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Interview – Helen O’Hanlon – ‘Mirette’ – A Short Film


Posted June 22, 2018 by

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Interview – Helen O’Hanlon

Helen O’Hanlon’s charming film Mirette brings Emily Arnold McCully’s award winning book Mirette on the High Wire to life, this timeless tale stars BAFTA award winner Miriam Margolyes, OSCAR nominee & TONY winner Tom Conti, and rising stars Dixie Egerickx, Jean-Marc Desmond and Bebe Cave. Mirette is the story of a plucky young girl, whose unexpected encounter with a fabled wirewalker changes both of their lives.

100 years ago in a boarding house in Paris, a young girl’s life is changed by the arrival of a mysterious man, whom she discovers is a wirewalker.

Writer and Director Helen O’Hanlon’s debut film How to be a Villain won a number of awards, including Best Director at the Oscar-qualifying Bermuda International Film Festival and The Forry Ackerman Award for Imagination in Film at the inaugural Silver Scream Film Festival. She has a number of exciting titles in development, including a New York Times Bestseller. In the meantime she is originating a new travel show format with UK comedy legend, Vic Reeves and is developing the feature version of Mirette.

Producer Michael Stanish joined Framestore as Senior Producer, post-producing commercials and touching on feature film VFX. He produced the acclaimed Tale of the Three Brothers animated segment in Harry Potter 7, The Deathly Hallows. He produced VFX for the hugely successful British film Harry Brown and worked extensively with the most globally awarded commercials director, Daniel Kleinman. He executive produced the beloved How To Be A Villain (2015) and pioneered a new special feature format with Mirette (2017). Most recently he has produced 8 Bites of Japan, a vibrant new travel format starring Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves).

The stellar cast includes newcomer Dixie Egerickx who was discovered by Spielberg’s casting directors, her screen debut was in Churchill’s Secret alongside Michael Gambon.  Jean-Marc Desmond won international acclaim for his leading role in Territoire by Oscar-nominee Vincent Paronnaud. Tom Conti was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Reuben Reuben and won a TONY for Whose Life is it Anyway?, other notable credits include Shirley Valentine and Paddington 2. Miriam Margoyles is a beloved national British treasure, who is best known for her film roles which include her BAFTA-winning performance in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series. Bebe Cave is known for her work in the fan favourite Victoria.

Mirette has been selected for a number of high profile film festivals including the Bermuda International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Nashville International Film Festival.

Interview - Helen O’Hanlon


To begin with, tell us about your latest film Mirette’…

Mirette is an epic tale of a brave young girl in turn of last century Paris, who becomes determined to be a wirewalker.  It’s a story of unexpected friendship, courage and how a seemingly invisible girl can suddenly lift everyone up to the stars.

How did you get involved with the film? Where did the idea come from?

I discovered the book ‘Mirette on the High Wire’ and fell in love with it.  I found it to be incredibly cinematic.  An enchanting story for all ages.  The author, Emily Arnold McCully has been a fantastic support in bringing it to screen and even features in the crowd during the finale scene!

Tell us about the cast, who is starring in Mirette?

The amazing Dixie Egerickx.  She is currently filming the remake of The Secret Garden, she is the lead, Mary Lennox, starring with Colin Firth and Julie Walters. She is a real talent and for Mirette she trained to wire walk for real over approximately 8 months!

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

James Whale, Terry Gilliam, Baz Lurhmann to name a few.  I love magical realism, heightened reality…curious, imaginative worlds that I can disappear into.

When and where can we expect to see Mirette?

Following our indie cinema screenings in London, we are currently in the middle of a thrilling film festival run that started with Tribeca in April and is in Maui at present.  We have a number of forthcoming screenings soon to be announced and plan to release Mirette at the end of the year.  To keep updated follow us on FB, Twitter @mirettefilm or via @helenohanlon.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production?

We are currently developing a feature version of Mirette – watch this space!


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