Review Fix chats with “Baghead” creator Lorcan Reilly, who discusses the creation, casting and development processes for the award-winning short film, why horror flicks still matter and what the future holds for him and the production.
Review Fix: How was this film born?
Lorcan Reilly: I was writing micro-budget short films for an amateur filmmaking group. With micro-budgets, you need scripts that can be shot in one day, in one location, with a small cast and crew, and very little money. So, that was the challenge I set for myself. One room, two people are sitting at a table, write a story with a beginning, middle and end. I went through different scenarios until he settled on a story of a man visiting a medium who can channel the dead. The story snowballed from that concept into the creation of the Witch, Baghead.
Review Fix: What was the casting process like?
Reilly: We shot the film in London, and you are never short of actors in a major city like that, so we had hundreds of responses. We got very lucky with the cast we went with. Pat Boothman, who played the Witch, is a seasoned theatre actress who threw herself into a not very glamorous role. Oliver Walker is the audience’s eyes and ears, and so much of the film’s impact relies on his turn halfway through the story. Tama Phetean also had a thankless role by taking a beating, but he is in the first frame of the film and his performance sucks the audience in from the get-go. Natalie Oliver probably had the toughest role, if you don’t buy into her performance, the film fails but she nailed it. Of course, everyone loved Julian Seager as the Gatekeeper, his snarky comments make him a crowd favourite wherever the film plays.
Review Fix:How did you feel once the film was finished?
Reilly: The response has been amazing, to date we have racked up over twenty awards on the festival circuit and we are only half way through our festival run.
Review Fix: How does it feel to receive funding awards and be on the festival circuit?
Reilly: Making something and putting it out there, is scary. After all, if you put so much money, time and effort for audiences not to like what you have done, it can be heart-breaking. So, for people to reach out and tell you that they are enjoyed your short film more than some of the full-length features doing the rounds on the circuit is pretty humbling.
Review Fix: Why a short film?
Reilly: It’s a walk before you run kind of thing. Start small, make your mistakes and learn from them, hone your craft, work on your weaknesses and play to your strengths. Then you are ready to take on a larger project.
Review Fix: Why does horror still matter?
Reilly: The cinema industry is in a weird place right, and in a few years from now it may be unrecognisable to how we know it today. With all the competition it has for audience’s attention and cash, horror seems to be the only genre that still brings people out in large numbers for the communal experience.
Review Fix:What’s next?
Reilly: Baghead was never conceived as a proof of concept for a feature film, but since it’s completion we started discussing all the different angles you could come from as a storyteller, and we realised that there is scope for a larger story around the Witch and her gift. We are working on the script for that right now, so lets’ hope Baghead will be back in some form or another soon.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Reilly: People can follow us on Twitter @BAGHEADSHORT, where we will keep them updated on future screenings and developments.