A normal life is not for those who want to be involved in the arts, especially if they want to earn their living doing it. Ask anyone who is involved in a creative vocation and they will speak about the missed family events, the financial rollercoaster, the transient nature of relationships; so why do it? It sounds like languishing in a constant state of suffering. The reason is that for those who heed this calling it pales in comparison to the suffering of not creating. That might sound grandiose but it is not hyperbolic. Thomas Hefferon was living a normal life, working in a department store in his mid-twenties until one day he decided to walk away and pursue his dream of directing. He sacrificed an easier, but more boring life, to search from an extraordinary one. Now, years later with Award-Winning films, exciting music videos and successful commercials on his long list of work, he’s well on his way.
In contrast to many filmmakers, this path was not a singular aspiration which Thomas has sought out his entire life. He marveled at Spielberg’s ET and Disney’s Dumbo (which he cried at ceaselessly after viewing as a very young boy), and Star Wars like all youth of his generation. It was James Cameron’s who truly spoke to him at an early age (with doses of Ridley Scott as well). What captivated a young Hefferon was the willingness of these filmmakers to cultivate a sense of identity and personality from behind the camera. Although he harbored the idea of a foray into directing as early as age eighteen, it wasn’t until he was twenty-six that had saved up enough money and written enough scripts to throw caution out the door and quit his “normal” job. Declaring himself a filmmaker, he went about directing (and writing, and producing) “The Confession.” This seminal film of Hefferon’s would eventually be screened at over forty-five major international film festivals such as the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival (USA) 2009, Newport Beach Film Festival (USA) 2009, Palm Springs Shortfest (USA) 2008. It’s nearly impossible to accept “The Confession” as a first production from a filmmaker as its ease and confidence belies the idea that it is not the product of a veteran director. Set in 1970s Ireland, Johnny Smith, a seemingly innocent local boy, goes to church to confess his sins to the all-powerful town priest. With his friend standing by, he nervously enters the confession box and begins a strange conversation with the priest, who seems more interested in gossiping about the nocturnal habits of the local women than granting him absolution from his sins. It’s worth mentioning that this film switches genres during the unfolding of the story (or does it?).
What could have been an interpretation of ill portent during the making of “The Confession” Thomas recalls, “. On our second day, when we were shooting all of the confession box scenes, a minor hurricane hit Ireland. Ireland doesn’t get hurricanes or extreme weather like that ever and it took us all a bit by surprise. But the main problem was that we were shooting the booth scenes in an old warehouse and when the storm hit properly the windows started to shudder and bang so loudly that you couldn’t even hear the actors speaking their dialogue. This continued all day, and because I was shooting it myself with my own money there was no way around it, I just had to continue and hope for the best. It was somewhat nerve wrecking, but thankfully we managed to capture bits and pieces of the dialogue in between the banging, and because the actors were so good almost every take they did was brilliant.”
Hefferon would follow “The Confession” with a succession of critically lauded films. These included: The Heist (2011) -screened at: forty major international film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival (USA) 2011, Aspen Film Festival (USA) 2012, Leuven Short Film Festival (Belgium) 2011, Switch -screened at fifteen major international film festivals including: Tribeca Film Festival (USA) 2011, Newport Beach Film Festival (USA) 2012, Dublin International Film Festival (Ireland) 2012, The Pool - screened at: 30 major international film festivals including such prestigious ones as, Tribeca Film Festival (USA) 2010, Palm Springs International Film Festival (USA) 2010, Encounters Film Festival (UK) 2010.
Thomas finds himself poised to share his directing talents with a number of upcoming films. His desire to depict and transfer the emotions and experience of characters onscreen have led him to the production “The Melody” which might most appropriately be described as a Nano-Thriller. A twisted and frightening tale of murder that slowly reveals the real plot, Hefferon excitedly remarks that this film contains some of the most extensively choreographed camera movements he has ever attempted.
“Life Cycle” is a sci-fi film that will explore the ever increasing question of what it means to truly be human with relevant topics like bioengineering and cloning. Think Ex Machina, meets Never Let Me Go by way of Logan. Having always been an avid fan of the genre, Thomas declares his excitement about working on this project.
When questioned about this path that he has steered his life towards Hefferon confesses, “What I love about it is that it’s the one venue where I can live out my dream. I was born to make movies that entertain people. It’s unlike any other industry. There’s camaraderie there, knowing that you’ve chosen a different path to normal. I love that I feel connected to what I do, that what I put my hard work into is something that comes out on the other side as ‘mine’. Something I can take (joint) ownership of. You put something into the world that wasn’t there before. And hopefully it’s something good. I want to make the movies I want to make, and if they win awards, great. And if they don’t, great.”