NEW YORK (Reuters) - What should have been a six-hour flight to New York from Dublin became a four-day adventure — via Colombia — for two Irish producers desperate for their film to make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Along with millions of travelers, Rebecca O’Flanagan and Rob Walpole’s trip was thrown into chaos by the volcanic ash cloud that shut down airports across Europe, so the pair came up with what they admit was a “nutty” plan to get to New York.
With the finished version of their film “My Brothers” in hand, the pair jumped into Walpole’s small, 11-year-old car on Sunday and set off for Spain in the hopes of getting a flight.
They caught a ferry to Wales from Ireland, drove through the night across Britain to catch another ferry to France, before driving to Bordeaux in the south of the country where they stopped overnight. They set out for Madrid on Tuesday.
“At that stage the story was that there was no way anybody else was going to make it — the director, the writer, and the actors,” said O’Flanagan.
“So we stopped in San Sebastian in the north of Spain ... found a little Catholic church, because you revert to these things when you’re feeling desperate, and lit a candle to St. Christopher, who is the patron saint of travelers, to pray for everyone else to make it over as well,” she said.
From Madrid the only flight they could get was to Bogota. From there they flew to Miami — minus their bags — stayed overnight and then arrived in New York City on Thursday, ahead of the planned premiere of their film on Friday.
“We’re both exhausted and exhilarated,” said O’Flanagan. “We managed to remain fairly good humored, although there has been one or two tense moments between myself and Rob while we were trying to negotiate motorways around Madrid.”
Their plan paid off as the flight they had been due to catch on Wednesday from Dublin to New York was canceled. And St. Christopher heard their prayers, with director Paul Fraser and writer William Collins — both of whom are making their debut — and the young cast of the film also making it to New York.
The film, which was only finished on Sunday and is competing in the world narrative competition of the Tribeca Film Festival, is about three young brothers who set out on a road trip to replace their dying father’s broken wristwatch.
Editing by Christine Kearney and Eric Beech