Some people thank their mum and dad. Others thank God. Jamie Donoghue may be the first to thank an Icelandic volcano for his Oscar nomination.
Shok, which was the brainchild of the Leeds director, has just been shortlisted in the Best Short Film category at this year’s Academy Awards. However, the film would not have happened had he not found himself unexpectedly stranded in Kosovo in 2010.
“I’d flown out there to spend three days filming a commercial,” says 35-year-old Jamie. “But before I could fly home that Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name erupted, bringing air travel across much of Europe to a standstill. It was five weeks before I could catch a flight back, so I decided I might as well get to know the country a little better.
“I made so many new friends and learnt so much. When I came back to Leeds I knew there was a story to tell, but it had to be right.”
It took Jamie, who went to Ashville College in Harrogate, and fellow Leeds producers Harvey Ascott and Howard Dawson four years to complete the film, which is set during the bitter and bloody Kosovan war of the late 1990s and tells the story of two boys whose friendship is tested to the limit.
“We flew back out to Kosovo, hired out a bar and got everyone together to listen as the nominations were read out,” Jamie. said. “The Oscars are notoriously unpredictable, and hearing our film being called out was just incredible.” The team are flying out to Los Angeles ahead of the Oscar ceremony on February 28. “I think half of Kosovo will also be there as well,” adds Jamie.