Director Tom Collins writes about his new Feature film, Kings and The Aisling Project
I can honestly say the work of the Aisling Project motivated me to make Kings. I had seen the Irish men and woman about the streets of London and felt that I had to do or say something. I was so impressed at what Aisling set out to do. Frankly, I was not brave enough to go and say that I would help, so being involved in film I thought maybe I could make a film. Originally, I was going to make a documentary but no TV station would support me so I thought, I got to make it bigger and different, something that cannot be ignored. I saw Jimmy Murphy’s play, The kings of the Kilburn High Road in the Tricycle on Kilburn High Rd. The best possible place to see it. It was a very moving experience; it was as if the audience where in tune with the actors.
After the play I set about getting the rights to make it as a film. There was a bit of toing and froing then I met Jimmy Murphy the writer. I had ‘F’ all to pay him but he saw I wanted to do it. I was around Connemara at the time too and I’ve always been interested in Irish but I’m dyslexic so it has been a hard language for me to tackle. The notion came to me what if the characters were Irish speakers that would underline the alienation in England. It also made me think of others that arrived in Britain without English even those arriving from the former Soviet Union with no English today. I made contact with Alex Mc Donnell and he organised a few meetings with people. One of those was a visit to Arlington House. I knew little of Arlington only what I heard on the Madness Song. We even meet people from Connemara on the street on the way there.
I initially thought that a film about men of a certain age with drink involved was going to be one hard sell. Funnily enough, it wasn’t. Micheal O Meallaigh Commissioning Editor of TG4 liked the idea. He was from Donegal, he knew the men. He was on board. All the other Irish funders followed suit.
We shot the film in Kilburn, The Prince Victoria Pub in Shepard’s Bush then Connemara, Belfast and Dublin.
I was really lucky that I got a great bunch of actors. Colm Meaney, Donal O Kelly, Brendan Conroy and London based Sean O Tarpaigh. The film begins its Irish release in September 21st. I’m hopeful of getting it seen in London in the Autumn.
The good thing is when people come out of the film and say, well what can I do to help.? We can say - Help the Aisling Project, either physically or economically. Let’s get that house in Ireland built.
[you can find more info on Tom Collins, and his film Kings on IMDB]
reports on Aisling trips