Meet Further Beyond filmmakers Desperate Optimists

On Thursday 23 November we have the pleasure of screening Further Beyond, the brilliantly crafted documentary ostensibly about an Irish adventurer, from filmmaking duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, aka Desperate Optimists. The pair took some time to answer our Q&A, revealing their walking method and film-inspired favourite tracks.

First, a little about their work:

Born in Dublin, Ireland Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor studied theatre in the UK in the late 80s. From 1992 to 1999 they toured six internationally acclaimed devised theatre shows. Between 2000 and 2003 they directed a number of episodic, interactive works for the internet, and large-scale community video projects for galleries. Between 2003 and 2010 they, produced, wrote and directed 10 acclaimed short films, under the title Civic Life. Helen, their debut feature film, premiered at the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Their second feature film, Mister John, features Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) and Zoe Tay and was released in the UK and Ireland by Artificial Eye. In 2015 they received a Reel Art Commission to make their debut documentary feature film Further Beyond, which premiered at the Dublin Film Festival in 2016.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
For work, the moment of connecting a camera to the computer to take in new material but not to actually look at it.  For leisure, perhaps the anticipation of a journey to the countryside.

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to work with film?
Not sure we can answer that question. We suspect we’d have to undergo a sustained period of therapy to even attempt it. Afterall, why make films? All that effort? What’s wrong with us?  As Bowie has said, the desire to make anything artistic must come from a mental health problem.

3. What are the first things you do in developing a film idea in response to a subject?
Not sure.  We don’t ever respond to a subject. Our starting points are never as defined as a subject. The first thing we always do is go for a walk. We normally go from our home on London Fields and walk along the canal to the Thames and back again the walk somehow helps shape our direction.  This is the first thing we do. Walk.

4.What’s your favourite film and why?
Impossible to say. Maybe Blue Velvet. Maybe Come and See. But then again we’re inclined to put Barry Lyndon as the current favourite. Why?  Stunning. Playful. Unique.

5. Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks!
Mica Levi for Under the skin.  Bernard Hermann for Vertigo; Ry Cooder for Paris Texas.

6. From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?
John Cooper Clarke’s Haiku:

To-con-vey one’s mood
In sev-en-teen syll-able-s
Is ve-ry dif-fic

7. If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
A really cute dog.

8. What is your final word?


Further Beyond screens on Thursday 23 November at Heritage Hub, Hawick. Doors are at 6.30pm, film starts at 7pm. Tickets are £5 and advance booking is available here.


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