Paul Mescal and Dafhyd Flynn star in short film Drifting

Granard short movie gets abnormal boost

‘Drifting’ is a short by Granard production company, Harp Media. Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney are the co-directors/co-writers of the film screened as part of Irish Talent: New Shorts Six.

Last weekend the attention of the Cavan arts community was directed toward Galway for the final days of the 32nd Annual Film Fleadh. The excitement at the premier of ‘Redemption of a Rogue’ may have distracted from another film with Cavan links.

‘Drifting’ is a short by Granard production company, Harp Media. Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney are the co-directors/co-writers of the film screened as part of Irish Talent: New Shorts Six.

“The film has a lot of Cavan connections,” Robert pitches to the Celt, even though we’re the ones who contacted him. A film about young denizens of middle Ireland shot only a few miles down the road has a lot of relevance for Cavan readers: “I’m delighted to be included – my grandmother had a shop on top of Barrack Hill, so I spent most of my time up there growing up!”

To quote another film: “You had me at hello.”

‘Drifting’ is not the first celluloid offering from the two men.

“We made ‘Angels Guard Thee’ two years ago,” says Robert.

That “we” also includes Chris Higgins, Jason Gaynor and Tomas Devaney (all from Granard), who along with McGiverney make up Harp Media.

“That was learning the ropes,” he admits, “and then last year we reunited and put this short film together.”

Robert says learning the ropes paid dividends this time out.

“It took two to three months to put it together. We had a good infrastructure in place from the first film, so we were able to draw on the experience from that. We used a lot of the same people. Once we got the cast together we pulled it together quite quick.”

‘Drifting’ is the story of Cian and Pat, best friends joined at the hip since childhood. They have the run of their small Midlands town. Cian coasts through a life of booze and casual hook-ups, while Pat has grown weary of his surroundings.

The film takes place over 24 hours where Cian’s erratic behaviour pushes Pat to breaking point. An exploration of the effects of emigrations and the unspoken tenderness in male friendship it stars Paul Mescal of ‘Normal People’ fame and another up and coming talent, Dafhyd Flynn.

Coordinating the production was a challenging process.

“People are very good when you are starting out, but funding can be hard to come by. We got good support from Creative Ireland Longford. Our last film was broadcast on RTÉ and we used the money we got from that, it broke the back of funding ‘Drifting’. Everyone worked for a smaller fee than if they were working on a bigger project. It was a passion project for everyone involved. Everyone who worked on it wanted to be there, so we got a lot of great people.”

The short garnered a lot of column inches thanks to the international success of Normal People.

“Paul Mescal was a busy man at the time. We had to get it done in a small time frame before he was off again,” Robert explains. “His profile has been great for the film. The other co-lead, Dafhyd Flynn, who was in the Irish drama ‘Michael Inside’ also gave it a great boost. It helps get eyes on the film, which is important for generating a little bit more interest in the story.

“Woking with the lads was a joy. They are giving you something new every time. They are so natural on camera. As a director there are very small tweaks, because they are so professional. We were blessed having them,” the director says of his stars.

The characters of the film are very much of this area. Even the title brings to mind young men and the attachment to their cars that’s an extension of personality.

“The title is open to interpretations. Paul’s character is just drifting through life, but it can also be applied to the boys’ relationship. We like the ambiguity of it.”

Having a premiere online was not something the crew envisioned when they were filming: “We’re delighted it premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The whole community of Granard rowed in behind us to help make it a reality. We’re really excited to share it with everyone.

“It’s a shame we are not able to do the typical release party for the cast and crew. Hopefully we will have more festivals coming up and we’ve discussed getting a local cinema screening, just to get that big screen experience, when the restrictions loosen up and it’s safe to do so. We are missing the ‘finishing line’ feeling, but it’s still great to have a festival premiere all the same.”

Speaking about the film Robert’s co-director, Patrick McGivney, said: “‘Drifting’ is a very personal film for both of us and bringing it to life with such a talented cast and crew has been an incredible experience. We were delighted to share it for the first time at the Galway Film Fleadh.”