The team behind the Oscar-winning short film An Irish Goodbye have said they are looking forward to basking in their success with a film tour of Ireland.
Ross White and Tom Berkeley, who wrote and directed the film, are due to fly home from Los Angeles on Thursday after a “whirlwind” experience.
The prestigious Vanity Fair Oscar Party was among the events they attended, and the couple said their gongs served as their calling card, bringing celebrities they considered heroes to greet them.
“There hasn’t been much sleep in the last few days, there has been a lot of crying, celebrating, dancing and screaming,” White told the PA news agency.
“We will be back for St Patrick’s day, we can’t wait to go back to Belfast to celebrate it.”
Berkeley said, “It was such a whirlwind. Being in those rooms is bizarre, especially the Vanity Fair afterparty. It was such a small room and it felt like everyone but us was stratospherically famous. Everywhere you turn, you’re staring into your eyes.” on one of your idols.
“Luckily we had the boys (their Oscars) with us so it was a good calling card, that brilliant little man is magnetic and people would come and congratulate you and strike up a conversation with you.
“People were excited to meet us and know what things we wanted to do and do next.
“The industry, especially in America, places a lot of weight on the Academy Awards, especially for emerging filmmakers, they look at them as the young blood that emerges.
“We hope to be able to take advantage of these opportunities because there are many things we want to do. We don’t want this to be your last interaction with this (Academy Awards). We want to finish there again.
One of the film’s main stars, James Martin, dominated the headlines after becoming the first person with Down syndrome to win at the Academy Awards.
White said that representation is important but added, “The role of James isn’t about his disability, it’s not enough to put someone in front of the camera, we have to write an interesting part to engage and excite an actor like James.”
Asked if they realized while they were shooting An Irish Goodbye how well it would turn out, Berkeley said he felt a spark and love within the crew and cast.
“The first moment we got Seamus (O’Hara) and James together in a room, there was something really special about their relationship and their rapport that they were able to build really quickly,” she said.
“It felt like that chemistry was going to take the film where it was, we knew it was something special, but we never thought it would get this far.”
An Irish Goodbye was partially crowdfunded, as well as getting help from NI Screen, but White and Berkeley also had to teach weekends to support themselves, and hopefully the award will ease the process in the future.
White said that while they have projects to move on to, they want to “bask in the glory” of winning an Oscar in the coming weeks.
“We’re having a big An Irish Goodbye film tour, and we’re really excited about it,” he said.
“We’ll be back in Belfast, and then we’ll be in Dublin on March 24-25.”
Berkeley said they will do special gala screenings, including Q&A sessions with cast and crew.
“There was a lot of interest from people asking when they could see the film, so we wanted to give people the opportunity to see it in a theater,” he said.
Among their upcoming projects is The Golden West, about two women who flee the Irish famine in 1849, to go to the United States to join the gold rush.
“We call it a bit of an Irish western, and it stars Eileen Walsh and Aoife Duffin,” Berkeley added.
“As for the rest of this year, we’re talking about escaping to a remote little house to get back to writing and hopefully writing a debut film, we’ve got a couple of things we want to take a look at.”
Details of An Irish Goodbye cinema screenings are available at https://www.floodlightpictures.co.uk/screenings.