Laura Sheeran on directing As An Nós the film

I’ve worked with Crash Ensemble for many years now, filming live performances and filming behind the scenes. I love Crash, they’re one of my favourite groups of people! When they approached me about making a video for As An Nós it was a really exciting prospect for me as a director. Although I work with Crash a lot, I had never done a music video for them. Also, as far as my own work was concerned, my experience with music videos had mainly consisted of working with lyrical songs with clear narratives. As An Nos was an opportunity for me to work on something more intuitive, to really focus on visually conveying the feeling of a piece of music, rather than telling a literal story.
 
I was familiar with Donnacha’s sound from filming Crash performing his work over the years and was very honoured to be given the chance to work with one of his pieces. I was also excited knowing it would be a very different style to anything I’d made a music video for in the past - I welcomed the opportunity with open arms!
 
I was given total creative control for the video which was amazing. I had no reference at all for what the piece was ‘about’ or from what place it had been written. I was ok with that, when I first heard the piece I just let the ideas emerge naturally as I listened. 
I immediately began seeing scenes with water, I imagined a woodland and a kind of tense love story. I had a very clear image of a man walking out into the water with his lover in his arms, letting her go when the water reached her body. I wasn’t sure what other details would emerge but I knew I had the bones of the video right there.
 
It was important to me to put together a team of people I could work with very comfortably on this video, people I could really trust creatively and who could work along side me without needing too much solid information before hand. We kept the whole process very organic and natural.
 
I knew right off the bat I wanted to work with Stephanie Dufresne, we had worked together on music videos before and she is such an incredible performer, very intuitive and natural. I knew she’d be perfect for the project. Lucky for me she was free and wanted to be part of it! She suggested we work with Adam Devereux for the male part, I had never met Adam but I knew they had a good dynamic together - he also was perfect. Stephanie choreographed their beautiful dance routine and they spent a day rehearsing in Dance House in Dublin before we heading down to Cork to shoot. 
 
We shot the video over two days on location in Lock Hyne, West Cork. Camera genius Billy Cummings absolutely nailed D.O.P duties, he really captured the atmosphere perfectly. He didn’t have an easy job, filming in nature over the course of two days with dramatically varying conditions, relying solely on natural light… but Billy is the man and he totally nailed it. 
 
Day one we were blessed with really bright, bright sunlight while filming the woodland scenes. The incredible light patterns and dancing shadows from the sun beaming through the trees was a gift! We were also granted cloud cover on day two when we filmed the water scenes which meant we had really soft, diffused light - it was exactly what we wanted for the scene. The gods were on our side.
 
Editing it together after the shoot was really exciting. The piece is nearly 15 minutes long which was a challenge at first, I’d never edited a video longer than 4 minutes! But there were so many rewards to working on a piece like that - so many flourishes, accents, dynamics and musical moments to work with to enhance the tension and release of the visual. I would like to do a lot more work like this in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  
 
- Laura Sheeran
 
See As An Nósdirected by Laura Sheeran, performed by Crash Ensemble, composed by Donnacha Dennehy
Saturday 14th April, 12:00pm | Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 
€6.00 BOOK NOW

ABOUT LAURA SHEERAN
 
Laura Sheeran is a musician and video director based in Dublin. Laura’s musical career began singing with Fovea Hex, an avant garde collective founded by Clodagh Simonds’ (Mellow Candle, Mike Oldfield). Members of the collective include Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Carter Burwell and Colin Potter (Nurse with Wound). Laura also works in video and theatre. She and has collaborated on seven productions with Irish writer Little John Nee, providing visuals, music and sound design for several of Nee’s productions between 2004-2017 and co-directed Nee’s ‘Radio Rosario’ which featured in the Dublin Theatre Festival 2017. In 2016 Laura directed ‘Changeling’, a show commissioned for the Clonmel Junction Festival. Changeling starred Stephanie Dufresne and featured an original score by composer Linda Buckley. Changeling fused solo dance with film to tell the tragic story of Bridget Cleary, the last ‘witch’ to be burned in Ireland in 1895. The show was a success and returned to the festival for a second year in 2017.