The Boogaloo and Graham Theorem

Christine explains why 2 boys + 2 chickens = an Oscar® nomination.

11 May 2016
Christine Morrow
By Christine Morrow
Christine is the Short Film Executive at Northern Ireland Screen. She oversees funded short films from development to delivery. She also works with animation and factual creative teams on short film projects.

I first saw Boogaloo and Graham as a first draft script in August 2013. When I read it at that stage I knew it had a special quality that not every short film has. It was really well written (by Ronan Blaney) — the characters were jumping off the page, the family dynamic had great comedy and it had two chickens.

Michael and Ronan’s creative partnership was well established by this stage but the film didn’t have a producer. So I had a think and recommended various people and eventually Brian Falconer came on board. Michael is an ambitious director, and this film was no exception, on a relatively modest budget — he’d be working with children, chickens and a period set. So Brian faced a big challenge facilitating the project.

a young boy looks confused at the dinner table
Boogaloo and Graham (2014)

I helped Brian get the crew together and when I visited the set the crew was very tight, focused and determined. The first cut was very convincing and the performances were great, and Michael had been very clever — making real dramatic impact with his direction. When I spoke to him about the cuts he simply wanted to know whether I’d seen the chickens eating ice-cream!

As you can imagine, this film was a lot of fun to work on. When it started its festival run I hoped it would be well received by audiences, but I never expected what was ahead. I did have an inkling that it was doing well when it was very well received at the Galway Film Fleadh, and it screened four times at the Cork Film Festival in 2014. The BAFTA nomination for the film was very special, the Oscar nomination even more so. 

a boy at the dinner table talking to his dad
Boogaloo and Graham (2014)

The night of the BAFTAs was a surreal experience. I was at home following a Twitter feed and watching the ceremony on a time delay. I would know either way via social media before the result on TV, and when I clicked on the announcement link, Ronan’s was the first name I saw — I had to read it a few times to be sure of the result. Seeing Michael’s reaction to the win was probably the best part of the whole thing for me. He’d worked very hard for that moment and I’d worked with him for a long time to achieve it. Seeing the film nominated at the Oscars, with what felt like the whole world loving the chickens, was something I’ll never forget. It was a real privilege to work on the film, and everyone associated with it really deserved the global success it achieved.