DUST is a short film by Nigel Mulligan, a first-time director inspired by such film makers such as David Lynch, Terence Malick, Danny Boyle & Lars Von Triers. Scripted as well as directed by Mulligan, DUST aims to explore themes of addiction and psychosis, themes that are close to the director’s heart due to his work as a psychotherapist in the homeless sector.
Starring Jamie Doyle and Sorcha Fahy, the short blurs the lines between reality and hallucination as philosophical lead character Cassie explores a romance with stable Art, but struggles with new drug 2CB and its effect on her grip on reality.
Film In Dublin spoke with Mulligan about his film, as he aims to screen it at upcoming festivals.
Film In Dublin: In your own words, how would you describe DUST?
Nigel Mulligan: DUST is a film about a young girl who is struggling to cope with the life she is living. There is obvious indications to mental ill-health, psychosis, drug or computer addictions but ultimately there is a girl who is struggling to make sense out of her world. The film tries to capture her as she is attempts to navigate a transition of an abrupt end to living in the family home and into a new relationship but as we see certain tramautic aspects of her past such as the ambivalent relationship with her father are returning in haunting forms of delusions.
FID: The actors clearly worked hard to try to bring the characters to life, were there many discussions with Sorcha and Jamie before the shoot began?
NM: Yes the actors did a fantastic job studying their characters. We spent a lot of time in the early stages in teasing out the characters and looking at the script and seeing how it was fitting with their embodiment of the characters and their relationship. The relationship was so important to establish early in the film, as that meant we could work on rupturing it and expose the conflict within
NM: Yes it was solely funded but it was completely the dedication of those talented crew who not only gave their skills, talent but who begged and borrowed equipment to up the production levels. Sometimes money can’t buy you passion and it was clear from the early days of conversations with the crew that provided a canvas to begin crafting the dream and at times teasing out how we can make simple scenes very effective. There was a great emphasis on achieving that high end production and even at times when I was struggling to direct and produce and manage time, our cinematographer Karl Dillon would ensure it was done right.