‘The Frames: In The Deep Shade’ opens in select Irish cinemas

The Frames: In The Deep Shade trailer

‘The Frames: In The Deep Shade’, a feature film portraying the enduring Irish band The Frames, announces its Irish cinema release date as April 19th. The film received its world premiere at the recent Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and is directed by acclaimed photographer Conor Masterson, who shot the film over 18 months.

The film is not a ‘definitive’ career-spanning documentary of the band, nor is it a fly-on-the-wall expose or an us-against-the-world hero saga. It is a stark portrait of an extraordinary band, who have played together for over 20 years, combining behind the scenes footage and electrifying on-stage performances. The film will open at Light House Cinema Dublin on April 19th ahead of screenings at selected locations around Ireland.

In the Deep Shade celebrates simplicity. No captions. No flash-cuts. No voiceover. With a photographer’s eye, poetic sensibility and painterly aesthetic, Masterson examines the ever-evolving relationship between five musicians who’ve known each other for many years.

“When the 20th anniversary was approaching I suggested filming at one of their smaller gigs, to get some footage in a more intimate venue, close up,” says the filmmaker, who has photographed the band since 1998. “Glen had seen a personal art film I made in Paris and suggested I make a film with the same loose, roaming aesthetic. My initial reaction was sceptical as I had no interest in making a music documentary, but I knew the band was comfortable around me and realised there might be an opportunity to do something interesting.”

“It’s certainly not a conventional documentary that sets up conflict and then resolves it,” Masterson says. “From the very beginning I decided this was a poetic film that would not be afraid to take liberties with linear narrative. What appealed to me was the chemistry and the family spirit that they all have. I’m hoping that it can be seen as a film about a collective whose chief concern is playing music well. I think it’s rare to have a collection of high-achieving, talented people who have worked together for this long and are still healthy.”

When interviewed for the film, Glen Hansard admitted, “You have to double-up on any eye contact with this band. To use the old analogy of robbing a bank, it’s a tight operation and if you get it wrong somebody’s gonna get hurt.” This level of intuition, says Masterson, is crucial to understanding how the band operates.

As for the director’s own vision, Masterson opted for a raw and improvisational approach. “We filmed a gig on the first night with the band and when I reviewed the multi-camera footage, it was far more interesting when a lone camera was allowed to take risks and to chase the action with no net – that is, no other camera to cut away to. I think it adds to the feel of a Frames performance, because as a band they will play the song and be alive in every moment in an effort to make the performance as good as it can be, using any mistake as a virtue. It was all about being honest, and if something happened off stage or on and the footage was gritty but the moment was interesting that was fine.”