100 w/ Ninja2 External Recorder for prores HQ output and Samyang cine lenses.

Shane McCaffrey was a hidden gem. He was involved from the very start and I don't know what I would have done without him! He was a powerhouse of contacts. Basically took on the role as Casting Director. I'd mention at a meeting who I needed to cast and he would be on to me two hours later with a long list of names and headshots. Seriously, true legend. I can't believe this is the first time that I have worked with him. Where have you been Shane! Very glad I have him on my radar now, because not only was he an essential resource, but he also proved to give a fierce performance. The role he took on had quite a high mental demand. It was truly terrifying (and I know I speak for all cast/crew who seen it) on set to see him transform from this lovable gent into this sinister, intimidating and dam scary Human Trafficker. Just before a take, I would see him pacing and whisper to the rest of the crew, "Don't disturb him, he's in the zone!" Love it!

Shane was joined on screen by a load of talented folk. Including our lead actress and star, Kate Meszarosova. Her first time acting for the screen. This worried me at first, but there was true potential beneath her stage molded expressions. In rehearsal, I pointed this out and everything just went up from there. She gave a top class performance on set and we've never looked back! Cast and crew would giggle at my jumps for joy after each cut, but I just got so excited when I see a vision come alive on the monitor in front of me.

The film has progressed amazingly fast and it was all thanks to those who gave their time to help. My AD's Edel McCormick and Erin O'Rawe, whom I would have been totally lost without! Some serious organizational skills for any production is a must. And they had them... and then some! Special thanks to my Gaffer/AC and Sound Recordist; Ciaran McIlhatton and Conall McLean. Although given certain positions, ended up multi-rolling throughout production. Fantastic Hair & Make-up design from Kerry Lawlor. Actually had forgotten she'd applied a bruise to Kate's face and end up gasping at the sight!

I feel as if I'm rambling on here... So I'll mention one more thing. James Everett, music composing genius. Enough said.

If you want to see the film it will be screening at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival on Friday the 6th of September (Movie House, Dublin Rd) and the Devour Film Festival on 9th September (Black Box, Hill Street). The film has also been shortlisted into the Unchosen Film competition and will be screening in London October 8th and then on afterwards all over UK & Ireland as part  their Film campaign roadshow.

I'll leave you with the teaser trailer and yet another never seen before film poster by Leo McGuigan!



DG Films and More News

I haven't written a blog post in quite a while. But only because I've been keeping very busy!
So many exciting new projects to tell you all about; so where to start?

I suppose I kicked start this year by teaming up with my friend Jamie Doyle from the National Film School. He and I both agreed that the best way of gaining experience was to go out and get it yourself. I've applied to many crew calls from large scale productions and all of them were a no go, not even an interview. It's either you know someone or you've no chance. (or so it seems)

So DG Films was born. We offer a professional video production service to those in need of it.

Our first gig was of a Wicklow rock band, "The Last Monroes." They were playing in Sweeney's bar in Dublin and what a great vibe there was that night. Crowd was pumping! Was a pleasure to cover the night, like a free concert!

Soon after came a big'n. Marty Stalker of Scattered Images from Belfast asked us to compile the Behind the Scenes footage for his new directorial pursuit, "To Lose Control." We also joined them for a pick-up shoot on Black Mountain, in the winter! (Freeeezing) All in all, it was a huge workflow to tackle, hours of footage edited down to a ten minute video showing the production in it's best light.

Another project worth a mention happened totally on a whim. Whilst working in Belfast, Jamie and I came across a talented voice echoing down the cold streets of Belfast. To our musical satisfaction we came across local busker Ricky McQuillan and it just so happened we had our equipment handy. Thus was born this gem of a video.

A local wedding dress designer contacted us about a promotion for her business. Myself and Jamie were happy to oblige. I enjoyed shooting in the beautiful location of the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, looking out over the Lagan river. You'll see what I mean in the video!

Currently we are in post-production of a new project. A short film collaboration with some very talented people. The screenplay is the brainchild of TV writer, Lisa McGee (Raw, Being Human, Totally Frank etc.) We were asked to shoot and edit the film. Production took place over two very warm days in the heart of Dublin. It will be hitting the festival circuit and possibly available online soon.
Behind the scenes photo's of the production can be viewed here.

We are keen to keep busy and are happy to consider any project regardless of scale. So get in touch!


Once again, thanks for reading.
More to come including a post of insight on my latest project "No Hope."
So look out for it!



You Are What You Eat - 16mm Short Film

When I gained the role of Director of Photography for Hugh Mulhern's short film debut, I was delighted! The screenplay was cleverly crafted and very witty. It was a great story that I definitely wanted a chance to sink my teeth into.

The story follows a young student enjoying a disgustingly, greasy, pork sandwich only to be rudely interrupted by a knock on the door. This unfortunate intrusion comes from non other than the friendly neighborhood Post Man... I mean, Post Pig. This mail-employed oinker isn't too pleased to witness his own kinds remnants squashed in between two rounds of bread. Anger flairs as the Pig jumps at the chance to show the young lad a disturbing lesson. Writer/Director Hugh Mulhern brings you this science fiction short in a world where pigs evolve to human intelligence.

As excited as I was to be on board with the screenplay, I was even more excited to be shooting on film for the very first time. I had never had the chance to explore this medium before and I'll always jump at the opportunity to try something different. Exciting, but equally as nerve wrecking. With film, comes extensive planning and preparation. Every frame is precious. Especially considering that we only had 400' (10 Mins) of reel to produce a three minute short film. It ain't no easy task!

Working very closely with the Director, we managed to agree on shots that were vital in order to tell the story, along with ones that we would love to get if we could. Many storyboard and shotlist sessions later, we were just about ready to shoot.

Of course, there was so much more going on other than the Camera Department. Producer Dean Gilchrist was working hard to meet the needs and wants of the cast and crew, stretching our budget and keeping us all in check and well, sane! 1st AD Shane Crowley stepped up to the plate of thoroughly scheduling the shoot so not a minute was wasted on set. And he did a bloody good job! I had an amazing camera crew at my disposal as well. Andrew Jordan did a great job as 1st AC, tending to the lovely Arri SR2 camera and pulling focus whilst I operated the beast. Leon Kavanagh was by our side every step of the way as Clapper Loader, subtly laying marks for the cast during rehearsals and tending to the much needed slate. The cinematography of the film was very demanding and it was necessary to hire the technical genius, Matthew Rogan as Gaffer. Jamie Doyle assisted the lighting as Best Boy, doing a great job in keeping to the schedule by assisting Matt with the setups. I could not have done it without them! So special thanks lads.

I spent endless hours carefully crafting the cinematography of the piece. I like lighting that can be, in itself, a character in the story. Lighting that actually contributes to telling the story and not distract or detract from it. (Pretentious, but true!) I devised a plan to use a thin layer of smoke on set to highlight the rays of the 2k blonde beating in through the houses windows. I felt that this was necessary because the director kept stressing that "this is his cave." The character of the student that is. So the light that enters the room is almost seen as an intruder into this dark, filthy cave in which the boy stews in. My use of mixed colour temperatures re-inforces this. The light outside is seen as a cold, un-comforting blue on the tungsten balanced film. I believe it also helps the subject to pop from the background. I chose a film stock in pre-pro in aid of this wanted contrast, Fujifilm Eterna Vivid.

In my opinion, cinematography does not only lie within the camera and the lights. But what is physically in the frame. You can spend all day trying to make a blank wall interesting on camera, but at the end of the day, it's still a blank wall. Luckily, Production Designer Mia Ferguson nailed it! Working closely with myself and the Director, she was able to create an aesthetically pleasing colour pallete and made the set into...well, a Pig Sty.

Proposed Final Look of "You Are What You Eat"
How could I forget the saviour of the project. Make-up artist Helen McGinty gladly took on the challenging role of special effects and make-up. Painting, applying and blending the prosthetic to transform actor James Creamer into a 6"4 monster pig! And it looked awesome.

During the highly stressful 9 hour shoot, we suddenly faced the realization that we didn't have enough reel for all the shots we wanted. So devastatingly enough, we had to cut some really cool shots. It was like Sophies Choice, I swear! It was the main priority to get the shots needed to tell the story, so compromises were made. I wish we had more reel, but hey that's life.

Other than this, the shoot wen't very well and I am ecstatic to be a part of something so special and with such an amazing team behind it. The reel has now been sent off the the lab in London for developing. So all there is to do now is wait! I can't wait to receive back the developed footage. I hope to have the choice of film over digital again in the future... but we'll see.

So that's all for now, that was a long one but believe I could talk for Ireland on this subject!

Thanks for reading and look out for news on the film!


Cast & Crew Photo

BTS Photos by Adam Rael

National Film School - First Impressions

As most of you know (if you have been following this blog) I was accepted in to the Film & TV Production course at the National Film School in August. And since September I've been living and breathing film in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Starting the course was an exciting experience and well, rather daunting to be honest! I knew for a course with such a high demand on the standard of its students, it would be filled with the brightest and most creative minds Ireland had to offer. And it's true. I've never seen so much talent squashed into one room. At first I was nervous about this, perhaps thinking that I would constantly have to compete with them. Quite the opposite actually.  Almost immediately, the others and I could be seen working together as a team. Offering a helping hand, constructive criticism and the likes on each other's personal and college projects.

When reps of the college told me how "hands on" the course is, they weren't kidding! In the second week we had already written, shot and edited a number of very short films! Talk about throwing us in the deep end. But hey, that's how you learn to swim isn't it? Yep. I think so anyways.

As a first year film student I have a number of different classes to attend. It's pretty full on! Five days a week with lessons in screenwriting, production, technical workshops, photography and visual culture with philosophy. What I love the most is that the lecturers for these subjects are all past/current industry professionals. So I'm learning from film-makers and writers who have actually had hands-on experience in the industry and who know all the ins and outs that you can't learn from any book.

My "directorial debut" within the college was with a short film called "On the Cat." My classmates and I were given different briefs to follow in order to challenge our creativity. Mine was: "a short dialogue scene. 'Keep it Under Wraps'" So in my randomness, I came up with this...

If you asked me how, I wouldn't be able to tell you. But there it is. Suppose it reflects a bit on student life.

Anyways, it was shot entirely in three hours. Tough enough! Fortunately I had a great crew with me. The prep leading up to it was long and tedious. But it all paid off when I finally got to that "magic moment" when the camera rolled for the first shot. Everything just fell into place. It was also a nice change for me to do something and solely concentrate on the directing. Usually, I'd be more occupied with the camera and the lighting etc., then wouldn't give the actors enough attention. But this was different. And I think it stands out in the final product.

Very recently we've been working in the TV studio getting an insight into Broadcast Production.  Hands on experience in a real TV studio kitted out with everything a Live Show needs to make it to the box in your cosy living rooms. I even got to direct my very own live show. Honestly, I've never felt so much pressure until that red light hits. Making snap decisions on the spot and barking orders through the walkies to the camera ops and floor manager. I've never felt so rewarded than when I play back that tape and it looks... well, grand. I'll get around to slapping it online soon!

The next big college project coming up is something I'm bursting with excitement for. A short film titled "You Are What You Eat." Written & Directed by Hugh Mulhern. I gained the role as Director of Photography during its early stages. The film is set in a world where pigs have evolved to human intelligence, controversy then sparks over the ongoing argument; "Meat is Murder." It's a really cool concept and I'm very glad to be a part of it. But most exciting of all (for me) is that I am shooting it on Super 16mm Film. A first for me. And a very scary thought with so much more added pressure than shooting digital. Especially when I am limited to 10 minutes of reel for a 3 minute short film. But with this responsibility lies extensive preparation. Every shot you will see in the final product will have been thoroughly thought out and carefully crafted by myself and the Director. But hey, I like a challenge! I even get a 1st Assistant Cameraman, Clapper Loader and Gaffer to boss about... just kidding lads.

First Impression? Love it. I have definitely made the right choice coming here.

So there you have it. Cool and exciting things going down here at the NFS. Of course there's much more happening than what I have touched on in this post, but in fear of making it too long and bulky, I've only mentioned the big'ns! You can always get in contact if you'd like to hear more.

But until then,



2012 in a Nutshell


I'd like to use this brand spanking new post to reflect on the highlights of my 2012. If you're a follower, you'll already know the big ones, ie. :

  • Finishing my most ambitious film to date and graciously accepting it's successes, UNJUST
  • Getting the chance to work with Scattered Images and producing the much loved short, NUTS & ROBBERS

So what else happened that you may not have caught?

Well, 2012 got off to an exciting start when I managed to secure a small job on the set off BBC production "SOS: The Titanic Inquiry." I was a production Runner. Yeah, i know what you're thinking... Boring. But actually it wasn't because it was the first time that I got the chance to see film production on a grander scale. It was amazing! And also quite alien to me at the time. Most of the time I was asked to do something (on the snazzy walky talky radio system they had going on) I was running about like a headless chicken! It was cool working closely with the 3rd AD and the other runners, babysitting cast, fetching breakfasts and standing by on set while shooting. Meeting and chatting with the legend himself, Tim McGarry was a personal highlight. Doesn't sound that exciting, but even being there in that environment and getting invloved (even in small ways), I love it.

Cast of the BBC Drama

Another production worth mentioning is actually two that go hand in hand. Causeway Pictures series of teaser trailers for their future productions, DEADLOCKED & Vampires VS Leprechauns. Both feature films are trusting to be amazing displays of Visual FX and dramatic storytelling. I was asked to work on DEADLOCKED alongside Director Marty Stalker. It was a small and very indie shoot so I ended up doing little bits of everything from assisting special effects genius Ciaran Larkin (from "I Make Anything"), contributing to the camera department and I my legs even got a cameo in the trailer! (you'll see when you watch) In the very early hours of the morning we shot in the center of Belfast city's main street. As cold and dark as it was, morale was high among cast & crew. Everyone was kind and an absolute joy to work with. Even the curious, observing, drunkards of Belfast were a bit of craic! What was great about this shoot was I got to see up close how Factory Pictures setup vital VFX shots with the use of green screen. Amazing how much you can learn simply by watching!

Vampires VS Leprechauns was an AMAZING production to work on. It was shot entirely in front of a green screen. I was fortunate enough to gain a role as Camera Op/DP's Assistant on this one. And I have to say, it was the first time I really felt needed another's set. I mean, I was always doing something. Whether it be setting up lights and other equipment, prepping camera 1 or shooting with Camera 2. It was an amazing day meeting new friendly faces and gaining some valuable experience using the 5D mkII with Carl Zeiss Compact Primes. Director Allan Gildea was a pleasure to work with and it was good learning from his effective approach to directing. All in all, great experience working with all involved in the Causeway Pictures Teaser Trailers.

Another spot of work I'd like to mention is when I got a Job on the set of the hit HBO T.V series Game of Thrones, shot in Belfast. Nothing special, I was a set dresser in the Props Department. But being massive GoT fan that I am, this was awesome! I got to see the remarkable, built sets of the fantasy in the Titanic quarters paint hall. I worked with some really nice people whom I hope to see myself working with again soon. Hopefully next Summer I'll secure a job in the Camera Department.

I'd like to also mention a project, that in my eyes is the turning point in Belfast Indie Film scene, To Lose Control. Written & Directed by local film-maker Marty Stalker, the film is proving to be a game-changer with its beautiful cinematography (all shot in N.Ireland), outstanding performances (from Chris Patrick Simpson & Maggie Cronin) and gripping war special effects. I'm fortunate enough to be working on the Behind The Scenes short Featurette with my good friend Jamie Doyle, from college. Getting an inside look on the production is truly fascinating and I cannot wait for the video to go live very soon!

Ofcourse, a big'n in 2012 was getting accepted into Film School and moving to Dublin. But that's quite a big fish to fry and I'd like to touch on it in another post soon to come!

So that's all for now... as far as I can recall of last year.
I'll leave you with some photography highlights that I shot in 2012.

Happy New Year!



The Devour Film Festival & the Belfast indie scene

While living in Belfast, I spent a lot of my time trying to meet as many local film-makers, artists, actors and creatives as I could. It was always a top priority of mine to build a strong list of contacts working in the professional industry and working on an indie level.

This isn't always an easy thing to do when you're completely new to the scene and know next to no-one. So I found it necessary to visit as many film festivals, screenings and events Belfast had to offer. But there was one in particular that stands out above the rest and has really played a massive role in developing my skills as a film-maker, meeting important contacts and gaining priceless friendships.

The Film Devour Short Film Festival.

In 2010 (when I was aged 16), I remember hearing through the grapevine about this brand new festival having its first ever event in a small arts center in the city. I thought this would be a great chance for me to showcase a short film I had made a few months previously named "Five Dreaded Stages."  I emailed the organizer and festival Director, Brian Mulholland and was flattered by his response to my entry.

Brian Mulholland (right) & Claire Caswell (left)

The night came shortly after. A small room with no more than 30 people. The majority of short films were student-made and on shoe string budgets or none at all. As far as I remember, not many were that visually impressive (before the rise of the DIY film-makers delight; DSLR's) but they still presented glimmers of developing talent.
Mind you, mine was no better. But its been absolutely amazing to watch the festival mature and along with it, its content.

The second festival was organized only a matter of months later and a new, bigger venue was booked to accommodate the rapidly growing interest the event attracted through social media. It was great to see a more suiting venue and with it a far bigger crowd this time around.

Five festivals later and Devour celebrates its 8th installment in August 2012. I'm very glad that I can say I attended every one of them (and also had a film screen at every one). For the festivals regulars,  who always had something new to show, it was easy to see the progression in quality and story each time they submitted.

I have the utmost respect and gratitude for what Brian and the rest of the Film Devour crew are doing for the film community in Northern Ireland. And I believe they deserve to be recognized!

I highly recommend the festival to all movie-lovers and makers. Help support local talent!
I know my films could not have progressed as they have without it. So thank you!

Until next time, thanks for reading.


Myself and some of the regulars

The amazing Film Devour team

Twitter: @filmdevoursff


UNJUST - The Short Film I'm glad I made

So, I started my last year in St. Malachy's college in 2011 and I'm thinking, "This year, I really want to go all out. I want to make something, not just to leave my mark at the school, but something that I will really be proud of and that would help me stand-out to film-makers in Northern Ireland."

I needed a story. A dam, good story at that. I've always been a big believer in that you can make a good film with a good script, but you cannot make a good film with a bad script. Story is key.

One night I was watching, or re-watching I should say, Joel Shumacher's 'Phone Booth' starring Colin Farrell. And I found myself constantly on edge, always at the edge of my seat for a figure of speech. I mean, what is more terrifying than someone with the ability to take your life in a matter of seconds?

This had me thinking (again). What would really drive a man so far over the edge to want to inflict terror into another mans life? Well that's obvious isn't it. Family. I know that I love my family very much and it kills me to see them in any sort of pain or distress. So I did my my research, my notes and all my mind maps to pull together something I thought could really work. Finally, I got writing. You can watch the film on the web for yourself to find out what plot I went for in the end.

The script was drafted around four times and finally locked down about two weeks in to the school year. So pre-production started immediately thereafter. I didn't want to waste any time.

On set - All BTS images courtesy of Rhys Montgomery
This film had to be done right. I wanted it to be the best it could be. I couldn't do it on my own again, I needed help this time. I wanted a proper cast and a proper crew that were as passionate about the project as I was. And the main thing I needed most of all was a Producer. Someone to represent the film where I could not. Someone to relieve some of the pressure in getting locations, actors, crew, equipment etc. A director needs to be able to focus the majority, if not all, of his energy on getting his vision onto the screen. Luckily I found an amazing producer and friend, Chris Heath. Who donated so much of his spare time and handled everything so professionally. Honestly the film would not have been made without him, I owe him so much and am eternally grateful for his dedication.

Anyway, the film! With the help of Chris, I was able to lock down an amazingly talented cast all perfect to their suited roles. Neal McWilliams starred as the main protagonist in the story. I had hired him before for a small role once before in an earlier short film and I was blown away by his talent. I actually felt bad that I hadn't a bigger role to offer him at the time. Then there was Robert Render, the antagonist in our tale. I had been following his very impressive work and knew that this was a perfect part for him to play. Boy was I right. Lindsey Mitchel then joined the cast. An underrated actress who doesn't hold back for the sake of the character, who takes direction so well and was an absolute joy to work with. Then we found Niketa Ferguson who again is a very talented, up and coming actress finding herself quite a bit of work in the N.I indie scene. Other roles included brother & sister child actors, Tobyn and Leo Clarke, Natalie Johnston, Chris Heath and Daniel McCartney who special thanks are given for producing his very own PSNI uniform costume! Legend!

Shooting the Police scene with Daniel and Natalie

Through pre-production, we planned a very busy three day shoot. I wanted to accommodate for all who was helping me as best I could. So the less time we spent shooting, the better. That's not an awful lot of time for a thirteen minute film. But I enjoy the challenge.

Production started in January. I'm so glad I had the help of creative genius Leo McGuigan as AD and camera to help me out on set. A great friend also stepped in as sound recordist when no one else would and Lucy Turner with her vast knowledge in make-up design. Aidan Largey, George Clarke and Roddy Conlon were also vital assets to my crew. So special thanks to all of them! The shoots themselves went... well, really well actually. Everyone really did me proud. Cast, crew, the lot! I remember being in awe of the performances from the cast, thinking to myself, "we're on to something here." The only big slip up we had was turning up to shoot at a store in Belfast and being told we had an hour to do it. Of course we appreciate getting permission to shoot there in the first place but it really did put us under alot of pressure! Thankfully we dove right in, pulled through and got it done in time.

On set at Homebargains, Newtonabbey

Shooting wrapped on the 14th of January. And I was delighted to have musical/technical extraordinaire,  Adam McCausland from Warp & Woof to compose the score and sound design. I'm so glad II had met him before on another shoot because his endeavors made such an amazing difference to the overall product. I loved the music he created and the audio couldn't have been crisper! So another special thanks to him!

(What a coincidence, the very moment I finished that line of this blog I found out that the film picked up two awards at  the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival! Audience choice and Best short film! Great news!)

Anyways,  post production took quite alot of time and alot of coffee but it definitely paid off in the end. It was officially complete on the 20th February. Which was awesome because it gave me alot of time tto focus on the rest of my studies. I would highly recommend to anyone studying Moving Image arts in any school to start early and gain the best result.

The film premiered at the Devour Film Festival in Belfast and was awarded the Directors Choice award. It later screened and was shortlisted to the finals of the Fastnet Film Festival in Cork.

I love making films and in particular I loved making this film most of all. Surround yourself with amazing people and anything is possible.  Thankyou once again to all who helped make it happen!

Hope you enjoyed this post.


Full film can be seen via YouTube HERE

I happily receive the award for Directors Choice