The first Bronze Torcs for Excellence have been awarded at The Celtic Media Festival yesterday in Derry. The awards celebrate the very best of film, television, radio and digital media to emerge from within the Celtic diaspora within the last year. Today’s ceremony was presented by RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan, chair of the international jury.
The Bronze Torc for Factual Series went to Misha Films and RTÉ for BEHIND THE WALLS. The two-part documentary charts the history of Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals, exploring how Ireland, during the middle decades of the last century came to keep more of its people per capita in mental hospitals than anywhere else in the world. Accepting the award, Sheila Ahern dedicated the win to the memory of the programme’s producer Mary Raftery who died in January.
In the Factual Single category, the international jury chose WONDERLAND: THE MEN WHO WON’T STOP MARCHING, Alison Millar’s unflinching documentary on Loyalist culture on the Shankill Road for BBC Northern Ireland. Millar spent four months with the men of the famous marching bands unearthing a mixture of entrenched prejudice, relief that the troubles are over, nostalgia for the days of paramilitary discipline, and a resistance to talking about the past.
PASSION IN PORT TALBOT…IT HAS BEGUN won the award in the Arts category. Produced by Prospect and BBC Cymru Wales, the film captures the highlights of the three day re-enactment in Port Talbot of Jesus’ journey to the cross, starring Michael Sheen and 1000 members of the community. The play includes suicide bombers, mass public protest, ghostly visions, and features a guest appearance from Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers.
In the Entertainment category, THE SAVAGE EYE by Blinder Films for RTÉ triumphed. The fake anthropological documentary offers a satirical and often surreal examination of subjects close to the hearts of the Irish people. The series deals with issues that are provocative and divisive, and lifts a mirror to those parts of our society that we may not like to admit exist, but at all times in a savagely funny manner. The result is a brave, cutting edge comedy series that is uniquely Irish, but with broad, universal appeal.
Other Bronze Torcs for Excellence presented today included Education to Scotland’s media co-op for MIKEY AND JOOLS KEEP SAFE and Sport to Green Bay Media and BBCCymru Wales for THE LIONS ’71.
The 33rd annual Celtic Media Festival opened today with the premiere of DERRY ON SCREEN a specially commissioned film celebrating the Maiden City and presented by acclaimed Derry actress Bronagh Gallagher.
The three day event sees some of the most influential names from the broadcasting and film industries gather at The Playhouse Theatre and venues across the city.
Thursday’s programme includes the keynote address delivered by Peter Johnston, Director of BBC Northern Ireland and Reality Bites, a debate exploring the ethics of the observational documentary chaired by RTÉ’s Steve Carson and featuring local journalist Eamon McCann and the producers of BBC Scotland’s THE SCHEME and BBC NI’s THE ESTATE.
Chairman of the Celtic Media Festival, Dòmhnall Caimbeul, said:
“The Festival has gotten off to a great start and we’re truly excited at the talent, creativity and innovation on show. As ever, the award shortlist was especially strong, but the winners are a fantastic representation of the work which has emerged from the Celtic nations over the past year.”
For further information on this year’s programme for The Celtic Media Festival, please visit: www.celticmediafestival.co.uk.