“Better People” a film by MARK O’BRIEN

Updated: September 20, 2012

Great news from the 32nd Annual Atlantic Film Festival...

We congratulate the wonderful Mark O'Brien who just won Best Atlantic Short Director for his film BETTER PEOPLE!

He's some talented wha?! SABS

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Posted: August 27, 2012

After months of wondering, days of digging and countless efforts to cajole - I was in the dark. One of my favourite NL fellas was working on a project but suffice it to say – the man would say nothing.

He sorta kinda alluded to something coming up when we met at the Duke in January (video) ... and then this random shot of a clapper was tweeted near 3 months later after which he would only give me this obscure statement “It involved heavy running, I wasn't physically prepared for."

Needless to say I had very little to go on, but I didn't give up and now after weeks and weeks spent wearing him down – Mark O'Brien is finally willing to talk about his latest endeavour.

BETTER PEOPLE is a 10 minute short film that Mark both wrote and directed. Not only that but Mr. O'Brien stars in the movie along side amazing actress and real life love Georgina Reilly.

BETTER PEOPLE poster

In his words the film is “about finding something great, but maybe not being ready for it, and how ridiculous that notion actually is. When something amazing is right in front of you, you should take advantage of it. It's about having guts” Cool right?!

You'll be able to see BETTER PEOPLE when it screens at this year's Atlantic Film Festival as part of the CBC Atlantic Shorts Program on Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm. Prior to that the BETTER PEOPLE will play at the Montreal World Film Festival August 31st, September 1st and 2nd.

I'm not alone when I tell you - I think the trailer looks amazing and I stand with the way huge number of Mark O'Brien fans who can't wait to see this film.

Thrilled that he gave in...what follows is my Q & A as they say with BETTER PEOPLE writer, director and star Mark O'Brien.

SABS: First of all thanks for FINALLY agreeing to talk about this movie with me. Usually I can get folks to give me a little something as they go... they're keen to pre-promote – I'm thrilled to have the scoop - but you gave me nothing... is it a superstition kind of thing?

Mark O'Brien: I don't like talking about anything I'm doing until it's completely finished. Because, until that point, I don't even fully understand what it is. You can find a lot of interesting things in editing.

SABS: Okay, so way to go with your leading lady!!! Your chemistry is undeniable (on screen and off). I wondered if that made for a lot of collaboration when it came to dialogue or did you pretty much stick to the script on the day.

BETTER PEOPLE stars Georgina Reilly and Mark O'BrienMark O'Brien: The script changed a lot over the past year or so. I wrote it a long time ago and then altered it quite a bit.

I was actually really nervous to ask Georgina to be in it.

It's a vulnerable thing to do, because I wasn't sure if she was doing it because she thought it was good or because I bought her a ring. Joking! (well, sorta).

Seriously though, she helped a lot with it, and I changed it once she said yes. It changed in a way that suited her as an actress and person. And to suit us, together. But we stuck to the script pretty closely on the day.

SABS: Georgina told me and I quote “Mark is a great director. I was impressed with how calm he was on set - he runs a crew really well.”(post) So how did you stay calm and focused – since you're wearing all the hats... it must seem really daunting, to write, direct and star in a film.

Mark O'Brien: I had a great team helping out. Shannon Hawes (Producer of KATHY) produced the film with me. My good friend Andrew Bartlett did sound and kept morale high when we were shooting in freezing cold weather at 2am. Sam Pryse-Phillips did sound and first AD. He was incredible. And my DP, Jesse Cappe, is insanely talented. He make it look exactly how I wanted it to. And fast! As for wearing so many hats, I like it. It's different than shooting just as an actor, in which case you're adhering to someone else's vision. But when you're the director and actor and producer and editor, all the jobs become one in a way. They're all pulling towards the same goal. I love it!

BETTER PEOPLE still - with Georgina Reilly and Mark O'Brien

SABS: I've always believed the music makes the movie – and you couldn't have picked a better track to convey everything about your 10 minute short in the 1 min & 4 secs trailer. Where did you find it?

Mark O'Brien: The song in the trailer is "Another Wave From You" by M83. I love that band so much, and I always knew that song was perfect for the end of the film (way before we shot). So I went outside my budget, and bought the song out of my own dough. It was so important for the film. I always envision music, as I'm writing and shooting. It helps inspire the film, but it can also change drastically when you're editing. But at that point, it doesn't matter if you use it, because the idea of the music help make it become what it is.

SABS: So before I let you go - I've got 2 final questions.

# 1. Do you believe in Love at First sight?

Mark O'Brien: I totally believe in love at first sight.

REPUBPLIC OF DOYLE'S Des Courtney aka MARK O'BRIENSABS: and #2 Did Des die? Give me something!!! anything!!!!

Mark O'Brien: You know what, I'm gonna milk this Des dying question for a long time. It's so flattering to have strangers constantly telling me they're glad that I'm alive. It's such a weird, yet wonderful compliment because they're actually happy that Mark O'Brien is alive. Not Des. A surprising amount of people think Des is a real guy. God love 'em!

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For more SABS features with Mark O’Brien check out Exclusive BEAT DOWN 4 x 4 Q&A Smackdown, Award Winning & Working ON???, Chat & Cheers 2012, INsights IN 10 Redux, A LOVE STORY,AFF Spotlight on KATHY, #FFF Friday Favourite Four, Mark O’Brien on “Kathy”, Please Help Mark O'Brien Make His Movie, our feature interview Chat & Cheers and his INsights IN 10, and his card in "The Best Christmas Present I Ever Got"

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