Film: Family Portrait

Category: Student/Fingal

Director: Lauren Christie


What is your film about? 


Family Portrait is a short documentary about what it’s like to belong to a single parent household, in particular during a crucial part of your development. The documentary discusses the loss of one parent and how each individual got through it, how it effected them and tries to help others new to this situation by allowing them to hope that things will get better.


Who are the characters? 


There are five participants in the documentary, myself, Becca McDonagh, Jessica Drew, Killian Ginnity and Rachel Barrett. All of us are third year film students at DKIT and along with our course we also have another thing in common, we spent most of our teenage years or longer with only one parent present in our lives on day to day basis. I myself lost my dad when I was 15 when he took his own life. Beccas mother died when she was only just becoming a teenage to cancer. Killians mum died in a single car collision when he was 15. Neither Jessica not Rachel lost a parent to death however Jessica grew up without her dad present and Rachel’s dad has been absent for a lot of her teenage years after her parents divorced and he moved back to America.

All the characters in the documentary have a really big thing in common but we all got to this point through very different circumstances.


Can you describe a typical day on set/Best experience during the making of the film?


Filming Family Portrait was actually all done in one day, less than 5 hours to be exact. Every interview took on average 30 minutes to film. I think everyone was a little surprised with how swiftly the whole filming process went. For me the best experience from that day was interviewing the four other participants. It felt really personal, I already consider all these people my friends but talking about this topic with them was very intimate. Getting them to open up about something a lot of us feel we can’t buy cheap valium no rx talk about on a daily basis for fear of making people uncomfortable was a really unique experience and was definitely the best part of this whole process for me.


Who is your biggest influence?


My favourite directors would be Tim Burton, Alfred Hitchcock and Alfonso Cuarón however I don’t think I’d consider them my main influences. Whenever thinking up an idea I never find myself thinking about their past work or their styles. As much as I admire them I just don’t think I take inspiration from them, my ideas typically come from either my own life or just everyday life in general and things I observe from it. Then when it comes to the actual production of the piece I still wouldn’t say I’m influenced anyone in particular, it’s just a broad range of people such as my lecturers, crew members, friends and family and then my own gut.


What’s your favourite film?  


This is honestly the question I always find hardest to answer cause I just can’t narrow it down. I always find myself breaking the options into either genres or directors and give my favourite films from each. The ones that pop up several times are Rear Window, Children of Men, The Green Mile and Saving Private Ryan. And then there’s my secret love of Notting Hill.


What are your plans for the future/what’s your next step? 


Right now my main goal is just to continue to make films while getting my degree in Film and Tv Production. After that my long term goal is to hopefully direct films, moving away from documentary though, as well as get stronger in Screenwriting and Audio and Editing work.


Advice for people who have just picked up a camera and want to make a movie?

I still feel like someone who’s very new to all this after only really two years of learning how to make films but my advice right now would just to try have fun with it, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing it’ll start to show in what you’re creating.