Short Film Report: ‘Aonrú’

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Gareth Thornton dropped along to the Dublin premiere of Dominic de Vere’s short film Aonru – an exploration of Cape Clear Island, West Cork and the extinction of its indigenous fishing industry.

 

On Saturday, 27th June 2015, the IFI hosted the Dublin premiere of Dominic de Vere’s short film Aonrú – a wistful ode to the West Cork island of Cape Clear. The film explores the plight of the island’s inhabitants – a people literally on the margins of Ireland – as they face the demise of the fishing industry that sustained them and the erosion of their community.

The  filmmaker was joined at the premiere by the film’s producer Jason Gaffney – who was quick to credit Dominic with creating the beautiful visual texture of the film, which often slips out of its documentary clothing and reaches towards a more lyrical, impressionistic approach to its subject.

Speaking after the screening, Dominic told the audience, “I didn’t really want the film to become too like a TV documentary, too spoon-fed.” The result is a testament to the filmmaker’s style that skilfully brings out the sad, isolated beauty of the setting.

Jason Gaffney took the opportunity to thank those who had helped finance Aonrú via the ‘Fund it’ website, and also spoke of his desire to make the film as a means of giving a voice to some of those on the edge of society. “It’s so sad to see what has happened to the fishing industry on the island, and this was an opportunity to tell the story of the islanders, to have their voice heard and to let them have their say. Hopefully platforms like this will give them the opportunity to be heard more often.”

Shot over five days, Aonrú hears testimony from a number of sea-hardened fishermen, and the filmmakers spoke of their struggles with seasickness while filming in the Atlantic. “I was just throwing up,” said Dominic. “I would throw up while holding the camera, then feel OK, point the camera, hope for the best, and then throw up again.” Fortunately that suffering was not in vain, and Aonrú is sure to gather more critical acclaim as it continues on the festival circuit.

 

Directed by Dominic de Vere, produced by Jason Gaffney with sound design by Danny Crowley (Hunger, Control), Aonrú is co-funded by Bord Iascaigh Mhara and has been developed alongside Cork Screen Commission.

 

 

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