Interview: Caoimhe Clancy (Coco Dreams of Blue)

SNP Official Selection
Still from COCO DREAMS OF BLUE

Time for another sneak peek at our 2019 festival lineup. Coco Dreams of Blue was shot in Dublin and edited (at a public library!) in Toronto. Here’s the synopsis: “Clodagh has checked out. She works in a print studio in Dublin making slogans about life. She parties a lot, maybe too much. She doesn’t want to deal with her issues. On her way down from another meaningless hook-up, she gets stuck in the elevator. Then things get weird. A flash of her mother, a glimpse of her abortion, a glance of her self-destruction. She is catapulted through her memories. Now Clodagh sees. She needs to face her issues if she wants to break this cycle.” We spoke to director Caoimhe Clancy about it:

Caoimhe Clancy (COCO DREAMS OF BLUE)

James McNally (JM): Tell us how the story came to you. Does Clodagh represent anything you’ve felt in your own life?

Caoimhe Clancy (CC): The story is deeply personal. It came to me over the course of two meandering years. I felt like I couldn’t move on until I made it.

JM: The Repeal the 8th movement (to make abortion access legal in Ireland) seems to be central to the story of the film. How did the environment in Ireland at the time influence your story and the way you chose to tell it?

CC: I was part of the campaign to repeal the 8th for years, but I left Ireland before the vote. This film was written before the referendum was called, when abortion was still illegal and 12 women per day went to England to avail of abortion services, not including those who took illegal online pills. The story is about the feelings of isolation and shame surrounding abortion in a country where it is illegal. It’s not talked about. That’s changing now.

JM: How did you go about casting the film? Your lead actress (Edel Murphy) is remarkable in the role.

CC: I met one of my old teachers from Filmbase for lunch while he was teaching an acting class. Edel was one of the people taking his class and came in a large group to lunch that day. We didn’t really speak but I took a mental note of her and then recalled her months later when I was looking for a cast. I spent an hour going through Facebook trying to remember her name and eventually found her!

Still from COCO DREAMS OF BLUE

JM: What gave you the idea to use the elevator metaphor to portray Clodagh’s sense of being stuck?

CC: I hate waiting for things and I hate being in small windowless rooms where you have to sit with your own thoughts. I can’t remember now, but maybe I had some sort of existential crisis in an elevator?

JM: I understand that you moved to Toronto from Dublin after the film was shot. How did you find collaborators here to finish the film?

CC: On Facebook. It’s not very interesting. Made a post, someone answered! We edited it at the public library!

JM: Do you have any new projects on the go you’d be able to talk about? Do you
plan to make them here in Toronto?

CC: I’m writing a feature film at the moment, which I pitched at the Galway Film Fleadh pitching competition last year. It’s called Dublin is Burning. I’d like to make it as an Irish-Canadian co-production. It has to be shot in Dublin, of course, with the help of some Canadian friends.

Shorts That Are Not Pants Festival 2019 takes place November 15-16 at 401 Richmond. Early Bird passes are available NOW!

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