THE IRISH OF 9/11 – A MORNING IN MANHATTAN
(2011) 47 Minutes
The cataclysmic events of September 11th 2001, when the Twin Towers of The World Trade Centre in New York were attacked by hijacked passenger aeroplanes, had repercussions not just for the families of the American victims but for those families and friends around the world, whose loved ones perished in this unprecedented tragedy, which claimed the lives of an estimated 3,000 people.
Ireland was not left unscathed as there were Irish victims recorded, not just in the towers themselves but also Irish fire-fighters and policemen killed on duty among the rescue services. Several Irish people, including parents with children, were actual passengers in the Boston originating hijacked aircraft.
Apart from specific and relevant archive footage, this heart breaking documentary features extensive interviews with both the families and friends of the Irish victims of the dastardly September 11th attacks in New York 10 years ago.
Their personal stories and feelings will resonate with viewers worldwide, such was the epoch defining nature of these events.
TITANIC – BORN IN BELFAST
(2011) 52 Minutes
The definitive story of the building of this magnificent ship includes interviews with people who saw the great vessel being built and launched and those whose lives it has touched in different ways.
It also revisits the slipway at the Harland & Wolff shipyard where, in 1911, 15,000 shipbuilders worked on the construction of the Titanic and its sister ship the Olympic.
It features an interview with Belfast-born film director Bill MacQuitty whose 1950 film A Night to Remember, first told the epic story of the Titanic disaster. Clips from this film are also included in this absorbing documentary about the ill-fated Titanic and the city where it was built.
The legacy of failure that haunted Belfast for the past century, following the Titanic disaster, has finally given way to a much more positive mentality, where the achievement of actually building such an engineering marvel is finally being recognised and celebrated, as this documentary confirms.
JIMMY MURAKAMI – NON ALIEN
(2010) 90 minutes & 58 minutes
Renowned Irish-based animator Jimmy T. Murakami’s credits as director include When the Wind Blows and The Snowman.
He has received accolades (Oscar nominations and doctorates) across the world but there is one dark chapter in his life that he has never revealed until recently, during the making of this documentary.
In 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour during World War 2, thousands of Japanese- American citizens like Jimmy (then eight years old) and his family were evacuated to a concentration camp called Tule Lake in the California desert, built specifically for this purpose.
On the farcical basis that this minority group was a threat to national security, Jimmy and his family, along with the many thousands of other Japanese American internees, were imprisoned for four years in the camp where they suffered various deprivations and where his young sister Sumiko died of leukaemia.
Jimmy, now in early retirement, decided to excavate this period of his life by creating a series of stunning paintings and illuminate his recollection of the evacuation of his family and life in a concentration camp as a young child.
Our film unfolds as Jimmy starts to paint these memories of his childhood and takes us through his decision to undertake one of the most difficult journeys of his life – a return to the Tule Lake Camp.
This documentary takes the viewer on a powerful journey with Jimmy, from his adopted country, Ireland where he has lived for nearly 40 years, through his Hollywood career and all the awards he has received, culminating in his painful return to the Tule Lake to confront his childhood and his ever-present anger with the American Government that
put him there.
THE WRITING IN THE SKY
(2010) 54 minutes
This is the story of a renowned writer and his place, of his horse, his dog and three thousand migrating barnacle geese.
The writer is Dermot Healy, an outstanding poet, playwright, novelist and autobiographer who is, according to Roddy Doyle, Ireland's greatest writer. The place is Ballyconnell, on the wild coast of Sligo, the dog is Tiny, the horse is Lucky, and the geese arrive from Greenland around October each year for a six-month stay.
Filmed over those six months, The Writing in the Sky is both a lyrical portrait of an artist and of a magnificent landscape and its inhabitants, human and animal. This film is testimony to the belief that the writer and the writing process is directly influenced by the environment in which one resides
The Irish in Hollywood
(2010) 96 minutes
The Irish may be a red hot commodity in Hollywood these days with stars of the calibre of Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Brendan Gleeson, Saoirse Ronan and Academy Award winner, Brenda Fricker, not forgetting Ireland’s leading film directors Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. However, these are merely the latest in a parade of Irish screen luminaries who have charmed and battled their way through a century of Hollywood history.
The Irish in Hollywood focuses on a cavalcade of legendary Irish
stars, directors, producers, designers, writers, entrepreneurs, villains and beloved heroes who, between them, made an immense impact on Hollywood’s first hundred years.
ON GOD’S MISSION
A History of the Irish Missionary Movement
(2010) 2 x 52 Minutes
This is the epic story of the thousands of Irish men and women who joined the ranks of missionary orders from their inception in the early 20th Century. Inspired by a potent mix of religious fervour and nationalist idealism, these missionaries changed the lives of millions of less fortunate people, through the provision of healthcare, education and humanitarian aid across Africa, Asia, South America and beyond.
Featuring extensive interview with Bob Geldof, President Mary McAleese, Tim Pat Coogan, President Peter Pinda of Tanzania and John O’Shea of Goal, On God’s Mission examines why the Irish joined the missions in such great numbers, what impact they had on the people to whom they dedicated their lives, and reveals how their work has significantly enhanced Ireland’s international reputation.
The impact and legacy of the Irish Missionary Movement cannot be underestimated and it’s origins, from its Inception in 1916, can be traced right up Ireland’s remarkable contemporary involvement in overseas humanitarian aid. On God’s Mission is an incredible story of how some of the country’s best and brightest individuals left Ireland far behind them and brought their skills, energy and entrepreneurial flair to those less fortunate in some of the most far flung and less developed parts of the world.
The missionaries are not above criticism. It has been argued that Irish priests and nuns were often culturally arrogant in their treatment of what they used to refer to as the pagan savage. Yet the overall legacy is a positive one both for Ireland and for the people these missionaries have helped and served. Their selfless efforts in the service of their religious beliefs are still both remembered and appreciated by those people and countries that benefited from their ministry.
(2009) 50 minutes
Ballybrando tells the story of the greatest Marlon Brando film never seen. When filming collapsed after ten days, the Hollywood hopes of Cork village Ballycotton were dashed and it marked the end of an Irish adventure for the movie legend.
Divine Rapture, a black comedy about miracles starring cinema legend Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Debra Winger and John Hurt began filming on July 10th 1995. The movie crashed just 10 days later, dashing the hopes of an entire village and breaking the heart of its ambitious young producer, Barry Navidi.
Ballybrando is the story of that monumental movie collapse. It is also the little known story of Marlon Brando’s brief, but heartfelt Irish adventure, where he described himself as feeling ‘more at home here than anywhere else in the world’. The film features interviews with the film’s producer Barry Navidi, director Thom Eberhardt and some stars from the film including John Hurt, Angeline Ball and Elaine Symons, who got her first break acting on the film as a 15 year old local Cork girl.
Ballycotton locals are central to the story, particularly Pat Swanwick, who was Marlon’s cook for the duration of his stay. They formed a close friendship and Marlon opened up to her with the problems and tragedy he had endured throughout his lifetime.
Local publican Sean McGrath remembers the festival-like atmosphere in the village and local potter Stephen Pearce spotted an opportunity to immortalise the film’s collapse with trademark Irish black humour by erecting a headstone in the village’s main street which read, “Divine Rapture Born 10th July 1996, died 23rd July 1996, RIP”.
The rich contrast of Hollywood-comes-to-town excitement and hard-nosed Hollywood failure are the film’s twin engines, with the
focus more firmly squared on the charm and nostalgia of the experience. When Navidi returns to Ballycotton almost 15 years
later with a DVD of the filmed material to screen in a local bar, it is a fitting end to a film which exudes effortless Irish charm.
Eddie Irvine: In the Footsteps of Blair Mayne
(2009) 59 minutes
Northern Ireland‟s famous Formula One racing legend, Eddie Irvine, goes in search of his hero, Paddy Blair Mayne, one of the founder members of the SAS and the most decorated soldier of World War 11.
Although he was born a decade after Mayne‟s untimely death in a car crash in 1955, Irvine refers to a number of coincidences that link the two men, i.e. born in the same small town of Newtownards, Co. Down, and the fact that a scholarship programme instituted in Blair Mayne‟s memory, ensured Irvine went to one of Northern Ireland‟s best schools. Although reputed to have been a legendary leader of men in combat situations, Blair “Paddy” Mayne remains an enigmatic figure. A British Lion rugby player, University boxing champion and lover of poetry, he was also a brawler and heavy drinker who was often insubordinate as a young soldier.
In an attempt to understand the man behind the legend, Eddie meets up with some of Blair Mayne‟s surviving SAS colleagues, who describe him in glowing terms as a most decisive man of action. Col. Tim Collins, best known for his stirring address to British Forces in the Iraq war, provides his insights into Paddy Mayne as a fighting hero. Eddie Also visits Cairo and El Alemain, the setting for some of Mayne‟s most heroic and fearless exploits, where the SAS helped turn Hitler‟s desert war in the Allies favour.
However, his dark side is also touched on by Prof. Geoffrey Beattie who attempts a psychological profile of this war hero who failed to transfer successfully to civilian life after the war.
From the picturesque hillside above Newtownards where Mayne loved to walk alone, to the wartime battlefields of North Africa, and the bustling city of Cairo, Irvine attempts to unravel the complexities in the character of „Colonel Paddy‟.
Mixing contemporary video footage, dramatic reconstruction, wartime archive, and previously unseen family photographs, this film brings Irvine – and the audience – closer to an understanding of Blair Mayne, the man described as the most clinical killing machine of two world wars.
THE REDLEGS - 1 X 52 MINS (2009)
BRIAN COX’S JUTE JOURNEY
(2009) 59 minutes H.D.
Internationally renowned film and stage actor Brian Cox, (The Bourne Identity, Troy, The Bourne Supremacy and XMen) travels into his own family’s past and that of the Scottish employees of the jute mills that once controlled the business life of his native Dundee, employing over 15,000 people there at one time.
The Jute trade, making hessian from India’s golden fibre, dominated Dundee for over a century, linking it with Calcutta in Bengal, India. Brian’s parents used to work in the jute factories in their home town until that life became too hard. Ultimately, the jute mills were relocated to Calcutta in India, and the experienced Dundee workers emigrated there to run these factories.
Through his meetings with some of the retired jute workers in Scotland, and his visit to the existing mills in Calcutta and the use of relevant archive footage, Brian is able to trace the strong connection that historically existed between these two municipalities.
He also lays bare the privileged life that the Jute Wallahs and their expatriate Scottish workers enjoyed in India, at the expense of the native workers. While much of the management talent and machinery was imported from Dundee initially, indigenisation inevitably occurred and the jute industry, once central to Bengal’s economy is still one of the largest industries in that province to this day.
In a strange way, Brian identifies with the restlessness of these migrant managers who ran the Indian jute factories for their Scottish bosses in the pre and post war era. This same spirit caused him to leave Dundee for London to further his acting ambitions.
Enthusiastically presented by Brian Cox, Jute Journey is literally a tale of two cities, a fascinating look at an industry that had once sustained a town like Dundee and that ultimately became an early post colonial casualty to the now familiar rationale of cheaper labour and globalisation.
MARY WARD - Dangerous Visionary (2009) 45 mins
SHOW ME THE MUMMY (2009) 59 mins
GABRIEL BYRNE – STORIES FROM HOME
(2008) 76 minutes and 58 minutes
Over the last thirty years, Irish born Gabriel Byrne has established himself as one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation. Leading U.S. film critic David Thompson has described Gabriel’s performance in Miller’s Crossing as one of the great performances in American cinema.
Off set, Gabriel has been relatively camera shy, avoiding the limelight and preferring to let the public judge him purely by his acting skills. Now, this talented man provides a very intimate and candidly honest profile of some of the people and events that have shaped his life to date.
In the opening sequence of Stories from Home, we see Gabriel bumping into a lady he used to live near. She warmly asks how he’s been doing and encourages him to visit – but Gabriel just seems at a remove. It is a very evocative opening to a documentary that is searing in the intimacy afforded by the subject.
Throughout this film, Gabriel does not provide glib Hollywoodesque answers to satisfy the viewers curiosity as to how he has transcended his modest
upbringing, to reach the upper regions of his chosen profession.
Rather his reflective and considered contributions throughout the film,
indicate a rare but articulate intelligence at work. This revealing film is a poetic and lyrical portrait of a man who, through both his life and career, exists in a self-imposed exile. The film manages to transcend the limitations of many such portraits, creating a truly engaging cinematic work. The topics covered in the documentary are deeply personal, and demonstrate a palpable sense of trust
between filmmaker and subject.
As the documentary unfolds in a collage of photographs, home video,
archive clips and interviews, we observe Gabriel the family man, in New York City, at his home in Brooklyn; on a visit to Dublin, the city of his birth and in behind-the-scenes footage on the set of the HBO series In Treatment.
All these elements successfully combine in this exceptional portrait, which seeks to understand the man whom we see in a candid moment at the opening scene, struggling to connect with the familiar. As he has already proved in his earlier book, Pictures In My Head, Gabriel Byrne is a man with a keen ear for dialogue and some excellent self deprecating stories.
The ultimate success of Stories from Home is that it brings the privileged viewers closer to this quiet, charismatic, ruminative man, than has previously been allowed.
Ireland’s Extraordinary Cricket World Cup 2007
(2008) 52 minutes
Take a farmer, a delivery driver, a civil servant, a teacher, a postman and send these part-timers into battle against the greatest cricketing nations of the world, all of whom field full-time professional teams.
Notwithstanding such disadvantages, these minnows upset the form book by surprising the more fancied national teams, are subsequently questioned by police in a murder investigation, and then discovered that the long awaited power sharing peace agreement has been brokered in their native Ireland.
This had significant relevance to the multi denominational Irish team, another chapter in the extraordinary adventure that befell these plucky Irish cricket team underdogs, as they created a World Cup to remember in the cricket crazy Caribbean. With key match highlights, exclusive behind the scenes footage and interviews with players and key officials, this film captures the drama of their participation in the last 16 World Cup tournament. This part-time teams’ shock victories over Bangladesh then on St. Patrick's Day against giants Pakistan, and the mysterious death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer who was staying at their hotel., made their involvement in the competition truly extraordinary.
Cheered on by their Blarney Army supporters, Breaking Boundaries encapsulates heroic themes of the outsider winning against the odds, national unity, and international intrigue.
What the papers said:
This is "an immense story, inspirational both in the tale and the manner of its telling". Spin Magazine.
''This film is an absolute triumph, bringing you on a true emotional journey with the band of brothers behind one of Ireland's greatest and most unlikely sporting success stories.'' Demelza de Burca, Irish Daily Mirror
Even non-Cricket fans will be bowled over... Unforgettable. Sunday Times A refreshingly honest, heartfelt film. BBC 5 Live
EXILE IN HELL
(2008) 52 minutes
Real Life Cannibalism in the Colonies
In July 1824, Alexander Pearce, a transported convict from Co. Monaghan in Ireland, became the only man ever to be sentenced to death and hanged in Australia for the crime of cannibalism.
Exile in Hell is the graphic account of how this poor miscreant came to his sad and sorry demise. His role in one of the most barbarous incidents in Colonial history so shocked contemporary society, that his name still lives on in infamy.
Pearce was originally transported from Ireland to Van Diemen’s Land (now called Tasmania) in 1819 at the age of 27, for the theft of 6 pairs of shoes. However, when he continued to offend over the next three years, he was sent to the notorious penal colony at Maquarie Harbour, in a most remote and inhospitable part of the penal colony.
It was here that, in September 1822, he organised his first escape attempt, along with seven other convicts. Escaping through territory that to this day remains unexplored, they had little idea of the hazards and suffering that awaited them in that unforgiving terrain. What started as an ill-conceived adventure became a horrific tale of survival and cannibalism. Forty nine days later, only one man, Alexander Pearce, emerged from the wilderness. Such was the incredulity with which his confession of murder and cannibalism was received by the authorities, that Pearce was subsequently sent back to serve out his sentence at Macquarie Harbour’s Penal Colony.
Within a year, Pearce made his second ill-fated escape attempt, along with a more recently arrived convict, Thomas Cox. This unfortunate man ultimately fell foul of Pearce, who, when he was recaptured this time was incriminatingly found to be in possession of some of Cox’s half eaten body parts. This time the full rigours of the law were imposed and on July 19, 1824 Alexander Pearce, Convict 102, kept his scheduled appointment with the Hobart Town hangman. The notoriety of his actions were such, however, as to ensure his future infamy in that community’s folk memory.
Using highly evocative recreations, director, Barrie Dowdall’s powerful and engrossing film, Exile in Hell, is a grim and gory study of how hunger, hardship and deprivation can cause men to abandon the basic rules of civilisation by which we live, to ensure their own survival.
Cromwell: God’s Executioner (2008) 2 x 52 minute HD docudrama
In this highly ambitious new docudrama series, the great nemesis of Irish history: Oliver Cromwell is given the historical revisionism treatment in terms of his campaign of war in Ireland from 1649 to 1653, with his New Model Army, one of the most bleak and brutal eras in the country’s history.
Starring Owen Roe as Oliver Cromwell, Declan Conlon as Hugh Dubh O’Neill and Catherine Walker as Elizabeth Price, Cromwell in Ireland is directed by two-time IFTA winning director Maurice Sweeney and presented by leading historian Dr Micheál O’Siochrá. This mini-series consolidates O’Siochrá’s fascinating take on a crucial time in Irish history.
An estimated 500,000 Irish people died from war, plague and famine during Cromwell’s military campaign, making it one of the greatest catastrophes ever to befall the country. But strikingly, Micheál reveals how “God’s Englishman” helped to lay the foundations for the modern Ireland that we know today, by inadvertently playing a key role in the development of Irish nationalism. The series also explores how Ireland became the testing ground for Britain’s treatment of it’s North American colonies.
Many see Oliver Cromwell as a champion of modern democracy, the man who executed a tyrannical king 140 years before the French Revolution. He was a military genius, the father of the modern army, and he influenced everyone from Napoleon to Vladimir Lenin. For others he was a despot, militarily naive and morally corrupt. For the Irish who suffered under his oppressive regime, he was a zealous mass murderer, guilty of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing, all perpetrated as God’s Executioner.
Shot on High-Definition, large-scale dramatic reconstructions are combined with ground-breaking CGI to recreate the set piece sieges and battles of Cromwell’s ruthless campaign, that shaped Irish history for centuries to come. Owen Roe as Oliver Cromwell gives an emotional performance that does much to humanize the man.
Combining drama and action with a poignant reflection on the horrors of war, this is a unique take on a man who has cast a dark shadow on the bloodstained backdrop of history.
Exploring the human cost of war, the violent impact of ethnic conflict on a ravaged population, Cromwell : God’s Executioner has a stark relevance today
MACGILL CHILD OF THE DEAD END
(2008) 75 Minutes
This feature documentary tells the extraordinary life story of Donegal born Patrick MacGill (1889-1963) who was a journalist, dramatist, screen writer, poet and novelist, nicknamed The Navvy Poet because of his early career as a labourer before he began writing.
Born in 1889 into crushing poverty in Donegal in the west of Ireland, MacGill went on to become one of Ireland’s most successful authors. His autobiographical novels, penned in Scotland and hugely popular at the time, paint a vibrant picture of the life of the navvy, the labourer and the whore, “the outcasts of a mighty industrial society”. MacGill lived the life of a navvy in the Scottish highlands and in his writing fact and fiction, social report and love story mingle. We follow his rags to riches story as he fashions a career as a writer against the backdrop of a society in turmoil.
MacGill witnessed some of the great events of the twentieth century – the rise of the Labour Movement, the Great War in which he served with the London Irish Rifles and the Great Depression. His experience mirrored that of many Irish people during this period - grinding rural poverty, migratory labour, a shift to the English language, national and social awakening, and the ever present reality of emigration. It was his writing of reportage literally from the trenches or from the perspective of the oppressed man in the street that gave him currency in the society of the day.
MacGill’s story is marvellously pieced together from elements of the author’s letters, novels and stories. Oscar nominated Irish actor Stephen Rea plays MacGill as an old man marooned in the US and ruefully looking back on his life. Rea’s nuanced narration draws us into MacGill’s story and lifts the film beyond a conventional television arts documentary. Newcomer Cian Bell gives an affecting performance of the young MacGill capturing perfectly a young writer finding his creative voice.
Child of the Dead End employs a rich seam of archive photography and film, together with live action drama and striking cinematography of the landscape of Donegal and the Scottish Highlands. Director Desmond Bell unearthed a rich corpus of Irish, Scottish and American archive material to illuminate Mac Gill’s story and stitch it into a broader narrative of migration, class, aspiration and social change. It all combines brilliantly to recreate the amazing career ark of another of Ireland’s emigrant writers of renown.
Patrick McGill, author and failed screen writer, witness and fabulist, died in poverty in Florida in 1963. His book Children of the Dead End (1913) is considered a classic of 20th century literature.
THE IRISH TOWNSHIP (2008) 51 MINS
In 2001, on a holiday visit to South Africa, 40-year-old Irish millionaire property developer and philanthropist Niall Mellon first experiences the atrocious living conditions in Cape Town townships.
Rather than ignore it, Niall became determined to do something about it. Severn years later he now heads up the largest provider of charity housing in South Africa and is at the centre of one of the most ambitious, successful and admired charity projects in the world.
This absorbing film tells the extrodinary story of1380 volunteers who travelled from both Ireland and other parts of the world in October 2007 and in one week built over 200 house in the township of Freedom Park, Cape Town. From every corner of Ireland they came and poured into one of the most underprevilaged and crime-ridden communities in South Africa.
Male and female, young and old builders, carpenters, hairdressers, accountants, plasters, solicitors, project leaders, housewives and even chief exectutives rolled up their sleeves bonded as a family and gave up their time and energy to improve the living conditions of the local population.
Forming an unlikely army, this passionate group were obliged to raise over $5000 each for the privelage of partcipating in the project and to sweat and toil in one of Cape Towns most deprived slums and support Niall Mellon Township Trust. The trust has now grown from first building 75 houses a year (in 2003) and has transformed the lives of hundreds of families in a city, where hundreds of thousands of people live in abject poverty in self built shacks.
In 2007 the NMTT built a total of 5000 houses throughout South Africa.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND THE WHITE NEGRO
(2008) 52 minutes
This film tells the story of escaped slave and African-American icon Frederick Douglass, the 19th century human rights activist and abolitionist.
In 1845 he sought refuge and found equality and respect in famine-ravaged Ireland, where he also raised much of the money needed to ultimately buy his freedom back at home.
Here he met with the M.P. Daniel O’Connell, whose efforts for Catholic Emancipation were an inspiration to him. The film not only demonstrates the powerful effect Ireland had on Douglass but also contrasts this with the turbulent relationship between African America and Irish America in general, which he later experienced in his mother country.
It climaxes with the American Civil War and the tragedy of the New York Draft Riot of 1863, where the Irish went on the rampage killing African Americans indiscriminately.
The film is about the race issue then and today and highlights the constant need for vigilance in the fight against any system that supports, or is reliant upon, segregation or unfair treatment based on skin colour, creed, or sex. Douglass ultimately was recognised as the leading black thinker of his age and became the first African-American presidential nominee.
STRICTLY BACKGROUND (2007) 82 & 53 Mins
THE HISTORY OF DEVIL (2007) 52 Mins
Aka THE UNDERTAKING
(2007) 70 minutes and 52 minutes
An elegant, elegiac film on Thomas Lynch, whose family-run funeral parlour business provided Oscar winning writer Alan Ball, himself a self-confessed fan of Lynch’s work, with the key to writing the hit HBO series Six Feet Under.
Three generations of Lynchs work in the chain of Michigan funeral homes set up by Lynch’s father. But what marks Thomas out from the rest of the brood is that he is also a renowned poet and essayist, whose work has won the prestigious American Book Award and has been in the final shortlist for the National Book Award, one of the most eminent literary prizes in the United States.
Hailed by the New York Times as a cross between Garrison Keiller and William Butler Yeats, Lynch’s writing is noted for its thoughtfulness and dark humour and this film is shot through with the same acumen, combined with a sharp sense of the absurd. The film is part manifesto, part memoir. Lynch narrates the documentary in his soft melodic baritone, expounding on what death and the business of dying can teach the living.
His approach to mortality is never sentimental and far from clinical. He sees in each individual he buries, a history – a friend who died too early, a suicide which shouldn’t have happened, a burial which took place decades after the death.
This is interspersed with a history of the Lynch clan itself. Thomas describes his own life starting from the moment he saw his first dead body when his father took him into work one Saturday as a 10 year-old. Of Irish descent, he also goes beyond his own generation to his grandfather’s ancestral village on the west coast of Ireland.
Here he spends time in a cottage left to him by a distant cousin. Interwoven with tales of others are accounts of crises in his own life; the divorce that left him bringing up four children on his own; and his decision 20 years ago to join Alcoholics Anonymous.
Director Cathal Black’s documentary is atmospherically shot, combining family photographs and home movies with reconstructions and actuality footage which adds up to a lucid, entertaining and ultimately life-affirming take on death and what comes before and after.
Lynch’s unsentimental and stoical philosophy pervades this very moving film, leaving the viewer to understand that life is not worth taking too seriously. For him, in truth, it is only through dealing with death that we can get on with the business of living.
George Best Remembered
(2006) 45 minutes
George Best died in November 2005, just 6 months short of his 60th birthday. The subsequent outpouring of communal grief and emotion may have surprised many people but proved conclusively how much he was admired and respected by people everywhere.
Now, for the first time, George’s father, Dickie, is prepared to tell his story – giving a unique and remarkable insight into his son’s journey from childhood to sporting hero to shambling drunk. This will be the real George Best story – shedding light on the truth behind the lurid tabloid tales.
With access to unseen photographs and memorabilia, this film will give Dickie, a wonderful raconteur, and his daughter and son-in-law, the opportunity to give a family’s perspective on one of the rarest and most precious footballing talents ever seen, and one of the sports first true international celebrities.
NED KELLY – The True Story
(2004) 52 minutes
Ned Kelly, the Australian bushranger and outlaw, has gone down in history as one of Australia’s great folk heroes, the subject of numerous films (one of the first black and white features), ballads and books.
However, commentators have been divided in the century and a quarter since his death, as to whether he was a martyred hero, a criminal and murderer or the leader of a failed grass roots Republican movement.
Born to poor Irish immigrant parents in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1856, Ned was 12 when his father, John, died and, leaving school, he became the family breadwinner. The Kelly family’s relationship with the local police was never good and deteriorated drastically in subsequent years.
Ned himself served 3 years in jail, before he was 20, on a charge of horse stealing. Determined not to do time again, Ned, his younger brother Dan and two friends became the notorious Kelly Gang who shot policemen and robbed banks and led the police a merry dance for two years. Finally, in 1880 came the infamous shoot out in Glenrowan which left all the Kelly Gang but Ned dead.
Using archive photos, historical records and film clips from both the original silent film and the more recent Heath Ledger biopic, and contributions from Irish and Australian writers and historians, Ned Kelly – The True Story, goes a long way to explaining why this man’s notoriety, which should have ended with his execution at age 25 in 1880, has lived on in Australian folk memory and
created the legendary internationally recognised charismatic character that he has become.
JFK: Breaking the News
(2003) 56 minutes
Examines four days in November 1963, that changed the world –-
and journalism forever.
Following the traumatic events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 23, 1963, American broadcast journalists broke new ground as they kept the nation and the world up to date on a rapidly evolving story.
With the world media focused on Dallas, journalists there were challenged to separate fact from fiction – sometimes taking only seconds to make critical decisions about what to report. 40 years after those tragic events, JFK: Breaking the News tells, for the first time, the story of these men and women who shaped America’s vision of itself at a critical moment in U.S. history.
Narrated by multi-award-winning newscaster Jane Pauley, this documentary draws on first-hand accounts from the reporters and photographers who witnessed these shocking events in Dallas, along with unique and rarely seen archival broadcast coverage, amateur films and contemporary accounts and images from Texas newspapers.
On November 22, 1963, tens of thousands of citizens and dozens of members of the press saw President Kennedy’s motorcade weave slowly through downtown Dallas. Moments later, the President’s assassination would change their country and the medium of television forever.
After those fatal shots were fired, a stunned world would make television its primary source of breaking news.
Dallas journalists found themselves delivering a gut-wrenching story to the American public and ultimately to TV viewers worldwide – all anxious for accurate information to curtail their fearful imaginations. Pushing primitive technology to its limits just to get the facts out, these reporters found little time to acknowledge their own emotions.
Autism: Life Amongst Strangers
Autism: Life Amongst Strangers is a documentary that looks at this little understood and rapidly increasing disability.
The Henderson family’s youngest child has autism. Dale Henderson acted like any other child until he was about 18 months old. Then he began a slow withdrawal into himself. He stopped interacting and started to do bizarre things. It was another few years of trekking around doctors and specialists before Dale was diagnosed with autism.
This moving documentary also features three adults with Asperger's Syndrome, a milder form of autism. One of these is Jen, who discovered she was autistic at the age of 42. She went to a lecture on Asperger's Syndrome and was amazed to hear herself being described.
We also meet Temple Grandin, who is the subject of Oliver Sak's famous essay An Anthropologist on Mars. Incredibly, Grandin has overcome her disability and now leads a satisfying life.
Escape From Antarctica - In search Of Shackleton
(1997) 52 minutes
A Travel Diary of the Historic Irish Antarctic Adventure. This one hour documentary films tells the story of the most famous chapter in the history of exploration, as recreated by an Irish team of adventures who travelled to the Antarctic in the Spring of 1997.
These climbers and sailors retraced the epic journey of two great Irish-born explores - Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean, who travelled to and barely survived their Antarctic expeditions in the years 1914 and 1915.
The 1997 Antarctic Adventure involved travelling to and crossing the frozen Southern Continent. On this perilous journey , they were obliged to undertake many hazardous activities, including trekking and climbing on uninhabited islands, making the dangerous 800 mile small-boat journey to South Georgia and ultimately climbing across South Georgia to Shakleton's final resting place.
This absorbing programme combines the modern adventure with the original story of Shackleton and Crean. The film recreates the original explorations through the use of a stunning collection of photographs and diaries which survived the earlier expeditions. Quotes are also made from Shackleton's book of the journey, which became an international best seller on publication.
The 1997 expedition team, lead by Frank Nugent and Paddy Barry believe that Shackleton and Crean are unsung heroes. Their hope is that through this their reenactment of the original expedition, the scale of that task and the epic nature of that first journey will throw their achievements into greater perspective, causing them to be better appreciated among the pantheon of world explorers. Each of these adventures, the original and the latest one, will undoubtedly capture the imagination of TV audiences worldwide, wherever Escape From Antarctica is broadcast.