2nd Year Film Production Diploma students were tasked this term with creating short films as part of their course projects and one group in particular have appeared to create something quite special, by making a short dealing with the always intriguing world of wrestling. ‘Match Maker’ is a short documentary film about Dublin based wrestling promoter Simon Rochford, who formed Irish Whip Wrestling in 2002.
Success has already been achieved, as the documentary was selected to be screened at the Underground Film Festival this week (26/03/2015), and this looks to be just the beginning of it’s festival run, with grand aims to get into the Galway Film Festival. We spoke to Producer/Scorer/Editor, Dara McConnell, to get an insight into the making of such a unique piece of work.
Hi Dara, can you tell us a little about this documentary?
Our short Documentary provides an insight into the world of Irish professional wrestling. We follow Wrestling Promoter Simon Rochford through one of his “Irish Whip Wrestling” (IWW) events in East Wall to find out what he does and see the people that bring the shows to life. We talk to Professional wrestlers about life inside and outside the ring and talk to Simon about how he deals with pressures of running successful shows all around the country.
What drew you to the world of professional wrestling?
The passion and commitment of everyone involved with IWW was apparent the moment we first sat down with Simon in pre-production. I think the dedication of his crew for the love of entertainment and for the sport is what really connects with people.
Not only do his wrestlers perform in the ring to extremely high standards, but they are also the people responsible for setting up up the ring properly, performing the show, then taking it all back down again after spending hours being battered and bruised inside it. A truly laborious process but one which they treated like an art-form, with respect and great care for their work. That is what really inspired me personally.
The director, Eoin King, has been a massive wrestling fan since he was a kid and still is to this day. So for him, I think this was kind of a dream film project. He has a fantastic knowledge of the background and history of all the different types of wrestling from around the world, I think this is really what gave us some of the best content when we filmed our interview with simon. Eoin knew what questions to ask and was able to get really interesting answers from Simon.
I think Eoin really looks up to Simon in a way, theres a unique understanding between them that i think only true wrestling fans could have.
How did you find your main star?
We contacted numerous professional wrestling promoters from places all around the country, some were concerned about letting cameras behind the scenes as they thought we might reveal too much about how the shows are put together. I showed simon a short film of mine I had directed in my time in pulse College’s Music Production Degree course. I think after seeing that, he saw the potential we have as film makers and he was on board for the ride.
I think everyone knows by now that a lot of what goes on inside the wrestling ring is staged, as far as Simon was concerned, they had nothing to hide. His openness on topics and honesty has made the film what it is. I cant think of any other person who could have given such knowledgeable, honest opinions.
What was the timescale on the project?
From pre-production to shooting i think we on the go for about 2 weeks, including the 2 days of filming. Post production took a little longer, we all had lots of assignments to be doing before during and after the shoot. I think we were pretty much ready to shoot just 2 weeks after we first contacted Simon. We had been through a long process of trial and error trying to find a promotion that was really interested in coming on board because of the nature of how detailed we wanted to go into. It really wasn’t until a few days after our first contact with Simon via email when we sat down with him and realised the potential of the film just from talking to him.
What were the main obstacles for creating the film?
I think the biggest obstacle for me creating this film was pretty easily avoidable unfortunately. It actually came down to having enough release forms for the seemingly millions of children that were present at the show. We were expecting some hard core wrestling fans, we just weren’t expecting them all to be 10 years old! We didn’t have enough forms, as a result of this we had to cut a lot of our crowd shots out.
I think we all learned a huge lesson that day and I’m not afraid to admit that I made a mess of that and take the blame for it. We had 15 release forms handy the other day for a shoot, we had a cast of 3 people. I think we’ve learned our lesson.
What bit of advice received while studying at Pulse College was most important to you while making the short?
How do you feel looking back at the project now it’s wrapped?
Looking back on it, I think I can speak for all the crew when I say we are very proud. For our first ever jump into the world of documentary, I think we took a pretty big leap. It certainly has a special place in director Eoin Kings heart. Not only that though, Simon and his entire crew have all seen the film and loved it. Some have even been said to tear up towards the end. I won’t reveal who…
What’s the next step for the film?
The next step for the film is to get it into as many festivals as we can. Galway is always a big target for any Irish film maker and we’re going to try our best to get the film shown as part of the Galway film festival. They’re are plenty of very well respected festivals in Ireland so we have quite a few to aim for.
MATCH MAKER FILM CREW
Director: Eoin King.
Producer/Scorer/Editor: Dara McConnell
Director of Photography: Stephen Fitzpatrick
Sound: Tom Coy
Keep up to date with Match Maker via it’s Facebook page.
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