Darren Cavanagh chats with Jasmine


Jasmine Reed The Author: What inspired you to create “Ex-Dominatrix a true story”?

Darren Cavanagh: The film has actually taken 7 years to make and filming started in Antwerp, Europe in 2010. Ira whose life story the film is about, was a close friend and we had done many photography projects together and discussed making a documentary about her extraordinary life and it’s many outrageous adventures. Then a tragic incident occurred in 2010 that changed the course of Ira’s life in ways she could never have imagined. This then became the main driving force behind making the film and to tell Ira’s side of the story. However, the film is also about Ira’s entire life and is an untold woman’s story in a world rarely seen in film.

Jasmine Reed The Author: How do you recruit actors?

Darren Cavanagh: I love fictional films and I admire the work of actors greatly. However, I enjoy the process of making documentary films rather then working with trained actors. I am drawn to the truth in real life stories. I find it much more appealing and challenging to create an engaging story within life itself. Warts and all, so to speak. Luckily in “Ex-Dominatrix”, Ira is a natural in front of the camera. It is rare to find such “real people” who are comfortable, let alone entertaining in a full feature length film. I like to meet as many interesting and inspiring people as possible. We refer to those closest to us in life so it’s good practice to surround yourself with mentors, teachers or people that inspire you and have an interesting take on life. I’m not a fan of living in my comfort zone. I don’t really grow as an artist if I live there. Encourage these people to tell their own stories and see if they resonate with the truth, drama and honesty.



Jasmine Reed The Author: Which locations did you use for filming?

Darren Cavanagh: We filmed the majority of footage in Antwerp, Belgium where Ira used to live. As well as Goa India, London, Glastonbury, Amsterdam and Brussels. I wanted to create a deliberate contrast in the story, which starts in the cold, stark European locations in the first half of the film. This is where Ira grew up and became Europe’s most popular dominatrix. In contrast, to warmer more tropical locations in the second half of the film. This is where Ira goes through a major life transformation. I think the film has a strong balance by having both and shows Ira’s overall journey from her dark deviant past to a lighter more spiritual future.

Jasmine Reed The Author: What are your goals for the future?

Darren Cavanagh: I feel “Ex-Dominatrix a true story” is an essential word-of-mouth film and needs the audience to discover it on their own and appreciate it for what it is. I produced it independently and it was the biggest challenge in my life to complete it. I couldn’t have completed the film without the amazing support of all the contributors who gave willings to the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign, friends, family, all the crew and everyone who appeared in the film, and told their side of the Ira’s story so honestly. My biggest thanks goes to Ira and her family. I hope the film finds the audience it deserves and makes enough money to pay for its creation and gives me enough to invest in my next project. I promise this one will not take 7 years to make and is about mindfulness, being a Vegan in our meat eating society and bigger more pressing issues facing us as a species on this fragile planet today.

Jasmine Reed The Author: Any advice to new filmmakers?

Darren Cavanagh: Never give up on your vision, values and dreams for creating that passion project that calls you from a place not based on your ego or your bank balance. Make a living creating films for sure, but make it count in a world overwhelmed by too much generic and violent content. Oh, and make sure you have a solid support team in place to help you create that vision. It is still one of the most rewarding collaborative processes in the world today.















Jasmine Reed The Author is Editor-in-Chief of 716 Live and an independent job recruiter. To collaborate with 716 Live, email jasmine@716live.com. Send your resume to inez1270@gmail.com to get matched to jobs worldwide! Thanks for reading. 🙂