25 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Features & Interviews

Louise Gallagher on Producing
27 Aug 2020 : News Desk
Louise Gallagher
With the nominations for the IFTA Awards announced, we continue to shine a spotlight on Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and on-set collaboration; what inspires them; what current trends and techniques they like, and dislike in the industry.

We spoke with Producer Louise Gallagher, who produced the IFTA-nominated, smash-hit comedy A Bump Along the Way, starring Bronagh Gallagher and Lola Petticrew. Filmed entirely in Derry and led by an all-female creative team, A Bump along the Way released to much critical acclaim following its win at the Galway Film Fleadh where it received the Best First Irish Feature award and its international premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. The filmwas also BIFA shortlisted for the Raindance Discovery Award. 

In 2011 Louise moved into the independent film and TV sector, working as a freelance Production Manager, Line Producer and Producer on short films, features films, children’s TV drama, commercials and live television for clients such as Nickelodeon, Buccaneer TV, RTE, TG4, The Fyzz Facility, Out Of Orbit, CauseAscene Films, Village Films, The Guardian and Northern Ireland Screen.

In recent years, Louise’s credits include Out of Orbit’s The Dig, Produced by Brian J Falconer, which has also received an IFTA nomination at the 2020 Film & Drama Awards.

What do you look out for in a story for you to consider developing it into a film?

“Originality. Even if it's a familiar story, I love to see a new take on ideas.”

How did you first get involved in A Bump Along The Way?

“It was written by Tess McGowan and she sent it into Northern Ireland Screen’s New Writers Focus development programme. I was then introduced to it by Andrew Reid and Ursula Devine who had developed it, and was invited to interview for the producers role.”

What was it that attracted youto it?

“The characters, language, humour, and of course, it being set in Derry. It had that originality too, a coming of age story, but with a twist!”

Can you shed some insight on the cast and crew that worked with you on this project?

“Bronagh and Lola were attached pretty quickly to the project. They both loved the script and I knew they would be perfect together. I'd spotted Andy Doherty (Barry) in a Michael Barwise short film, and thought he was great. We worked closely with our casting agent Georgia Simpson to find the rest of our brilliant young cast. Dan Gordon, Paddy C. Courtney, and Gerard Jordan were just fantastic, and when Mary Moulds walked into the audition room; I knew immediately that she was our Sinead. She just lit up the room.

“The majority of the crew were from Derry and surrounding areas. Our Production Manager, Chrissy Gallagher, and DOP, Mark McCauley were instrumental in getting me the crew and locations I needed in the Derry area.

“Other roles were filled by colleagues I've known and trusted over the years. I wanted to make sure Shelly (Director) was surrounded and supported by the best; Graham Kinniburgh (1st Ad), Liz Boston (Hair & Makeup), Patrick Creighton (Production Designer), Clive Coupland (Sound Supervisor), and Cara Mooney (Costume).”

Tell me about your experience on set, and your favourite moment during production?

“On set was great. It was very focused and everyone was on top of their game. A lot of the crew were stepping up in their roles, me included, and we all wanted to make the best film we could with the limited resources we had. There was a great bond amongst the crew, and although hard work, it was a lot of fun. I loved our time at Lisneal College when we were filming the school scenes. Having the pupils as extras really made it feel like a proper movie set!”

Talk me through the journey of securing funding, support, and investment to make this film?

“The majority of the funding was in place through NI Screens New Talent Focus scheme with further assistance from Yellowmoon Post Production, but I did have to find support to help me cash flow the UK Film Tax credit. That's when Roma Downey came on board; she loved the project, and has been incredibly supportive ever since.”

What was your first paid role as a producer, and how has your approach to projects changed over the years?

“I've produced a few shorts as a producer, but we all know they don't really pay. I was Line Producer on The Dig, which I loved. A Bump Along The Way is my first paid job as a Producer. My approach is simple; I look for a great script with great people.”

Is there an Irish film over the last few years that you wish you had produced...?

“No. They are all brilliant because of the producers involved.”

The age old question: What (in your view) is the role of the Producer?

“Find the best stories, build the best team to create work that challenges and entertains.”

What Director or Actor would you most like to work with and why (Irish or international)?

“Frances McDormand.”

We often are our own worst critics. What is your approach to constructive criticism and inward reflection?

“I listen to everything, ask a lot of questions, and ultimately, trust my gut.”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career thus far that you would share with aspiring producers?

“Never be afraid to ask a question, and get to know all aspects of the business inside out from script to distribution.”

How have you channelled your creativity during lockdown?

“I'm working for Hat Trick Productions as their development Producer in Belfast, so have been reading many, many scripts.”

Click here to read more of our interview series.


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