Liam O Mochain in Lost & Found
Liam O Mochain in Lost & Found

#Interview: Scannain talks Lost & Found with Liam O Mochain ahead of 29th Galway Film Fleadh

Irish writer/director Liam O Mochain’s new feature film Lost & Found will receive its world premiere at 2017 Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday 15th July, screening at the Town Hall Theatre at 6.30pm.

Lost & Found is an anthology film, with 7 interconnecting stories set in and around a lost & found office of an Irish train station.  All segments are inspired by true stories, share a theme of something lost or found, and characters that come in and out of each other’s lives.  It was filmed over a 5 year period and completed in 2017. O Mochain (WC, The Book That Wrote itself) describes it as “the stories in Lost & Found were inspired by stories or incidents that happened to either me, people I know or to others I was told about. I changed names, locations and details and interwove the stories and incidents together to make the film.”

Lost & Found was filmed over 17 days from 2011 to 2016 in various locations in Dublin and Co. Laois in Ireland and recently completed post in Screen Scene in Dublin.

Norma Sheahan in Lost & Found
Norma Sheahan in Lost & Found

The ensemble cast includes Norma Sheahan (Moone Boy,Handsome Devil), Liam Carney (Red Rock, Outlander), Aoibhin Garrihy (The Fall), Anthony Morris (Games of Thrones), Liam O Mochain (Covet, WC), Seamus Hughes (Jimmy’s Hall), Olga Wehrly ( Without Name), Brendan Conroy (Vikings), Barbara Adair (Ripper Street, Grabbers), Tom O Suilleabhan (Maze, Fifty Dead Men Walking), Diarmuid Noyes (Borgia, Killing Bono), Lynette Callaghan (Cold Feet), Daniel Costelloe (Albert Nobbs, Magdalene Sisters), and Donncha Crowley (Fr. Ted).

The crew of Lost & Found are writer/director Liam O Mochain (WC, The Book That Wrote itself), producer Bernie Grummell (WC,The Book That Wrote Itself), DoP Fionn Comerford (Penny Dreadful, Vikings, Roy,), production designer David Wilson (Omagh,Some Mothers Son), sound Niall O’Sullivan (Frank) and Philippe Faujas (Eden, Pure Mule), makeup & hair Caoimhe Arrigan (Death of a President, Stella Street), editor Ciara Brophy (Oscar-nominated The Crush, Savage Eye), and composer Richie Buckley (WC,The General).

Lost & Found is O Mochains third feature film, having also made numerous short films, documentaries and TV shows. His 2007 feature film WC won Best Foreign Film at Las Vegas Int. Film Festival and Best Film at the Waterford Film Festival.  WC also screened at Montreal World Film Festival, Galway, Dublin, Arizona and the Cairo International Film Festivals.  Liam’s debut feature film The Book That Wrote Itself garnered a lot of international interest, had its world premiere at the 1999 Galway Film Fleadh, before internationally premiering at the 1999 Vancouver International Film Festival. Fortune, his first short film, won best short film at the1998 Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.

Liam Carney in Lost & Found
Liam Carney in Lost & Found

Scannain caught up with writer/director Liam O Mochain to talk about the film:

The film is an anthology. What led you to tell the stories in this way?

I am a big fan of anthology films such as the Paris Jtaime, New York I Love series and portmanteau films like Robert Altman’s Short Cut, Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary’s Pulp Fiction, the Mexican film Amores Perros, and the Cuban film 7 Days in Havana which is set over 7 days in Havana with one main character at the centre of each story. With these types of films, you get to dip in momentarily into an array of peoples lives. Like a fly on the wall. If you don’t like one of the stories another will be along soon!

Oftentimes on multi-threaded stories, there can be multiple directors. Was this ever a consideration?

Not really on this one. I had a good idea of what I wanted from the overall film. I wanted to carry one main theme across the film of something lost or found. Whether it was an item, a person, be it mental, physical or geographical. I had made two feature films before Lost & Found. They were both straightforward enough narratives and were filmed all in one go. With this film, I wanted to make a series of stories like you would with short films. They had to work on their own but also together as one bigger film.

This is your third feature. Were there experiences on your previous films that made this an easier or more comfortable one?

You are always learning. Hopefully! Every film is a new experience and has its own set of unique challenges. There is no way around that. I made my first feature The Book That Wrote Itself with not a huge amount or very little experience but with a lot of enthusiasm. I thought I knew everything! With WC the second feature film I made I gained a lot more experience but lost a bit of the initial enthusiasm. With Lost & Found I tried to regain that starting out enthusiasm while making as professional a film as possible. What I learnt from the first two films was to spend more time on the scripts and allow as much time as possible for prep. The more time spent on prep the better, particularly if your filming schedule is tight and the schedule is always tight! What also helped, which I did on my 2nd feature film WC was to set each of the stories in Lost & Found in one prime location. We did have a lot of sub-locations in and around the main location to viewer engaged but not having to move constantly was a great help. All in all, it was a pleasure to make Lost & Found. It’s not every film you can say that about.

Aoibhinn Garrihy and Seamus Hughes in Lost & Found
Aoibhinn Garrihy and Seamus Hughes in Lost & Found

What was the hardest thing about making the film?

Time and money is always a problem. No matter the budget. I worried if the main characters were going to work across the different stories. Also, the stories themselves, would they gel together in the finished film. I had a feeling that the individual stories could work but what about when you put them all together in the edit? Would it work as one picture? I think they have, but I am always going to be subjective. From the production point of view. The hardest thing was not knowing if the whole film would come together. Doing it over 5 years was a gamble. Would the actors and crew come back year after year? Would the actors look the same!

How did the cast and crew find the process of making it?

I got to work with a lot of great people on the film. A lot of the cast & crew I worked with on previous films, others were either recommended to me or I had heard of and I wanted to work with. Once I decided to make the film and shoot the first segment one of my main jobs was to try keep everybody on board for the subsequent pieces and years. Thankfully the core cast and crew came back time and again. All the main cast/crew work constantly on bigger productions so the wealth of experience available to me and the film was great.

What are your hopes for the film?

Hopefully, it will get good play at film festivals all over the world and then get released everywhere all known and available formats! The distribution arena has changed so much over the past 5 years never mind over the past 20 years, that you never know how or where you will see a film or content as everything is called now!