Tuesday, November 9, 2010


As the credited writer and director of FIVE DAY SHELTER I wish to clarify that I was removed from the post-production of this film. 

The edit, sound design, ADR, score, pick-ups and the final (anti) climatic scene of the film were done without my involvement and against my wishes.

I strongly considered removing my name from this film but I only retained my screen credits on the condition that I retain my integrity and tell the truth of my involvement or lack thereof and my feelings about this film. 

The disparity between this film and the film it could and should have been had I, and the DoP Tim Fleming (see comments below) and my composer Peter Broderick  (& potential collaborators such as Machinefabriek) been permitted to complete the process, is vast and untold.

It recalls the classic 
Morecombe and Wise sketch where Eric says to Andre Previn " I am playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." In this case the joke is far from funny, and notes have been removed and/or replaced in a parody of composition.

It's a joke to think a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it. If they give you the right to make the film, they owe you the right to make it the way you think it should be. The filmmaker should decide on every single element, every single word, every single sound, every single thing going down that highway through time. Otherwise it won't hold together. The film may suck, but at least you made it suck on your own. 
- David Lynch (Catching The Big Fish)
Had I been permitted to complete the film I do not claim it would be some sort of masterpiece, far from it, but it would have retained it's integrity, the courage of it's convictions and had the unity of style and of purpose, of form and function that is integral to the success of any film, things that are painfully absent from this "take" of the film.

It is never all about the story but rather how the story is told, and that is true for the film itself and how it became that film.

There is a film I spent over five years working towards. We brought together a wonderfully talented and committed cast and crew who all believed in and were excited by what we were trying to achieve. It was a tremendous privilege to work with such people. 

The film created in post does not reflect those of us who believed in this film throughout the production and kept faith in what we were working towards. 

Instead it is a misinterpretation of our work.

As a well known director (whose name escapes me) once put it:

The director is the immune system of the film. 
The immune system was removed, and I could not save our film. Our film only exists in the hearts and minds of those of us that believed and kept faith, and it exists too in an abridged form on my hard drive but that can never be seen in public. Those that have seen and heard this film and the "official" one cannot fail to recognise the chasm of care and consideration that divides the two.

I never abandoned the film, nor ever sought anything but every possible means to move this film forward together. I was removed and the film was compromised.

The Five Day Shelter that audience's will see is cowered and fearful, impotent and illegitimate, without courage, without integrity, without hope or character.

It need not have been this way, had faith been shown in the process and fear and weakness not taken hold.

I am all too aware of the potential risks, and the likely professional and personal costs in stating this publicly but unlike "my" film I will at least retain my courage and integrity.

I greatly admire Simon Perry and what he has achieved during his tenure at the IFB, what happened to Five Day Shelter is not symptomatic but rather a deeply regrettable anomaly born of circumstances particular to this film production and those involved in its completion.

Five Day Shelter premiered at the Belfast Film Festival and screened in the Official Selection at the Rome International Film Festival. It won Best First European Feature at Mons International Film Festival, Belgium 2011. 

My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.
- Robert Bresson (Notes on The Cinematographer)
Ever try, ever fail - no matter - try again, fail again, fail better. 
- Samuel Beckett.

Below is a selection of music from the composer that was replaced, and a couple of song selections that I had hoped to use in the film. (plus that Morecombe & Wise sketch I mentioned!)


  1. All very well said and true Ger,it saddens me greatly that these events were allowed to occur in an industry normally populated with brave, creative and canny people.The crew will always know the level of your sincerity and bravery and be wary of those who at best deprived us all of a daring and brave cinematic statement and at worst robbed you of your right to fail.

  2. I am sad and concerned that things turned out this way. Sink or swim I think there should only ever be the director's cut and no other.

  3. Condolences Ger. I hope you rise from the ashes more triumphant and continue. This is the first brave step. Keep going. Your integrity remains intact.

  4. Thanks for those sympathetic and supportive comments. One unfounded and damaging rumour circulating that I'd like to squash is that I was planning for a 3 hour cut. The screenplay was 107 pages, containing minimal dialogue. The page a minute rule of thump relates to pages of primarily dialogue. I had openly estimated the film's duration as approx 120 minutes. My cut on my harddrive comes in at just under that. I have also done other cuts that further shorten the duration down to 105 minutes. It is my firm belief that the 83 minutes duration of the "official" film actually makes the film feel much longer, and greatly diminishes the film.

  5. I am really sorry for what happened, I'm discovering it now while I was googling the title of this movie, that came back to my mind and i was trying to find how to watch it again. what I'm saying has nothing in common with this, it's the point of view of a normal person that just watched "your" movie last year and if I must say the truth I really really liked it! The photography, the editing and the sound were really interestingly strange, creating one of those atmospheres that are really what I like. i'm sort of audiovisual addict, so everytime I watch a movie I'm looking for these tiny pleasures for the eye/ear(of course subjectively speaking!) It impressed me. But I understand, it is your stolen creature, so keep going on and who knows? maybe in another moment of your life you will be able to finish your project!i must admit I am curious now about what could this idea be. I wish you good luck!

  6. Where can I find a copy of five day shelter? I can not seem to find it anywhere.