Conor O’Farrell

An Interview With IIFC Advisory Board And Grand Jury Member

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Conor O’Farrell, who’s newest television series “Game Of Silence” is now in production for NBC, is one of those actors who’s face seems to be everywhere. From major network television series (“CSI”, “True Blood”, “Justified”), to critically acclaimed mini series events (“HBO’s The Pacific”, “From The Earth To The Moon”) and major motion pictures such as “Stir Of Echoes” with Kevin Bacon, “Flash Of Genius” starring alongside Greg Kinnear, and “The Lincoln Lawyer” with Matthew McConaughey, Conor has made his mark as one of Hollywood’s “Go To” actors over his illustrious twenty-five year career. And the Idyllwild International Festival Of Cinema has had the honor of Conor’s strong support for the past five years. Now, moving into its 6th season, IIFC is proud to have Conor as a member of its Grand Jury board and its Board Of Advisors. IIFC Festival Director Stephen Savage (who has had the privilege of directing Conor in two films) recently had a chance to throw a few questions Conor’s way regarding the festival, his acting career, and what advice he would give to young actors in this age of independent film and new media.

Stephen Savage

Conor, people know you as a journeyman television and stage actor. But in the ten years you and I have been friends, I’ve watched you explore and venture into the relatively new territories of independent film and new media. Would you say the new wave of small budget independent production, utilizing new technologies such as inexpensive HD camera accessibility and home editing, has been a positive move forward in the art of filmmaking? 

Conor O’Farrell

Yes and no. Technology doesn’t necessarily make a good movie, storytelling does. More people can now afford to make a movie, and technology has made that happen. But I still feel that having a story worth telling is still, and always will be, the heart of the medium. So, yes, there are more people making films and, no, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.

Stephen Savage

As an actor, you have managed to do very well in the television and film industry. Is there a difference in the way you approach a role in a smaller indie film as opposed to the big budget Hollywood work you have done?

Conor O’Farrell

My approach is the same for both. At the end of the day it’s me up on that screen, and I always want to come off the best that I can…yes, I am that vain.

Stephen Savage

The Idyllwild Cinema Festival enters its sixth year in 2015, and you have been a strong supporter since year one. What has impressed you most about the festival, and what’s your take on the quality of filmmaking you’ve seen showcased at IIFC?

Conor O’Farrell

The quality of the films has grown along with the Festival itself. I’d like to see more honest discussion of the films, what worked and what didn’t work, because I believe that, primarily, we learn from our mistakes.

Stephen Savage

You’ve been the unofficial IIFC Awards Ceremony MC from the beginning. Has that been a fun experience for you?

Conor O’Farrell

I, generally, have a pretty good time in front of an audience, I am, after all, an actor. I love the earnest sincerity of the film makers and enjoy playing a part in the beginning of someone career.

Stephen Savage

What will you be looking for this year at IIFC, and do you watch an indie film in any way differently that you view a main stream movie?

Conor O’Farrell

Like I said, story and heart capture me. A good story is a good story, whether it is a $10,000 budget or a $10,000,000 budget.

Stephen Savage

In addition to your acting career, you have been an acting couch and teacher, and an advocate of arts education in school. What advice would you give to young actors hoping to make the move from small indie productions into mainstream Hollywood?

Conor O’Farrell

Take your career seriously and others will take you seriously. Behave like a professional and you’ll be treated like a professional

Stephen Savage

Thanks, Buddy. Really happy that you’ll be back this year. It’s a true honor to have you lending your expertise and input again in 2015.

Conor O’Farrell

Thanks for the chance to sound off.