Oliver McQuillan played the role of Mary, while in Dublin.
How would you describe In-World War (the film itself) in no more than
Ambitious, quirky, multi-faceted science fiction.
Why did you get involved with it? How did you hear about it? What
interested you in this film in particular?
I was originally invited to play in Brant’s [DJ Bad Vegan's] intriguing Gameplay. Then there was silence, broken by the news that this project had evolved into In-World War. Once again, I was invited to play the part in the Dublin sequence of a man called Mary.
Did you enjoy working on the film? What was the best part for you?
Yes, I did. The best part? Getting around transport by-laws to film on public transport! There was also a pleasant pub scene with a charming and attractive lady.
How long have you been working in film/involved with film?
I returned to acting about ten years ago after a career in business, mainly because of my interest in writing. I did a course in writing for screen, and followed up with a series of courses in acting for the camera with the Irish Film Actors Studio (John Cantwell). This quickly led to roles in both short and feature films, as well as television work. I also studied the Stanislavski method with Ireland’s leading acting teacher, Tim McDonnell, who is the Studio Director with Dublin’s Focus Theatre. Theatre roles followed.
What is your goal in filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of
photography, key grip, etc.) and why?
See above. My main interest is in writing primarily for the stage, although I have written two full-length screenplays and a 15-minute short which I hope to see produced. I have also written and performed in my own stage works.
In your view, why is filmmaking and making art important to society as a
There was a happy period of my life when I went to the cinema 3 to 4 times a week. Those years left me a cultural richness that I still treasure. It is an astonishing art form.
Did helping make an indie film leave you with a positive or negative
outlook on this type of ultra-low budget filmmaking (and why)?
It left me filled with admiration at the levels of creativity, inventiveness, courage, and persistence of those involved. There is also a residual regret in the experience of working on some excellent low-budget films to learn that there is such difficulty in getting screenings for the work.
How do you feel about the genre of science fiction? Is sci-fi just
for fun or can we tell serious stories that are culturally relevant? (Okay,
that’s a loaded question....but still, what do you think?)
I have always loved science fiction. As a schoolboy I devoured J. Jefferson Farjeon's Death of a World, and as an adult, Asimov. Relevant stories? My God, is Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey relevant? For the fan of science fiction, it is fascinating to see how the mysteries of quantum physics ("where everything that can happen does happen") make the most extreme plots of sci-fi seem everyday.
The film takes an unusual sci-fi approach to issues around the so-called
“war on terror” (specifically racial profiling and Islamophobia) and the
consequences of massive personal debt -- how have these issues impacted your
life and your work?
I haven’t had a chance to see how the film deals with racial profiling, or the "war on terror." As to the question of "massive personal debt," we in Ireland know only too well how individuals who never incurred debt personally are now personally saddled with massive debt due to the greed and dishonesty of bankers and the incompetence or corruption of politicians.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like working on
A little more conventional. That it wasn't was what was interesting. But ...
How was it actually, compared to that? What was exactly as you expected
it? What was very different?
... my participation only gave me a limited view of the total. Looking forward to the finished film.
DIY filmmaking can be rough. What was the worst moment? If you have one,
share a painful memory from making the film, to give a taste of how tough it
Being screamed at over a loud-speaker system at eight on a Sunday morning at a deserted suburban railway station, when the crew produced photographic equipment without having got permission to film.
What did your experience of working on IWW tell you about humanity and
people in general?
Where there's teamwork and mutual respect, the job will be a pleasure to do. But I suppose we knew that anyway.
Why should people get involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
So that impoverished actors like me can see the finished movie.
What else would you like to say about your experience on IWW? Any
funny anecdotes or behind the scenes stories?
Met old friends and some new ones.
To learn more about Oliver’s work or just to say hi:
Email omcquillan [at] mcq.ie
Also visit his page on the Irish Artists Network online at http://www.theatticstudio.net/atticprofiles/Oliver/