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Treasure Entertainment on ‘Finding Joy’ and their busy year!

Finding Joy (Amy Huberman); Treasure Entertainment
Finding Joy (Amy Huberman); Treasure Entertainment

Treasure Entertainment is one of Ireland's leading independent production companies, with a proven record in producing commercially and critically successful films and television for Irish and international audiences. Notable film credits include John Butler feature films, Papi Chulo, Handsome Devil and The Stag; Paddy Breathnach's Oscar shortlisted Viva; and BAFTA nominated Good Vibrations.

Sarah Gunn, Development Executive and Producer, joined Treasure Entertainment in 2013, working on feature films The Stag, Dare to be Wild and The Canal. In 2015, she was appointed Development Executive for the company, overseeing their film and TV slate as well as co-producing feature films Viva (2015) and Handsome Devil (2016).

Producers: Rob Walpole, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Claire McCaughley

MEDIA Slate Funding Awards

2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016

Realised film projects:

  • Metal Heart, 2018
  • Papi Chulo, 2018
  • Handsome Devil, 2016
  • Viva, 2015 (shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film)

Realised TV Projects

MEDIA Training & Networks

Screen Leaders (2015)

Producers on the Move / European Film Promotion (Rebecca O’Flanagan, 2011)

EAVE (Claire McCaughley 2016, Rob Walpole 1993)

INSIDE PICTURES (Rebecca O’Flanagan 2012)

Interview with Sarah Gunn, Producer

1. Treasure Entertainment has a long track record in receiving MEDIA funding with their first award dating from 2004. How has MEDIA Slate Funding helped the company develop and grow since that first award?

The development process is vital to the success of a project. Development needs time and, in general, small independent production companies do not have the resources for what a project can need. That’s where MEDIA funding plays a vital role - it gives you the luxury of time and the support needed to allow a story to find its truth, and that’s what connects with an audience.

2. In 2018, you have no less than three current projects coming to fruition that were included in your 2016 MEDIA Slate application! One of them is TV series, Finding Joy, written by and starring Amy Huberman. Tell us more about the early stages of developing this comedy drama with Amy.

We have worked with Amy over a number of years now and have such belief in her talent as both an actor and a writer. Her voice is fresh, smart and funny. Finding Joy came from a meeting between Amy and Rebecca as a side project, while working together on another project, that very quickly gained momentum. Reading the pilot for the first time, we knew that this television series was a true showcase to her unique sense of humour and talent as a writer. Much of the development process was about creating a structure that didn’t restrict her voice but rather elevated it.

3. Treasure Entertainment also has two MEDIA supported films coming out soon - Metal Heart and Papi Chulo. Tell us about working with the writers and directors in developing these two projects.

Metal Heart and Papi Chulo had two very different journeys; one was a first time feature film for both writer Paul Murray and director Hugh O’Conor, whereas Papi Chulo was the third feature for writer/director John Butler. With Metal Heart it was a privilege to work with two incredibly talented creatives in their own right and support them as they navigated the world of feature film script development. John hit the next level writing Papi Chulo - reading the first draft of it, you knew it was his best work to date and then with each draft it just kept getting better. It was like watching a guitarist fine tune their instrument - he knew the story intrinsically and knew how to get the best out of it.

4. One of your producers, Rebecca O’Flanagan, was a featured Producer on the Move (supported by MEDIA) in Cannes in 2011. How important is it for Treasure Entertainment to be a involved in European networks?

Over the years we have regularly attended Berlinale and Marché du Film Cannes among others as it’s incredibly important to connect with your peers in the industry. Being in the EU and able to avail of MEDIA-led networks and markets is not something to take for granted - we have made invaluable partnerships and friendships over the years through these events.

5. Do you have any advice on what makes a good MEDIA application? Is there a knack to promoting your company and projects in an application?!

First and foremost - talk to Orla at the Dublin MEDIA office! Then sit down with your whole team and really interrogate your slate. We have three projects from five in production from our 2016 slate. We produced two of four on our 2014 slate. I would put that down to having a slate that is reflective of the films that we are passionate about making - films that represent who we are as a company. It’s also really important that you can see the path for each project - who is your audience and how are you going to get to them?

Finding Joy starts on RTE1 at 9.30pm on Wednesday 10 October.

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