DIR: Frank Berry • PRO: Joanne O’Hagan
Ballymun Lullaby is a gentle heart-warming documentary centred on the inspirational music teacher Ron Cooney who teaches children music in the Ballymun Music Program. Composer Daragh O’Toole has composed a suite of original music and collobarates with some of Ron’s pupils, Tara, Wayne and Darren on the lyrics in preparation for a concert. The camera follows, often literally, Tara, Wayne and Darren as they talk about their community, concerts and the passion for music that Ron has given them.
This is a documentary as much about a local area and a community as it is about music. Among the talking head contributors is the Oscar-winner and Ballymun native Glen Hansard of ‘The Frames’ and ‘Once’.
Ron’s passion to help his community through music is an inspiration and tellingly at one point he says ‘it’s not about the music’ before going on to explain that it’s that look of pleasure that one of his pupils gets through music not the music itself that drives him on.
In a Q&A during a screening at last year’s Dublin International Film Festival chaired by another inspirational teacher, Vinny Murphy, Ballymun Lullaby was described as ‘a wonderful film from start to finish’. Director Frank Berry explained that he, along with Kevin Duffy, had made community videos on the area in 2003 and when they had visited a few years later they couldn’t believe how much the area had changed. So in February 2009 they started filming again, not sure of where it would lead. It lead to a packed Cinema 17 in Cineworld last Saturday evening at 6:30pm, producer of Ballymun Lullaby and CEO of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival Joanne O’Hagan led the tributes to all those who helped on the film.
There are frequent funny moments captured on camera and when asked why they chose to interview Tara, Wayne and Darren while they were walking, Frank Berry said that it helped to make them feel more relaxed and that by doing so the audience got see a lot of the new Ballymun in the background.
Asked what advice he would have for our current crop of politicians, Berry suggested that they ‘should watch Ballymun Lullaby and talk to Ron’.
Rated G (see IFCO website for details)
Ballymun Lullaby is released on 15th December 2011