Route Irish, that's the one film that I'd say I'm certainly proud to have been a part of. Working in the film industry while living in Virginia was difficult in terms of securing projects that (a) could afford our stunt services, (b) were notable and (c) professionally organized and well executed. After a few years of struggling to find those gems and having already lived in Hollywood, CA only to discover that most of the population there is pretentious and not welcoming to the southern raised type such as myself, I decided to shift my focus to a whole nother continent. The projects that I really wanted to be a part of weren't being produced in the states so I spun the globe and landed in an area that's always fascinated me, the Middle East.
It required a great deal of research and self-education to build the knowledge base and communication abilities I'd need to succeed in a place that has been war torn for millenniums. Learning Arabic wasn't the tricky bit, learning the right dialect, now that's the tricky bit. But after having done my research and made my contacts I managed to land a gig as stunt coordinator for Ken Loach's new film "Route Irish", a conspiracy thriller that exposes some of the injustices taking place in the Middle East perpetrated by government contractors.
The film itself isn't what I would boast about but the process that ken Loach uses to bring a story to the screen and inform the audience through a visual medium is. He's an artisan, a true craftsman that understands that everything doesn't have to be big Hollywood. Casey Neistat reminds me a lot of Loach; especially with what he has to say in his latest video "Do What You Can't" In some of Casey's earlier videos, and some current, he continually informs and persuades young filmmakers to just go film. Simple, you don't need the greatest gear, you don't need the absolute best performing actors or tightest script, you just need to make your art and learn from it, get the experience!
Watching Loach work as a director and content creator is a moving experience. He understands how to retain balance between making a piece of art and creating a product that can be finically viable and yet festival worthy. Unlike most directors, he's approachable! He doesn't hold himself in a self lit spotlight. His producers mimic that behavior and did a fantastic job at hiring. It's one of the few film sets that have felt harmonious. Aside from working with Ken, the next big treat was working with one of the only Special Effects coordinators that I'd trust with my life, David "bomber" Harris. David is magnificent when it comes to knowing how to create carnage and destruction that's practical and appealing. He's very methodical and I imagine if he ever had to take a trip to the moon he could probably figure out how to build his own rocket ship! But you'd have to be that on it to work with names such as Guy Ritchie.
So with 2017 Cannes Festival currently underway, I just wanted to do a quick write up about the experience of working with a few greats that helped land Route Irish into the 2010 Cannes Festival where it was one of a dozen+ films that competed for the coveted Palme d'Or.
Just remember this, with today's technology and endless information supply, you're never limited to work on your current continent. So go explore and make your art!