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To Catch a Crow

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dir. Shay Leonard (Super 16mm, 2000)

Please note. This is absolutely not the official Sheryl Crow web site.

To Catch A Crow - On Line Press Kit


Buena Vista International Distribute To Catch a Crow Nationwide in Ireland
To Catch a Crow at the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Market
Crows win Ultimate Gong at BBC British Short Film Festival!
Brief Synopsis
Notes On Production
Key Crew Profiles
Key Cast Profiles
Interview With A Crow
Downloadable Pictures, Releases and EPK materials.
World Premiere Details
Media and Sales Contact

A pompous English film crew arrive in a small village in County Sligo, in the north-west of Ireland to shoot a feature film. All the villagers want a part in the movie, or to make a few quid from the production, including PADDY, a local farmer. Unfortunately, PADDY's acting talents leave a lot to be desired, but then MARTIN, the props master, comes to PADDY and his brother JOE, looking for a crow to use in the film. They manage to catch a few crows, but the demanding film Director wants a yellow beaked blackbird. The blackbird proves to be a very difficult catch, and before long the whole village is out searching for the elusive bird. As time runs out before the shoot, the panic stricken film crew keep increasing the price on the head of the blackbird , and crow hysteria takes over the whole village...but who can catch the crow? 
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Notes on Production


The story of To Catch A Crow begins in Cliffoney, Co. Sligo, in the late 1970's. An English film crew come to town to make a feature length TV drama for BBC Northern Ireland entitled "Yer Man from the Six Counties" and produced by Oscar winning writer Colin Welland. Local farmer Mark Hannon is approached by one of the film crew for some animals to use in the production. Cattle, pigs, hens and various farmyard animals are no problem, but when a live crow is requested......the fun starts.

Flash forward 20 years to Christmas 1997 and London based Dublin film maker Shay Leonard sits in a kitchen in Cliffony listening to Mark Hannon recounting the hilarious story of the 'crow incident' while on a visit to the area. Shay takes up the story, "I had been working on a feature length script based on two local farmers for production in Sligo, and after hearing Mark's fantastic story I decided to make it into a short script, the idea being to use my two characters in the lead roles, thus providing a platform to introduce the characters within a short film format."

On return to London Shay begin to write the script; Mark's story provided many of  the necessary ingredients for the two farmers, then, all that was required was some work on the English film crew side. For Shay this task was aided by having spent over 4 years working on films and television in London. "The ridiculousness of film crews has always fascinated me, they expect the world to stop when the camera is rolling. They take over peoples houses and streets, most of them walking around with inflated egos and delusions of grandeur. I thought this attitude would provide a nice contrast to the relaxed demeanour of the local characters."

Having finished the first draft of the script in relatively short time, the task of finding a producer and finance proved to be more of a headache. The script was sent to various Irish production companies, and while the responses were encouraging, short scripts in Ireland are "two for a penny these days", and finding a suitable producer dedicated to spending time on the project was very difficult. Similarly, the various grant and funding boards proved impregnable. 

Undeterred, Shay decided to produce himself, raising the finance through his own work in TV and film in England, and through local businesses in the Sligo region. A year later and after several visits to Sligo the necessary finance for the shoot was finally in place and Shay returned to Dublin to begin preproduction.


Peter Caffrey first heard about To Catch A Crow in the summer of '98, having received the script through his London agent. Peter loved the story and immediately dedicated his support to the project, and luckily was available to come to Sligo for the weeks shooting. Local theatre actor Michael Roper had just returned from a tour in the States and also committed himself to the film. The remainder of the cast were found through Letterkenny casting company Munro Casting, and through articles in The Sligo Champion newspaper requesting local talent.

To Catch A Crew...

For Shay the task of finding a full crew was daunting. "I've been in London for twelve years, and many of the people I regularly work with were very interested in coming over to work on the film, yet when it came down to committing to the shoot almost everybody was working on some 10 week feature or another, so the chances of them coming over to Ireland to work for free for a week were pretty much nil". Once in Dublin Shay begin putting the word out about the film, and after six weeks of phone calls, "sorry not available", coffees, beers, driving around, and "I'd love to's", the crew was finally in place.

The shoot was scheduled to begin on Monday 27th September, and everybody began arriving up to the area over the weekend. "One of the most important factors for me was getting a crew and cast who would get on with each other. Unlike a city shoot where everybody goes there own way at night, we would be living in each other's hair for 8 days - so we had to get on. I was also very aware of the life imitating art issue - getting a film crew in to make a film about an obnoxious film everybody had to be good people, no bullshit". This worry was also reflected in the local pub's landlady, who wasn't quite sure whether everybody would be "asking for exotic drinks like Pimms", and be full of airs and graces. As it turned out nobody needed to worry, the crew got on with each other and the locals like two crows in a nest.

Spag Bol?

Another concern was food and lodging. Short films are renowned for cutting corners, and catering and accommodation budgets are generally the first to be trimmed. "Nobody was getting paid, so I thought the least we could do was to feed them well, and give them a comfortable bed at night. We hired out two holiday homes, Jesus, they were nicer than my flat, the Sound Man was definitely happy - he'd spent 6 weeks on the floor of a disused abattoir in Germany on one film! For the food we got two really good chefs and didn't skimp on the budget. They provided three options for dinner, unheard of on a short, and were better than most of the £5m.+ productions that I work on in England."

Shooting the crows

The shoot went with very little hiccups. The weather, worldwide renowned for its 'changeable' tendencies in the North West was remarkable. A seven day shoot, and the sun shinned every day...with the exception of one, when weather cover saved the day. The locals all became involved, helping out behind the scenes, and over 30 managed to get their faces on camera. A charity pub quiz was organised by Peter Caffrey on the second last night of the shoot, effectively providing a pre-wrap party, raising local spirits and over £450 for the local Cancer Hospice.

Pre-rehearsal time had been limited, and the all important relationship between the two brothers Paddy and Joe developed very quickly over a few nights spent in the local. By the end of the week Peter Caffrey and Michael Roper had most of the locals convinced that they were indeed brothers! Yet they were upstaged in the film by local actress Florie Moffitt who plays Finula, their Housekeeper. Florie had never seen a film camera before in her life, yet took to it like a natural. Watch out Hollywood, Florie Moffit is on her way.


Many people had suggested shooting the film in Wicklow, or even in the English Home Counties, yet Shay wanted the story to be true to it's origins. "Paddy and Joe's house and garden were actually the real locations where the events of 20 years previous took place. The kitchen, the net between the two trees, the chimney, are all the exact places where the original story occurred." The vast exteriors of Sligo have not been seen on film since "Yer Man From The Six Counties", and they provided a unique backdrop to the action.

Post Production

The post production on the film was completed with the help of many people in London. Berkeley Cole of Remote Films offered his post production facilities free of charge, and Alex McDonnell spent many long hours putting the final cut together. In an effort to steer away from any 'diddly-eye' soundtrack,  London band Gallon Drunk were drafted in to provide the jazzy soundtrack. As with many low budget short films director Shay Leonard became chief post production runner on the project, racing around with boxes under his arms between the post production facilities in Soho and West London for months on end, whilst producer Alexis Bicât spent weeks on the phone convincing very expensive facilities houses to offer their services for free.

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Key Crew Profiles

Shay Leonard (Writer/Director/Producer)

Shay Leonard is an Irish film-maker who has been making low/no-budget short films and videos in London for over ten years. Shay studied film at the University of North London, and at the City University of New York and the University of Toulouse in France. In 1996 his graduation video The Present Occupier: Final Demand was premiered at the Portobello Film & Video Festival in London. 

Since graduating in 1996 Shay has been working on short and feature films in London, including the highly successful Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels  by Guy Richie, Hunting Venus  by Martin Clunes and the forthcoming feature films Five Seconds To Spare  by Scala Pictures, and Sexy Beast by the Recorded Picture Company. He has also worked on many television productions such as the BBC's Maisie Raine, Harry Enfield, and How Do You Want Me?

Shay's film work has been mainly in the Art Department, yet he has also assistant directed, and worked as a camera operator. He has written a feature length black comedy entitled 'Turf' that is also based in Sligo. "To Catch A Crow" represents Shay's first work on Super16mm, shooting with a full crew.

Alexis Bicât (Co-Producer)

By training as a film director Alexis graduated from the University of North London (UNL) in 1995. It was here that Alexis and Shay Leonard first began to work together. As part of his degree Alexis spent a year making films in New York at the City University of New York (CUNY) in Harlem. Alexis has directed and produced nine short films. His works include many never before seen movies that deal with sometimes taboo themes that touch many of us in today’s world.

In autumn 1996 Bicât launched the highly successful SOHO SCREENINGS Film Market. Since then Bicât has been indirectly involved in the sale of well over thirty feature films, encouraging producers to go it alone in the world of sales. THE SOHO SCREENINGS stands as a mark of his determination, interest and commitment in helping to nurture, encourage and display new filmmaking talent. 

In 1999 he successfully brokered a two year sponsorship deal with Kodak Professional Motion Imaging that gives five new independent feature films per year a place in THE SOHO SCREENINGS for free. At 1999's SOHO SCREENINGS Bicât received much praise in Variety, Moving Pictures and The Hollywood Reporter for launching a working database driven web site that unified the registration process for Buyers and Sellers attending the pre-MIFED event at a stroke. 

Joanne O' Hagan (Production Manager)

Joanne began working with Graph Films as an Assistant Producer in 1993. She was consequently a Producer with Midas Films from 1995 to 1997 working on various broadcast, corporate and pop promo productions. For the past two years Joanne has produced and directed numerous short films, television programmes, and corporate video presentations for RTE and other Irish companies in a freelance role.

James Cotter (Director of Photography)

Since graduating from Dun Laoghaire College  James has been lighting both short drama films and corporate projects. He has also directed his own short film "Life on Mars", broadcast in August 1999 on Network 2 as part of the 'Debut' series. His most recent work was the short "Nowhere Land". 

Robert Flanagan (Sound Recordist)

Robert is also a graduate from Dun Laoghaire, and has developed his sound skills  by working with some of the country's top sound mixers. He has worked on over 40 short films and many feature films throughout Ireland. In October 1999 he achieved the rare distinction of winning two BAFTA Technical Awards for sound composition and design. Robert has also received awards at the Galway Film Fleadh and the FUJI Short Film Awards in London.

Alex McDonnell (Editor)

Educated in Liverpool Alex rose quickly through the ranks to become the in-house editor for Remote Films in Battersea, London. A position he has held for more than 5 years. Now a director of the company Alex likes nothing more than the work he does on low budget dramas. His experience extends well into short films, pop promos, commercials, documentaries and corporate videos.

James Johnston & Gallon Drunk (Original Music)

Gallon Drunk's dark, boozy rock & roll became a cult favorite in the U.K. in the early '90s. The band formed in London in 1990, releasing singles on their own Massive record label. Gallon Drunk have played the UK gig circuit for over ten years, with lead man James Johnston also touring with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds during the early 90's. Their early singles received favorable reviews and the band signed with Clawfist records in 1992. Gallon Drunk released their first major label record, From the Heart of Town, in 1993, and have since released 4 albums. In recent years the band have turned to soundtrack composing, initially for short films yet they have just had their first original soundtrack CD released to accompany the Greek feature film "Black Milk". Their strong impact on the soundtrack recording world has been comfirmed with the recently completed score for the feature film “The Most Fertile Man in Ireland”.

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Key Cast Profiles

Peter Caffrey ("Paddy" Character)

As a regular on Ballykissangel over 5 series, Peter is one of the 'familiar faces' of the production. In recent years he has also appeared in Channel 4’s Fr. Ted , the acclaimed low-budget Irish feature I Went Down, and the BBC’s A Love Divided. He also features in the highly acclaimed feature Night Train (1999) with John Hurt. Peter agreed to play the leading role of "PADDY" in the film having greatly admired the script.

Michael Roper ("Joe" Character)

Michael is somewhat of a latecomer to film, having acted on stage for over 25 years, taking the lead in plays varying from many of the Irish Classics to contemporary works such as 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'. He recently starred in the Donegal shot short films 'Charlie's Mission' and 'Bang Bang', and has also had leading roles in both 'End of the Season' and 'The Synthesizer'.

Rob Hopkins ("Martin" Character)

Most recently directed and played "Gerry Evans" in Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" for KDG Theatre Co. "A peerless production" - Main Event RTE. Currently working on two short films and a pilot radio soap...
"The Clown's Lament" with Dublin based Juanita Wilson, "The Tidiest Town in Ireland" (Munster Films) & "The Last Resort" Radio Corca Baiscinn (Eire)


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The PFJ for this production were…




Paddy McGovern Peter Caffrey
Joe McGovern Michael Roper
Martin Robert Hopkins
Finula Florie Moffitt
Old Mikey Lionel Gallagher
Dave "The Producer" Jon Bodhrá
Director Roger Barton Smith


Additional Cast

TV Presenter Pat Gibbons
Card Player Joe Harris
Card Player Tom Walsh
Woman in Pub / Auditioner Ita McMorrow-Leyden
2nd Woman in Pub Maureen Connelly
Audition Performer Christopher Callery
Audition Performer Mairéad Clancy
Audition Performer Gerry Ryan
Animal Safety Officer Dr. John Mark Dick
Film Crew Member Jim Bishop
Pall Bearers Big Joe Gilmartin
Cian Collins
David Holland
Mark Dunne
Guard Eugene McHale
Hunter Mark Hannon



Writer/Director/Producer Shay Leonard
Co-Producer Alexis Bicât
Executive Producers Shane Munro
Patrick Durkan
Director of Photography/
Camera Operator
James Cotter
Sound Recordist Robert Flanagan
Editor Alex McDonnell
Music James Johnston
with Ed Rose & Ian White

Casting  Munro Casting / Daphne O'Connor
Production Manager  Joanne O'Hagan
Production Co-ordinator  Ruth Thomas
Assistant Co-ordinator  Emer Regan
Additional Script Inspiration  Celia Coyle
Script Supervisor  Taylor Segrest 
Stills Photographer  Mary McDermott
First Assistant Director  Noirin Hennessey
Second Assistant Director  Lesley Ann Shaw
Third Assistant Director Gethan Dick
Set Runner  Cian Collins
Set Runner  Sarah Fox
Focus Puller  Louise McEllin
Clapper/Loader  Marcus Taglienti
2nd Unit Director of Photography  Will Henshaw
2nd Unit Camera Operator  Trevor Forrest
Gaffer  Howard Gibson-Steel
Lighting Technician  Gannon Murphy
Lighting Tech./Dolly Grip  Síle O'Dwyer
Lighting Technician  David Holland
Boom Operator  Steve Reddy
Art Director/Props Buyer  Ciara Draper
Construction Manager  Sean Gibbons
Art Dept. Assistants  Mary McDermott
  Emmelena Harrison
Caroline Clancy
Dermot Blighe
Storyboard Artist  Ollie Roberts
Taxidermist  Val Campbell
Dog Handler  Ashling MacHale
Crow Handler  Paul Kelly
Costume Designer  Maeve Mooney
Costume Assistant  Catherine Brady
Hair/Make-up Artist  Oonagh Dowling
Hair/Make-up Artist  Lisa Corcoran
Set Driver (& Unit Winnebago!)  Imelda Brady
Production Driver  Denise Haugh
Driver Kieran Carty
Catering   "Gibbo's Angels" 
Suzanne Leonard 
Liz Meahan 
Paul Gibbons
Sound Editor Paul Cotterell, Lipsunc
Telecine Co-ordinator  Rob Dunne / Vidfilm Europe
Neg Cutter  TruCut
Film Grading  CFS
Music Supervisor  Adrian McKinney
Titles  Lee Robinson
Titles Transfer  Screen Opticals
Insurance  Sedgwick Dean
Vehicle Insurance  IPM
Courier  City Air Express
Laboratory  CFS, London
Camera Equipment  Ronan Fox
  VFG, Ireland
Grip Equipment  Concorde Anois Teo
Lighting Equipment  Cine Electric
Film Stock  Photologic / Kodak Ireland
Photocopier  Cantec (Northwest) Ltd.
Radios  Universal Arms


Extras extraordinaire

Celia Coyle 
Mary Gorevan
Paul Kelly
Fran Carroll 
Margaret McCartney
Shona Costello 
Jim McDermott
Steve Cunningham 
Siun McDermott
Diana Diamond 
Niamh McHale
Tracey Diamond
Sinead McHale
Damien Gildea 
Cormac Meehan
Paul Gildea
Emma Meehan
Ross Gildea
Liz Meehan
Tina Gildea
Maureen Meehan
Jim Leonard
Stella Leonard
Alan Roper
Sharon Marshall
Anne Roper
Christopher McBride
Emma McCartney
Denise Haugh
Catriona Flynn
Oscar the dog
Johnny the pig (RIP) 
& Most of the crew ... 


Very Special Thank You to…

Michael Mullaney & Michael Quigley, Mullaney’s Soliciors, Sligo
Cormac Meehan, Sean Meehan & Co. IAVI, Bundoran
Ronan MacConUisce,  Shoot The Crows, Sligo
Berkeley  Cole & all at Remote Films, London
Jim & Stella Leonard
Mary McDermott
Pat Gibbons 

Thanks also to

The Beach Hotel, Mullaghmore
Atracta Boyle, Harbour View Holiday Homes
Columba Henneghan, Concorde Anois Teo
Claire MacHale
Steve Kyte, CFS
Gorevan’s Pub
The Canavaun Lounge
Mary Feeney
James Foy 
Jim Gray, The Sligo Champion
Martin Reilly Motors, Sligo
Ronnie Gillanders, Auctioneer, Sligo
Guinness, North West Sales
Hire & Sell Centre, Bundoran
Garda, Cliffoney
Jimmy McAuley, City Air Express
David McGowan, McGowan’s Funeral Services, Ballina
Packie & Kathleen Harrison
Joe Kelly
Gerry Burns
Michael, Telegael
Mick O’Toole, Cine Electric
Mary Davey, Davey’s Pub
Sligo County Council
Estelle Robin
Irish Distillers
Catherine Hayward


Much gratitude to

Mark Hannon, the original storyteller, crow catcher, and local hero!

Dolby SR Licence provided by Dolby Laboritories UK

Post Sound by LipSync Post London

Post post by Remote Films Ltd. London

Print Support costs by The Irish Film Board

Special Thanks top David Freeman

No animals or birds were harmed specifically by / on behalf of the film makers in this production.
(although most of the crew did feast on the beast and dine on the swine throughout the shoot)

Thank you to the residents and businesses of Cliffoney
Shot on location in and around Cliffoney, Co. Sligo, Ireland

©PFJ Productions 2000

This film is dedicated to the memory of
Uncle Paddy & Gorevans Pub

Paddy & Joe will return in

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An Interview with Carrion Alexander Crowe, lead crow in To Catch A Crow

by Mark A. Noying, voice of the Evening Low Standard


Interview conducted 6th September 2000

MARK: To Catch A Crow has been termed a light hearted comedy romp, yet, for me, I consider that what you were actually trying to achieve within the tableau of the text is intrinsically a classical analogy for the English invasion of Ireland, in one sense, asking the reader to confront any questions of imperial colonial doubt that may still niggle at the heart of the English psyche. Tell me about what drew you to the part Carrion?

CARRION: Squwark. No seriously: I suppose, in all honesty Mark, it was the drugs.

M: Drugs?

C: Yeah, one of the local farmers tried to poison me with some lethal drug or other, and if it hadn’t been for one of the crew who nursed me back to health, I don’t think I’d be here today talking with you Mark.

M: For me, the carrion crow is a creature that has long symbolised the viciousness of Mother Nature, feeding on the misfortune of others, and more recently considered a pest in the rural communities. Yet you elevate this black fowl of the air to mythical status. For me the crow represents the lands of the 19th century Irish, taken away by the plundering Saxons – for a token reimbursement. How did you approach your character?

C: Well, I suppose I just went with the flow, the director didn’t really speak much with the animal actors, but then again I am a crow.

M: So, did you rehearse much with the director?

C: No, as I say, Shay didn’t spend much time with the actors, although I think he did have a soft spot for Johnny.

M: Johnny?

C: The pig… So I did most of my rehearsals alone. Ya know, just a few practice flybys and stuff…

M: And what about the scene where you go crazy in the pantry?

C: Have you seen Apocalypse Now?


C: Well, that opening scene where Martin Sheen trashes his Saigon hotel room provided the perfect inspiration for the claustrophobic pantry smashing scene.

M: It seemed so natural, even though most of the action was off screen?

C: Yeah, we got it all in one take. Shay’s quite fond of the method acting style, so he just locked me in the pantry for the whole day before the shot. Then Rob, the sound man replayed The Doors “The End” throughout the take to add the final touch. I tell ya, a few feathers were lost in there!

M: How did you get on with the other birds? It must have been quite a laugh doing the chimney scene?

C: Ha! I wasn’t even there for that one. They used stunt doubles – mainly for the insurance thing, but also cause I’m not great with heights. I don’t know where they got my stunt double from but the resemblance was uncanny. We used to joke with the crew about who was who!

M: And what about your final scene, your break for freedom.

C: That was hilarious. The other actors kept messing up, fluffing their lines, so every time I’d fly out of the box the whole shoot was held up for ages, cause I’d just fly away. Then the crew would spend ages trying to get me to go back into the bloody box! 

M: And what about the future, have you had any offers for any other screen parts.

C: I feel that inevitably I’m being typecast. Ya know – lots of calls from the BBC Natural History Unit (yawns) – all the usual Docusoap stuff, but my agent’s advised me to keep to the dramatic roles, so at the moment I’m resting, although I did hear some rumours of a remake of the American Film by Gus Van Sant (Hitchcock’s The Birds” - Authors Note: crows are wildly superstitious and like stage actors with the Scottish Play, they never refer directly to the title of Hitchcock’s masterpiece).

M: And finally, I know you don’t like to talk about it but how have you and your close relative Russell Crowe been getting on since your movie debut?

C: Sorry Mark, no questions on Russell please, although if you want to chat about Sheryl…

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Downloadable Files

Click here to download an MS Word copy of the press kit.

Click here to download an MS Word copy of our three crow press releases.

Click here to download an MS Word copy of the exclusive interview with our lead actor Carion Alexander Crowe.

Click on the link underneath each picture to download a high resolution JPEG for print purposes. 

Please note: Right click on text only (not pictures) to save pictures on your hard drive.

FINULA (Florrie Moffitt) dashes cross the landscape chasing crows. Image size: 1.7MB (7x5 inches).

MARTIN the Props Master (Robert Hopkins) looks pleased to see our heroes. Image size: 375KB (7x5 inches).

Young talented new Irish director and vegetarian Shay Leonard works the actors into a performing frenzy. Image size: 283KB (6x4 inches)

PADDY (Peter Caffrey), JOE (Michael Roper) and FINULA examine their latest catch. Image size: 1.3MB (7x5 inches). 

Afeared of nothing, Leonard works with animals and children on his film debut. Image size: 291KB (6x4 inches).

A wide shot of our final scene: the set of the English film crew. Image size: 618 KB (7x5).

PADDY and JOE hear the news about the impending English Film Crew's invasion. Image size: 1.9MB (7x5 inches).

JOE and PADDY hatch another plot to catch the elusive bird. Image size: 137 KB (7x5 inches)..

First time film actress Florrie Moffitt (FINULA) takes a well earned break during shooting. Image size: 717KB (7x5 inches).

OLD MIKEY (Lionel Gallagher) cycles his way to the audition. Image size: 464KB (6x4 inches).

The talented young new London based film director and vegetarian Shay Leonard. Image size: 262KB (4x5 inches).

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World Premiere of Shay Leonard's first film To Catch A Crow at the Empire Leicester Square as part of the BBC British Short Film Festival

Unique screening on Super 16mm colour print with Dolby Surround sound.

Wednesday 27th September 2000 at 9:00pm

Tickets available from UCI Box Office on +44 (0) 870 588 8955 or directly from the cinema. 

Please do not call the BBC for tickets. 

We hope to see you there.

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Shay Leonard’s To Catch a Crow Wins 

Ultimate Gong at BBC British Short Film Festival

Shay shows off his winnings outside London's famous Empire Leicester Square Image size: 2MB (6x4 inches).

News Pre-Pieces to Date:
- Five minute interview with Gargy Patel with clips from the film on BBC Newsroom South East 28 October 6:30pm
- Twenty minute interview with Nigel Barden of BBC London Live 23 October 6:40pm
- Half page coverage in Camden New Journal

At the closing ceremony of the BBC British Short Film Festival last Thursday, new writer/director Shay Leonard accepted  the popular prize of the Red or Dead Audience Award for his short film comedy To Catch a Crow.

On Wednesday evening the film received an extraordinary reception at it’s World Premiere at London’s famous Empire Leicester Square. The following day it played again as one of the award winning shorts to a sell out audience who were attending the Awards Ceremony guested by Richard Blackwood, Tara Palmer-Thompkinson and Gemma Kidd.

Shay Leonard, an ex student of the infamous University of North London, well known for being a political hot bed and school of hard knocks, has crafted a wonderfully unassuming tale of two Irish farmers from a remote town in North West Ireland in their frantic pursuit of a live crow for a pompous English film crew.

The true story of To Catch a Crow is close to the heart of the young new director. One of the lead characters PADDY is based around Leonard’s own uncle, Paddy Leonard. 

On receiving the gong Leonard noted how fitting it was that the film had been awarded the popular prize exactly one year to the day since To Catch a Crow had wrapped. 

Shay and his co-producer Alexis Bicât have already been approached by two major feature film production companies to talk about their next project, a sequel to the Crows entitled Turf.

Originally chosen from over 3000 entries and voted favourite out of 368 short films in competition, the film now has the great distinction of winning an award at it’s first ever screening.

“The film won by an enormous margin.”
Amanda Casson - Festival Director, BBC British Short Film Festival

“This award means a lot to us. For a start it means we can now afford a decent pair of shoes,” said Leonard on receiving the 500 pound voucher from Red or Dead boss Wayne Hemmingway.

“All along, we’ve tried to make quite a modest film. To entertain people, bring a smile to their faces. After watching last night’s screening, I thought we’d done pretty well. This award represents the vote of the people – I don’t think we could ask for anything more.”
 Shay Leonard – Writer/Director, To Catch a Crow

“I can’t wait to get started on the further adventures of PADDY and JOE.”
Shay Leonard – Writer/Director, To Catch a Crow

 “I’m really happy for him [Shay] and for the whole crew. Winning the Audience Award will mean a lot to everybody who worked on the film.”
Alexis Bicât – Producer, To Catch a Crow

THE DIRECTOR (Roger Barton-Smith), Shay's Mother, FINULA (Florrie Moffit) and Shay's Father share the lime light outside London's famous Empire Leicester Square Image size: 160KB (6x4 inches)

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Clermont Ferrand Market Details

To Catch A Crow Winner of the Red Or Dead Audience Award at the BBC British Short Film Festival and 'Highly Recommended Short Listed Finalist' in the Turner Classics Shorts Competition is available for viewing and for sale at the Buyers Market in the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival

Simply present your ‘red dot’ accreditation pass at the Market Reception Desk between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm from Saturday 27 January to Friday 2 February 2001 and ask for To Catch a Crow. Staff at the Market Library will be pleased to help you discover how To Catch a Crow.

In attendence at Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival and Market will be Writer/Director Shay Leonard and Producer Alexis Bicât.
Alexis Bicât
Shay Leonard

Sales Contact details for the market are the same as those below.

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Theatrical Distribution for an Irish Film in Ireland? Never!

In many parts of the world it seems that the North Americans have the main theatrical distribution chains sewn up for their movies only. It is indeed a rare thing to see an Irish film in an Irish cinema. But why should this be the case when so many locals would like nothing more than to see films about themselves on the silver screen.

The complete control of cinema screens by Hollywood majors is repeated all over the world with what some might call a choke hold by the studios on regional talent. Not so at Buena Vista International because the notable exceptions to this rule are France and Ireland, yes Ireland. 

For years now Buena Vista International Ireland have been ground breaking in their approach to distributing films set in the Emerald Isle and To Catch a Crow is the latest film to be subjected to Buena Vista’s particular brand of innovation and commitment to local product.

The Award Winning short film To Catch a Crow has been selected by Buena Vista International to play in fifteen theatres nationwide this Spring 2002. 

Two years in the making To Catch a Crow (15mins 19secs) took the BBC British Short Film Festival by storm winning that most coveted of awards the Red or Dead Audience Award. 

With sales to Japan, North America, Ireland and the UK and a healthy international festival circuit ahead of it, the Crows have made seven years of cabbage soup for writer/director Shay Leonard and producer Alexis Bicât seem worth while.

The duo were widely shunned by British (and Irish) funding bodies before they started even planning this delightful and charming short film comedy. 

The film tells the story of a pompous English film crew who come to the beautiful North West of Ireland. The demanding film director (is there any other kind) is in search of a live crow to use as a prop. Naturally all the locals are desperate to either get themselves into the film or make a few bucks off the back of the production and it is not long before the entire village is searching for the elusive bird.


Media & Sales Contact

Alexis Bicât - Producer, To Catch a Crow
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"Everybody's gone crow crazy trying to catch that damn bird."
(Florrie Moffitt)


"The birds haven't been this nervous since Hitchcock
came to town."
(Shay Leonard
dir. To Catch
A Crow)


"Hollywood here I come."
(Peter Caffrey)


"Watch out Al Pasino
(Michael Roper)