As you’ll know if you read the text in big letters at the top of this page, I’m a director, and – after ten years in London – I’m now back living and working in Ireland.
I’ve been in and around the theatre, film and television industries for about fifteen years, and even though I started directing for the screen five years ago, I’ve been working up to it for a very long time.
On the way, I’ve developed new writing for the stage (including commissioning and directing Lisa McGee’s early work), produced the Irish premiere of The 24hr Plays, taught acting at University of Ulster, lectured in theatre at Queen’s University Belfast, and was Artistic Director of my home-town’s Lyric Theatre Drama Studio – an actor training program for performers aged 18-26. Add to that my experiences over ten years living and working as an actor in London, in everything from BBC period dramas to Ridley Scott produced Sci-Fi, from the National Theatre to the the Bond stage, and you’ll see why I feel like I have something different to offer. Unlike most directors, who rarely get to see how their heroes do the same job, I’ve been lucky enough to be directed by some of the best, both on screen and on stage – including Lynsey Miller, Stephen Frears, Lewis Arnold, Nick Murphy, Ralph Fiennes, Rian Johnson, Oliver Hirschbiegel, Howard Davies, David Farr, and Dominic Cooke.
My first film, Guard – a female led boxing film – was completed in 2017. It debuted at Galway Film Fleadh and has since screened in compeititon at over thirty festivals, including Oscar, BAFTA and EFA qualifiers. By the time it had won a European Independent Film Award in the Best Short Film category, I’d already moved on to child number two…
Troubles was another Belfast-set relationship drama, focusing on issues of male friendship and mental health, funded by BFI Network via Northern Ireland Screen. Having just been completed, the film was selected for inclusion in a BFI & NI Screen showcase event, hosted by BAFTA, before debuting in competition at the Oscar-qualifying Galway Film Fleadh.
Then, just before Covid hit, I made a return to directing for the stage, with On McQuillan’s Hill by “Ulster’s Martin McDonagh” (The Guardian‘s words, not mine) Joseph Crilly, at London’s Finborough Theatre. You can read more, including some of the critical responses on the ‘‘OMH‘ page.
I’m currently working on my third film – a self-shot short documentary entitled The Empty Chair – and fourth – a 70 minute radio/film crossover project based on a 2003 radio drama produced by BBC Radio 4. The former, funded by BFI via NI Screen, explores the impact of teenage suicide on a family in West Belfast. The latter, entitled Stumbling, is a fictional documentary about a love triangle across generations of a single family. It is being produced by Doreen Productions, London, and shot in the former UTV studio facility in Belfast.
Having completed a course in documentary filmmaking at the NFTS, and worked professionally as a photographer for a decade, the recent move into self-shooting (for documentary) has been a hugely rewarding one, utilising lots of existing skills and allowing me to further develop as a narrative director.
I’ve also been known to work as an Assistant Director, and have recently started directing commercials.
I’m interested in truthful stories that affect us on an emotional level and which allow the audience access to a world to which they might not otherwise gain entry. I love the dark humour that arises in unlikely circumstances – the kind I grew up around in 80s and 90s Belfast. I’m a passionate believer in diversity and in telling stories from underrepresented social and ethnic groups.
So that’s me. When I’m not going on about myself, I start more books than I finish, run in the Belfast Hills less often than I’d like, and climb things without ropes . I live with my wife – an actor and telly writer – our massive/tiny son, and our very moody lurcher, Gracie. In normal times, I’m in London about once a fortnight, so give me a shout and we’ll have a coffee. Or, if Covid is still a thing, a (*gags*) Zoom chat (*vomits in mouth*). I want to hear about you for a change.
Please email me for a bang up-to-date CV, links to full screeners, and an extended reel.