Ruairí O’Brien BSC ISC couldn’t resist the unexpected opportunity to shoot Will Gilbey’s debut feature Jericho Ridge in icy Kosovo.

It’s a Thursday morning in early spring 2022, and cinematographer Ruairí O’Brien BSC ISC is prepping for a documentary that’s set to be shot in Norway. But with unexpected difficulties looming, O’Brien rings his agent, WPA’s Amber Thompson, to explain that there was a chance the project could be pushed back, or even fall apart.

“She told me not to worry, something had just come in for me – and would I be willing to go to Kosovo right away?” he remembers.

The prospect of going to the Balkan state, known for its turbulent past, immediately intrigues him. An hour later, he’s poring over a fast-paced script from the award-winning editor Will Gilbey, who is taking his first steps into feature directing. “It was a very tight, suspenseful read.”

The next day, he meets with Gilbey to share ideas and perspectives, and he’s quickly booked to shoot the project – Jericho Ridge – just over 24 hours after it first came on his radar. So is the whirlwind life of a DP!

“Will is incredibly energetic and enthusiastic, and he’s able to talk a mile a minute,” O’Brien says of his collaborator. “He had a really clear vision of what he wanted Jericho Ridge to be. It was written with budget in mind, so it seemed like it was actually achievable.”

The idea for Jericho Ridge, a police drama with echoes of ‘80s action classics like Die Hard, came to Gilbey on a walk with his family while his young son was having a tantrum. “The word ‘dispatch’ just popped into my mind, and I thought that trying to tell a story in a police station about a character manning the dispatch radio whilst everything around her is chaos was very appealing,” he explains.

Read the full interview here in British Cinematographer.