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Interview – Martin Delaney – ‘Queen’s Mile’ – A Short Film


Posted October 9, 2016 by

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Interview – Martin Delaney

Queen’s Mile is a heartwarming story of a young woman’s courage in coping with depression, in her own unique way.  Written & Directed by Martin Delaney we follow her journey along London’s Southbank. Delaney is an actor of almost 20 years, his screen credits include: the BAFTA nominated Renford Rejects, Family Affairs (earning him multiple award nominations for Best Newcomer and Best Actor), Oscar-nominated Flags of Our Fathers (Dir: Clint Eastwood), Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty (Dir: Kathryn Bigelow), The Little Riders, Gadgetman, Stormhouse, Bonded by Blood 2 and Now You See Me 2.

Delaney has had a life long fascination with cinema and film. In 2006 he co-produced documentary Wrath of Gods along with Gerard Butler, which won a number of international awards and is associate producer of British Asian film Amar, Akbar & Tony. Queen’s Mile is Delaney’s debut short film, bringing together 20 years of experience in the industry.

Interview - Martin Delaney


To begin with, let’s discuss your latest film ‘Queen’s Mile’, what is it about?

Sure! Queen’s Mile is an LGBT themed short film, about a young woman coping with depression in a unique and romantic way. It’s essentially a love story, dealing with a number of universal themes like loss and hope. The story unfolds along the Southbank, and is a love letter to a special part of London that most people recognise.

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

Well, I wrote the piece back in 2014. I wanted to tell a 21st century love story in short form, set in and around a romantic setting in London. So I would say the idea came from some thinking I had around LGBT content. I felt like most LGBT cinema and short film focused quite heavily on the so-called problems of being gay, which is potentially patronising to millennials, and didn’t really normalise gay relationships in film. I felt like it would be a useful contribution to this area of film if I explored themes of love, loss and hope with a same sex couple, where the drama in the piece was nothing to do with the sexuality of the characters. If I wanted to reflect the London I know today, the idea of drama around one’s sexuality really should be non-existent. That is where Queen’s Mile came alive for me.

 Martin Delaney short film

Let’s talk about the cast, who are staring and what was it like working with them?

The film stars Emerald O’Hanrahan (The Archers, Assassin’s Creed, Alien: Isolation) and Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones, I Am Yours) and Rez Kempton (Amar Akbar and Tony, I Can’t Think Straight). They were each of them a real dream to work with. All three actors I knew from working alongside them in various projects for TV and film before Queen’s Mile. I liked their work and entirely trusted them with what they brought to the project. Emerald and I has played opposite each other in a TV show about a year previous. We had discussed working together on a short film and one time even considered exploring an idea she wanted to write. In the end, QM was simply nearer a fully formed project and I had always written the lead with her in mind. I felt like she had this perfect vulnerability but true strength that the lead in the story needed. She’s a fine actress.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

Oh gosh, there’s so many! I always enjoyed watching older films with my father, he really sparked my passion for film. We used to watch all these John Ford classics and Kurosawa movies when I was a child. I always liked Milos Forman, but the single-shot fan in me admired film-makers like Brian De Palma and of course Spielberg. There’s a nostalgia about Penny Marshall films and John Hughes films that I really miss today. Tonally I really enjoy what David O. Russell brings to the table and I like the way Jeff Nichols, David Mackenzie and Gavin O’Connor are going. I guess I connect to the intimacy of the movies of those last three. For me, thematically Spielberg, Eastwood, Kathryn Bigelow and Christopher Nolan are so captivating. There always seems to be something in their movies that I really love. I would say I am always looking for that great characterisation in film and an exploration of human connection. Don’t get me wrong, I love action movies and comedies and it’s no surprise that they always do big box office but what I really look for is a kind of heartwarming truth, that can be as rare in cinema as it is in real life. Those big four I just mentioned always seem to nail that in big budget films and I think there’s a lot to be admired in that.

Martin Delaney image from film

Where & when can we expect to see ‘Queen’s Mile’?

Queen’s Mile will be shown at Iris Prize Film Festival on the 14th of October, as we’re nominated for Best British Short Film there this year. It’s just such an honour for us and I feel so grateful that we’ve been recognised by this BAFTA qualifying festival. Iris Prize Film Festival is one of the most important festivals in the world right now, so to be showing here is just very special for our small film. The same weekend we’ll be screening at Rainbow Film Festival in Shropshire on Saturday 15th, so it’s a busy weekend for the Queen’s Mile team! We’re really just at the start of our festival run, so there’s a lot more to come along the way. It’s been such an exciting journey for us to date but I can’t wait to get it out to a wider audience and I hope they continue to feel connected to it.

Do you have any top filmmaking tips for the readers of FilmDebate?

Hey, we’re all just making it up as we go along! Haha. I’m not sure I can impart any wisdom as such. I’ve been acting about 20 years now and had the pleasure of working with some fantastic directors along the way, so when I decided I would direct, I felt like I was just trying to take the best of those people along with me. I guess if there’s anything I would say, it’s think of your audience. Who you are making it for, is so important. Film making is just camp fire tales reinvented and no one told a story around those fires that wasn’t worth telling. So find a voice for a particular ear or audience and just do your best. Collaborate with good people and listen to them, even when the buck stops with you. No one is out to do a shitty job, so trust those you choose to be around you and if it doesn’t work out, choose better next time! Be nice to people and enjoy yourself.

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

In terms of directing I am developing a comedy short with some writer friends of mine. So the next one looks like it won’t be one I have written, which might be a blessing! Ha. In terms of acting I believe Now You See Me 2 is coming out on DVD soon over here, so you can catch me in that. I’m also guest starring in the new series of JOSH with Josh Widdicombe and Jack Dee which is on BBC iPlayer right now. It will be shown on BBC 1, Saturday 8th October too after Graham Norton, so if you want to see me play a total tool, please check it out!


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