Dáire Carson is a filmmaker and visual artist from Belfast, his latest film Stories from Heaven uses the photo roman technique to tell a story of a radio show that connects grieving people on earth with their loved ones from heaven. Dáire chatted to The Jumble about his new film and how the lock down and a lack of usual resources inspired him to try something new.
Stories from Heaven is a short film about grief, loss, and reminders of love. What inspired you to come up with the idea of communicating such difficult themes through the medium of a mysterious radio show?
My dad died a few years ago, and before he passed he recorded himself speaking and discussing his life and family over about two hours, and when listening to it one day I disconnected slightly and it felt as if I were just listening to some actor talk on a radio show and not something very personal being discussed by someone I loved. When I snapped back into reality the idea started to form for Stories from Heaven and what it would be like if for just a short moment on some mysterious radio show we could connect to loved ones who’ve passed on and remember sweeter times.
How would you describe the photo roman film making process? Why did you decide to use a photo roman technique to tell this story?
It’s certainly very different from what I’m used to! I studied photography before getting into film so it was nice to get back into it in that sense but it was just a substitute because of the lack of resources I had available to create moving image. I have great models but not great actors at my disposal and it seemed like the best way to convey the story in any way possible! I would love to redo it at some point with moving image though, it would be a completely different atmosphere.
What was your favourite element of creating this short film?
Getting back into photography again was fun, I’ve been doing a lot of it during the lock down! Delving deeper into ways lighting can be used and manipulated and how far simple things like coloured cloth and lip balm can be used to create different effects! And the story! It’s special to me and I wanted to get it out into the world.
What were the biggest challenges?
The lack of resources was the biggest challenge! I’m a lot better at creating visuals than audio at the best of times, so when it’s me and my phone, my skill set is really being pushed to its limit! I was able to work with incredible voice actors who really pull the film piece together, but the diegetic sound isn’t the best! It’s hard creating something like this all on your own as well, collaborating with people who are better at things like sound would have improved it immensely, but, the lock down prevented that from happening.
Is this short inspired by any other films or directors?
I’ve been watching a lot of different shorts over the lock down period and it made me rethink and look back on my approach to the medium in such a positive way. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot simply from watching. There isn’t one particular film or director that influenced me, but when writing the script, I had a song on repeat called ’13 Angels Standing Guard ‘Round the Side of Your Bed‘ by Silver Mt. Zion and I don’t know, it affected the tone in a way I can’t describe.
You can watch Dáire’s other film’s on Vimeo
You can keep up to date with Dáire’s work on Instagram and also his website.
Interview by Sam Dineen