Excitement as Gowna film reaches final stage

It has taken several months to compile, involving acting talent from right across the south Cavan and north Longford region and on a budget even Finance Minister Michael Noonan would be proud of.

It has taken several months to compile, involving acting talent from right across the south Cavan and north Longford region and on a budget even Finance Minister Michael Noonan would be proud of.

Finally however, followers of Loch Gowna produced film ‘No Party For Billy Burns’ were given a brief glimpse of the final scenes of the much anticipated feature length production as shooting officially came to a close at the weekend.

In a refreshing break from tradition, cameras, spot lights and extended microphones took over the entrance of popular Arva establishment, ‘Murtagh’s Bar’ on Saturday evening as locals gathered for the film’s ‘Wrap Party’.

And for two of its leading lights, director Padraig Conaty and main character Kevin McGahern the experience has been one both Loch Gowna natives spoke openly about this week.

“It was tough and to be honest the budget was small, miniscule in fact,” reflected a pensive Mr Conaty.

Sitting alongside his close friend, the amiable film director heaped praise on all those who ensured the final production remained very much on course.

“We have just been overwhelmed by people’s generosity. There were two race nights, facebook and a website we set up which allowed people to donate whatever they could. We cannot thank those people enough,” he said.

Involving 40 cast members drawn from counties Longford, Cavan, Leitrim and beyond, the central plot focuses on fictional character, Billy Burns as he battles with a range of personal dilemmas whilst living with his reclusive grandfather.

Set in the south Cavan and north Longford countryside, Billy, described by the man behind the creation, as a “simple young fellow” hails from a rural background, harbouring more than a lingering passion for cowboy films.

Rather than dwell too much on what the general public can expect in the lead up to its official unveiling in the New Year, Mr Conaty said the film’s genisis surfaced during an evening out socialising with friends.

“The idea just popped into my head. It was when Kevin dressed up for the Wild West Weekend in Arva. I just thought to myself, we could do something on this,” he revealed.

More than a few conversations later with the man charged with becoming its main character and the idea suddenly became reality.

Soon, others followed. Acclaimed Kingscourt actor and co-writer of academy award screenplay ‘My Left Foot’ Shane Connaughton as well as Seamus O’Rourke of Carrigallen’s Corn Mill Theatre fame were drafted in.

But it was Conaty’s friend and star of RTE show ‘The Hardy Bucks’, Kevin McGahern who took centre stage, winning producers over with his unique acting style and undoubted talent.

“It was great to be able to play Billy,” said Mr McGahern, who occupies the role of ‘Simcard’ in the RTE production. “There were long hours involved alright but I can safely say I enjoyed every minute of it.”

It’s now hoped the film could make its first appearance at next July’s Galway Film Festival.