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IFTN Talks With Mark O’Connor
30 Apr 2018 : Nathan Griffin
IFTN caught up with Mark O’Connor to find out about his up and coming projects, what Irish talent he would most like to work with, and who he has been most impressed by in the Irish industry over the past 12 months.

Irish writer/director Mark O’Connor is best known for directing the Irish box-office hit ‘Cardboard Gangsters’, which he co-wrote with leading actor John Connors. He has also written and directed a number of films including: ‘Between the Canals’ (2011) starring Peter Coonan, ‘Staklers’ (2012) staring Barry Keoghan & John Connors, and ‘King of the Travellers’ (2012).

O’Connor enjoyed a hugely successful 2017 with his film ‘Cardboard Gangsters winning both the ‘Best Feature Film’ & ‘Film of the Festival’ award at the 2017 Manchester International Film Festival. The independently financed film also picked up the ‘Best Foreign Film’ at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival. O’Connor also picked up his first IFTA nomination for ‘Best Director – Film’ at the 2018 IFTA Film & Drama Awards.

O’Connor is currently working on a number of upcoming projects including the new six-part television series, ‘Darklands’.

IFTN: What would you say are the best and worst aspects about your work?

Mark: “I love the creative process. Writing is hugely creative so it’s probably the most enjoyable part. But I also love being on set directing and working with actors. I love performance editing and the whole post production process especially incorporating the music. I just love film making from start to finish. There are no negative aspects that I can think of. “

IFTN: What career do you think you would have if you weren’t in the film/tv industry, and why?

Mark: “Maybe an inventor… I have had a lot of ideas for inventions over the years. Some were stupid, ludicrous and wouldn't have worked and others I've seen actually become a reality!”

IFTN: When did you last cry watching a film? (Or come close)

Mark: “Winnie the Pooh, with my son. He has a great awareness of emotion and if a film gets sad he cries and that will make me cry! The last time I balled crying was watching the Champ in the eighties!”

IFTN: What Irish Actor/Director would you most like to work with, and why? (Living or Dead)

Mark: “Daniel Day Lewis… For directors, Jim Sheridan is an Irish director I look up to. He is a mentor to me and a master at performance directing.”

IFTN: What are you most excited about for 2018?

Mark: “Spending time with my family!”

IFTN: Who has really impressed you in the last 12 months in the Irish industry?

Mark: “I am obsessed with Irish film so I watch everything. Tristan Heanue has impressed me. He's written and directed a few short films but I've loved all of them.  John Connors as an Irish actor is a major talent and Barry Keoghan. Michael Lavelle I think is a talented cinematographer but there's a huge amount of talent in our country now. “

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