Padraig O’Neill trained at the renowned Druid Theatre Company. In 1989 he worked as assistant to designer Frank Conway on Jim Sheridan’s Oscar nominated film The Field and since then has become an established and award winning production designer.
Art direction credits include Bloody Sunday, An Everlasting Piece, Sweety Barett, The Last of the High Kings and The Boxer.
Production design in film includes Bogwoman, A Womans Hair, The Daisy Chain, Savage and Occi Versus the World. He has collaborated with director Lenny Abrahamson on the award-winning films 3 Joes, Adam and Paul and Garage.
Design for television includes Fergus’ Wedding, Showbands, The State of Us and the award-winning Bachelors Walk. In 1996 he produced the fine art animation film An Bonan Bui which won the animation award at the Celtic Film Festival.
Padraig’s most recent project was the production design for Klondike, Ireland’s first ever Western Drama Series, released in July 2015.
- Nominated for Irish Film and Television Award for Best Production Design for 'Garage' (2008)
- Irish Film and Television Award for Best Art Direction for 'Spin The Bottle' (2003)
Snap is set in present day Ireland. The film deals with generational dysfunction, dishonesty and child abuse in a family. The story is told through Sandra and moves through past and present time using different camera devices super 8, mobile phone, Polaroid etc to drive the narrative.
We shot the film in and around Cork City. Carmel Winters was very specific in the look of the main set locations. Sandra’s apartment was to have a sparse yet functional open plan design. We acquired the use of an apartment in a modern student housing complex at Victoria Cross. This space fitted our brief and we decorated and painted to suit both space character.
We found a period rambling house on its own grounds in Watergrassill for Grandfather’s house. In complete contrast with Sandra’s, we painted and decorated in warm colours and dressed the rooms with soft furnishings and practical table lamps.
Bridget, a single mother returns from England to Sligo town with her toddler son Austin/ Occi. Both are roundly rejected by her parents. Set in the early 1970’s, the film charts the life of Occi as he battles with social injustice, rejection and mental illness.
We were fortunate to find a disused Convent and former orphanage with an adjoining 1950’s national school all on one site in Tourlestrane 20 miles south of Sligo town. Here we were presented with vast high ceilinged rooms which we transformed into wards for our mental hospital, doctors offices and a mother and baby home for scenes early in the film. We painted the national school interior in period institutional colors and dressed the classroom accordingly.
Two vacant pre-fab classrooms were knocked into one to create our dole office where partitions and hatches were built and painted by our onsite construction crew.
Doorly Park a 1940’s council estate in Sligo town had a few streets unchanged since they were built. We filmed exterior Bridget’s house here. In nearby Ballymote we found a derelict house in a similar estate and dressed it as Bridget’s and Occi’s house.
After several weeks scouting around the country, Mick Swan – our location manager – had a shortlist of five forecourt garages/ service stations. Prior to pre-production, we did a mini recce over two days and Lenny chose a small garage-cum-shop with a three pump open forecourt on the edge of Rathcabbin, a small village in North Tipperary. The business had closed for a year so we had a blank canvas with regard to dressing the shop, garage and Josie’s living quarters. Lenny to his credit has no time for embellishment where it is not required so we kept the garage as real to what it was. We dressed in service/ repair equipment, a tarpaulin covered car, oil drums, etc. and closed off a corner where Josie lived with moveable glazed partitions similar in style to a garage in nearby Birr. We dressed in a small fridge, tv a small breakfast cooker and a makeshift bed. The quiet countryside near the River Shannon made for speedy and efficient filming. We moved to Woodford for the final week of location filming where we dressed a disused Constabulary Barracks into a modern Garda Station. We used a small grocery store where Josie buys his food and chats with Carmel the shop keeper. We used a former butcher shop in Woodford for our exterior bar scenes and then took all our window dressing entrance door to Dublin where we built the entrance wall and windows at the Black and Amber pub in Dublin. It was a most enjoyable film to work on with a small dedicated crew, a great cast and director.