Snackbox Films

Garry Walsh, Colm Nicell and Alex Fegan have recently set up Snackox Films, Ireland’s newest production company whose mission is to seek out new and emerging talent within the film and television industry.

What is your name and job title?

Garry – My name is Garry Walsh and I’m a Writer/Producer with Snackbox Films.

Colm – I’m Colm Nicell and I too am a Writer/Producer for Snackbox Films.

Alex – And I’m Alex Fegan, I’m a Writer/Director with Snackbox Films.

How did you get started in the film business?

Garry – Well, film making is something I’ve always been interested in. As a hobby Colm and myself made countless short films and comedy shows when we were younger. I studied animation briefly in college and then ended up moving to the cinema industry where I worked for the past sixteen years, most recently as the General Manager of one Ireland’s busiest cinemas. Having been involved in the exhibition side of the film industry for so long I thought it was about time I realised a life long ambition to write and produce my own work. I’ve known Colm since school and when we met Alex through another project we were working on it seemed the perfect storm of complimentary talents, so setting up a production company together was the next logical step.

Alex – Like Garry, I spent my childhood years making movies, mostly out of Lego. Film making was always something I loved although it was law that I eventually ended up studying. It got to a point where I had to decide where my real passions lay, sitting at a desk all day drafting legal correspondence or working on a busy set shouting “action” on a project that I wrote myself. It wasn’t long before I gave my legal career the boot and that’s when I started making films again.  I met Garry and Colm when I directed a teaser trailer for a sitcom they wrote called ‘Salt ‘n’ Vinegar’. We hit it off both personally and professionally so we decided we had a good mix of complimentary talents that had the potential to be a very successful production company.

Colm – As Garry said, we spent most of our time in school making comedy sketch shows and short films. When I was in school I loved all things film and television related but never really thought about it as a viable career, mainly because the more traditional careers of law, teaching or engineering were the more popular topics when it came to discussing your options with the school guidance counsellor. Two college courses later and after a few different career reincarnations I decided I was going to pursue a childhood dream of working in the television industry. I went back to study television production part time and after sending countless CV’s to nearly every production company in Ireland I finally got a break working as a freelance Writer’s Assistant. I eventually left Ireland to work in the TV industry abroad doing stints in the UK and the Middle East. My most recent work was as a cameras and lighting consultant for Arab news network Al Jazeera in Qatar. As Garry said we’ve both known each other since school and we always talked about making our own films one day so when we met Alex it seemed the right time for me to come home to Ireland to set up Snackbox Films.

What does copyright protection mean to you?

Colm – Being a Writer can sometimes be a solitary existence where there aren’t a lot of guarantees or certainties especially when it comes to getting people to read your work. Copyright protection is one of those certainties you can rely on to ensure that your work is exactly that, yours and nobody else’s Protecting it is essential and gives a first time Writer the confidence to get their work out there, something that can be daunting when you’re trying to get people to read your work.

Garry – Copyright protection is very important for every level of the film industry. Sometimes there’s a perception that infringing copyright on people’s work only affects larger corporations in Hollywood and the film industry at large. In reality copyright protection safeguards the industry as a whole, it not only protects the Writer’s work but it ensures that people pay for the privilege of seeing that work. It’s in the interest of everyone in the industry to support copyright protection to make sure we have a thriving film industry that provides job creation for the many people who work hard to get a film from script to screen.

Alex – Well creativity by its nature is intangible, I think that copyright protection offers a tangible safeguard to Writers that their work will be protected no matter where it ends up.

What is your favourite film?

Alex – I’m going to have to cheat and say my two favourite films are ‘Paths to glory’ and ‘Dr. Strangelove’. They’re satirical, funny, innovative films that were beautifully shot. They’re the type of films that if I directed them I’d be very proud of.

Colm – Well I’m not sure I have one favourite film but I suppose if you were to ask me if there is one film I wouldn’t mind watching on a continuous loop if I was stuck on a desert island for the next zillion years, it would have to be ‘Withnail and I’. Writer/Director Bruce Robinson’s film manages to balance hilarious comedy with loveable and memorable characters with a little poignancy thrown in for good measure at the end. Withnail was one of those films that managed to capture the Zeitgiest of the time it was set in showing the cultural transition the UK was going through from the hippy culture of the sixties to the beginning of a very different decade, the seventies. He does this through a brilliant soundtrack and some spot on dialogue, “They’re selling hippy wigs in Woolworths, man”.

Garry – I like to think about by asking myself if I could only watch one more film in my life what would it be? To that end my favourite film would have to be Superman 2 (1980). Obviously I have watched films that are stylistically and technically superior or indeed have far superior scripts but when I watch the old Superman movies suddenly I’m eight years old again, fresh out of the bath on a Saturday night and I’m watching on in pure wonderment and ultimately thats what I love about films, the ability to make you forget about whats around you and immerse yourself in a world that was conjured from someones imagination.