A FILM made by a Limerick man will feature at the prestigious Irish Screen America festival in New York next month.
Directed by Peter McNamara, Narcan tells the story of an Irish paramedic working in the Big Apple who’s struggling to balance the demands of his job with his family commitments.
What makes the film so unique from a Limerick perspective is that it not only stars the great Malachy McCourt, but also the man who played him in Angela Ashes. Peter Halpin was just fifteen when he portrayed the younger McCourt brother but has gone on to fashion a career as an actor with Garage and Breakfast on Pluto among his many credits.
And such was Halpin’s passion for this particular project that he helped fund it along with writer/director, Peter McNamara.
A tiler by trade, Peter worked gruelling ten hour shifts to help finance the film, dividing his time between Limerick and New York where the film is shot.
Although Narcan is a short film, just over twenty minutes in length, making it was not inexpensive and it’s unlikely either of its co-funders will see much return on their investment.
Which begs the question, why do it?
“It’s the love of the art, the passion to get forward, and show what we can do on our own,” says Peter.
“Hopefully someone pays attention and we can try and achieve funding after this. We’re hoping to go the film board and say ‘this is what we’ve done on our own, imagine what we could do with money’.”
Having caught the directing bug as a child, shooting amateur movies on the grounds of the army barracks on Edward Street where his father served as a solider, Peter had always been interested in becoming a full-time filmmaker. To that end, he quit his job a few years ago and went back to college, studying film and sound production at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).
This was no mean feat when you consider that he’s “married with three kids and a mortgage”.
And no sooner had he got his degree, when he was working on a film which ate away further at his bank balance. “It’s tough, we have three kids, all of them were back to school last week. You can imagine the costs, it’s up around €700, €800.”
“We’ve been in post-production, paying for the likes of music, colour grades, edits, sound mix. It’s hard, we’ve got bills, a mortgage, and I’m spending thousands on a film that’s going to be shown predominately in New York.”
But why New York? Why not somewhere a little closer, a little less expensive?
Well, the inspiration for the film came from Peter’s time living there, working as a bartender and listening to the stories of the paramedics he served on a daily basis. “I went over to New York in 1999, I was eighteen. I went over there with two other Limerick lads and set up camp in the Bronx.”
“I met bunches of Irish people. I met paramedics who would tell stories, I met bus drivers, cops, the whole lot. The origins of the story have always led back there, one of my friends went on to become a paramedic so I have an insight into the industry then as well.”
Therefore it seems fitting that Narcan will have it’s premiere in the city that spawned it. But while this is a film inspired by New York, shot in New York and which will be screened in New York, its roots can be firmly traced back to Limerick, all the way back to its young star, Harris McNamara, an actor with a very bright future who, you’ve guessed it, is the director’s son.
And, having seen the film, it seems only a matter of time before Limerick has a family of artistic talents to rival the very best the McCourts have to offer.
Narcan will be screened at the Irish Screen Festival in New York on October 2. For more details visit https://www.facebook.com/NarcanMovie/?fref=ts