Tom set for Hollywood debut

editorial image

Musician and filmmaker Tom Watson is set for the stars after one of his short films was chosen to be screened at a Hollywood film festival.

Tom, originally from Lurgan, shot the film “Are You There?” in the Ring of Gullion near Ahorey, outside Portadown, and it has since been selected to be shown at the Galactic Film Festival - a sci-fi film festival taking place this weekend.

“With the International Eurofilm Festival in Spain and the International Access Code Film Festival in India choosing my film as well, that makes three International Film Festivals that have chosen my film to show,” shared Tom, “It’s particularly thrilling to know that my film will be shown on Hollywood Boulevard,”

The film was shot with a minuscule budget, with Tom recruiting friends and family as cast and crew. Brother, Patrick, created visual effects and co-produced the film, while friend, R J Woolsey - an actor, musician and motorcycle racer - starred in the film.

“Our budget was so small,” Tom explained. “We made the film for less than most other short films would spend on coffee - £50! At the end of the day, we made the most with what little we had, and I’m glad the writing shone through to the festival juries!”

As well as writing, directing and editing the film, Tom created the sound-track - with the help of Sharon Carroll, a professional harpist, who appeared in the film and played at the end of the film.

“Our short film being shown in Hollywood is an honour for everyone who was involved in its production,” Tom said. “One festival selection can be considered a fluke, but three big international festivals - well, that’s given me quite a boost! The only frustrating thing is that the festivals won’t let it be shown anywhere - they only consider films that will be a US, Indian or European premiere, and putting it online means they won’t allow it into their festival.”

Tom is a prolific writer, with another short film ‘The Rating’ completed. A comedy about his hometown of Lurgan, it is already an official selection of the San Antonio Laughs Comedy Festival - and Tom has no shortage of ideas:

“I have about four full-length feature films already written. These will take more help and a huge budget, but the plan is to work my way towards making a feature film. I’d love to make a film in and about Northern Ireland not related to the troubles, but a good family comedy showing off our fabulous scenery, locations and sense of humour.”