Interview: Aoife Kelleher, director of ‘Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village’

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Stephen Porzio sat down with Aoife Kelleher to chat about her latest documentary, Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village, which explores the big question of faith, in the small Irish village of Knock.

Knock was declared a Marian Shrine after fifteen people in the village witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1879. Knock welcomes one million pilgrims annually.

 

There’s a been a wave of anti-Catholic films in recent memory, such as Doubt, Philomena, Mea Maxima Culpa and this year’s Oscar winning Spotlight. Although your film doesn’t shy away from the sex abuse scandals, it is, for the most part, a positive representation of Catholicism – would it be fair to say that?

I think it’s a complex film and I think multiple readings are there, depending on the viewer. Rather than it being a broad examination of Catholicism, it’s more an examination of Catholicism as a narrative by examining this one particular story that’s been handed from generation to generation and how it has influenced the village of Knock. In a sense, what it is looking at is what draws people to Catholicism and the solace that people find in a place like Knock. What brings them there – even if they have, as some of our contributors would, quite a complex relationship with the church itself. So, for me, it’s an observational film and my stance would be a neutral one. It’s about giving the people of Knock a chance to tell their story. And looking at what continues to draw people to the church even after the scandals of the 1990s. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that it’s positive, more so that it is looking at what people find positive there.

 

It is very observational in the fact that there is a vast array of opinions on Catholicism within the film, for example, there is the man who works in the giftshop who uses Old Testament language of burning in hell for all eternity. While almost immediately afterwards there is a scene with the younger priest who preaches love and opposes the notion that religion is all about guilt. Was it important for you to have these opposing opinions on your subject matter?

What was important is that we show the full spectrum of opinions that exist in Knock. Obviously, someone who is vehemently opposed to the Catholic Church and someone who has absolutely no belief in the apparition whatsoever is not going to be found at Knock Shrine. There is a limit to that spectrum of what you can show. But in showing all of the different shades of Catholicism, from the progressive to what some people might regard as more archaic, we are showing that faith and religion in Ireland is complex – and that people engage with it in different ways.  It was important to show the full spectrum of opinion there and to show that there isn’t one single form of Catholicism in Ireland.

 

The film address very complex themes such as faith, the commercialisation of religion and homophobia. Yet it still retains a certain lightness, was that difficult to achieve?

I think it’s very important that every documentary has moments of lightness. Where you have human beings going through their daily life, when you have human relationships, you’re always going to have moments of lightness and humour – that is the reality of Knock. You have people who are funny; people who are warm; people who are witty and people who are joyful. Of course it was important to reflect that in the film. Yes, the film tackles a topic as complex as religion, but there can still be a lightness to that examination.

 

A lot of that lightness comes from the talking heads in the documentary, who are so interesting. You could nearly make a movie about their lives. In particular, there is Father Richard Gibbons. Could you explain how he became involved and what it was like to work with him.

Father Gibbons is the parish priest and was one of the first people we approached when the possibility of making the documentary came up. He was involved in the film from day one essentially, as far as you can never gain access to a place like Knock unless you had the consent of the parish priest. He is central to the everyday life of the shrine. I’m sure he had some trepidation about it, as anyone would participating in a documentary but he was always so incredibly generous with his time. With any documentary, with any contributor, it’s an ongoing process of relationship-building and I think he understood what it was was I wanted to achieve.

 

I was struck by how cinematic the documentary looked, particularly the skyline shots of Knock and the basilica, which really give the documentary a sense of place

We were truly lucky to have an amazing drone cameraman, David Perry, who came on board with us and shot some really beautiful footage. I have worked with David before and it was a joy to spend time watching him on the monitor. What was extraordinary with the drone footage is you get to see how unique the landscape is on the West of Ireland. Sometimes it looks almost lunar.

 

2016 has yet again been a good year for Irish documentaries with the likes of Mom and Me, Atlantic and Bobby Sands released in cinemas. What do you think are the reasons behind this creative output?

I think Irish people are excellent storytellers and what is extraordinary about the majority of the films is that they are telling Irish stories to Irish audiences. There’s a greater interest in Irish documentary among Irish audiences. Also, I think the support of funders – in our case the BAI, RTE and the Film Board – is invaluable. It’s been an extraordinary few years for Irish documentary and what is brilliant is that there is a cinema-going audience that really anticipates the stories and will go and watch them.

 

Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village is currently in cinemas.

 

 

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Irish Film Review: Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village

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DIR: Aoife Kelleher • WRI: Rachel Lysaght 

It’s been a very good year for Irish documentaries. 2016 has already given us Atlantic – an eye-opening account of corruption within the fishing industry, Mom & Me – a touching ode to mother-son relationships and 66 Days – a film detailing Bobby Sands’ hunger strike. Adding to this impressive list is director Aoife Kelleher’s new movie Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village. Taking its title from headline in a British newspaper, the documentary examines the reported sightings of the Virgin Mary in Knock in 1879 and the effect they still have upon the community.

It’s an impressive work in the sense that it tackles very weighty and complex issues such as faith, the commercialisation of religion, the child-sex abuse scandals, abortion and homophobia while still retaining a certain lightness. The various talking heads within the documentary (all of different opinion in regards to religion) are for the most part engaging and warm presences. On top of this, Kelleher adds a gentle humour to the film, allowing it to breathe, while never sacrificing its serious exploration of issues. As a result, Strange Occurrences is a documentary which feels light while never making light of its subject matter.

The documentary’s complete lack of archival footage is to be commended. Every scene from the spectacle that is a New York St. Patrick’s Day parade to the gorgeous aerial drone footage of Knock has been shot specifically for the film. This not only creates a sense of authenticity, but also gives Strange Occurrences a cinematic touch that not many documentaries have, making it a pleasure to watch.

Kelleher has stated that the documentary is not pro or anti-Catholicism. Instead, its goal was to portray a community completely reliant upon a religion, both morally and financially, accurately. She accomplished her task with gusto creating one of the most engrossing documentaries of the year thus far.

Stephen Porzio

68 minutes
PG (See IFCO for details)

Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village is released 26th August 2016

Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village – Official Website 

 

 

 

 

 

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Irish Film Festival, Boston: Audio Interview with director Aoife Kelleher & producer Rachel Lysaght of ‘One Million Dubliners’

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The 15th Irish Film Festival, Boston took place over four days from 19 – 22 March  2015 at the Somerville Theatre, Davis Square. Alexis Sullivan, a student at Boston College, attended the festival and talked to some of the filmmakers who were there presenting their films.

In this podcast Alexis chats to the director Aoife Kelleher and producer Rachel Lysaght, whose award-winning documentary One Million Dubliners explores life, death and the afterlife through a journey of Glasnevin Cemetery in North Dublin.

 

“All these here once walked around Dublin. Faithful departed. As you are now so once were we.”Ulysses, James Joyce

 

One Million Dubliners screened on Friday, 20th March 2015 at the Irish Film Festival, Boston.

 

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Irish Film Festival, Boston: Audio Interview with Niall Heery, writer/director of Gold

Irish Film Festival, Boston: Audio Interview with Dawn Morrissey, Festival Director

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One Million Dubliners

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DIR: Aoife Kelleher • PRO: Rachel Lysaght • DOP: Cathal Watters • ED: Emer Reynolds • MUS: Hugh Rodgers, Ray Harman

One Million Dubliners, is a documentary film centred in Glasnevin Cemetery – sometimes known as ‘the dead centre of Dublin’. Glasnevin Cemetery has been an iconic feature of Dublin for generations. In recent years visitor numbers have increased significantly due to the development of the heritage aspect of the cemetery.

The film takes its title from the fact that over one million people are buried there –  nearly as many Dubliners as are above ground. Among the dead are many famous names including a roll call of those associated with the War of Independence and the Fenian era. I expected the film might be dealing with some of those famed underground residents. And it does. But the film is much more about the living than the dead.

It is particularly about people working there. The people who directly or indirectly deal with the needs of the many dead in their care as well as their visitors. We also meet some regular visitors who travel from afar to visit the grave of a person they have never met.

The film delves deeply into the minutiae of the daily life of the cemetery through interviews with various staff members. Chief among these is Shane, an engaging tour guide who in many ways acts as our guide through the film.

Shane moves seamlessly from witty guided tours with groups of school children and adults to a more reflective mood as he speaks about his father. Many years ago, I went on historical tours of Dublin with Shane’s father Éamon Mac Thomáis who was a tour guide before him, as they say and who is now buried in Glasnevin himself.

Other employees share their own perspective not just on the job, but on life and death, including a couple of interesting grave diggers. Management staff with diverse roles all seem to share a mixture of passion and reverence for the cemetery. The crematorium attendant gives a detailed demonstration of his role and the process of cremation – perhaps more detailed than we might have expected.

The Florists made interesting revelations about the two graves which attract the most flowers and visitors. One perhaps predictable – not a Dubliner as it happens, the other maybe not as predictable. And the Manager who interviewed the florist for the job had an interesting revelation to make in his own right.

An engaging aspect of the film was that the director sought the views of all of the Cemetery community about matter beyond their own role. They were probed about how that role affected their views on the afterlife – if such exists, and their own preferences in relation to cremation or burial. As might be expected, those views were divergent.

The film is in ways a meditation about the sensitive subject of death. There was a sense of the presence of the silent dead in the background as the camera gave us panoramic aerial shots of the cemetery sweeping across the countless grave stones.

I really liked the score composed by Hugh Rodgers & Ray Harman which was in tune with the mood of the film as was the lighting and photography by DOP Cathal Watters. On my way out of the screening, I overhead a discussion on the impressive nature and variety of the photography.

One Million Dubliners was not what I expected. It gave me a completely new perspective on a cemetery that I visit from time to time due to an interest in history and to see the graves of people I once knew. It is a reflective film which is much more than a documentary about the cemetery. The film and especially the conclusion will remain long with me.

 Brian O Tiomain

PG (See IFCO for details)

80 minutes

One Million Dubliners is released 31st October 2014

 

 

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One Million Dubliners – Review of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

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Stephen Totterdall reviews One Million Dubliners, Aoife Kelleher’s documentary about Glasnevin Cemetery, the final resting place of 1.5 million souls. One Million Dubliners screened at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

For a society that thinks so much about death, we say remarkably little about it. For every mystical platitude we spout, we subtract from our knowledge of death’s mundanities and practicalities. These details become the spine of One Million Dubliners, and offer us a far more profound analysis than any poet-philosopher’s approach could.

The film focuses on the inner workings of Glasnevin Cemetery. Its managerial process, methods of attaining revenue, grave planning, cremation clean-up. Then we watch how the cemetery’s narrative is produced. The guided tour, combined with an approach to publicity that takes into account the Michael Collins film amongst other things. There really is nothing romantic about it when you get close up. Yet at the same time it is these mundanities that produce something beautiful.

Like the opening pages of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, it is the mundane details that make up a death; and the life lived before it. The success of Knausgaard as a novelist comes largely from his insistence that he, a middle-class father living in a regional town, lives a life worth documenting. He doesn’t need to be a hero like Michael Collins. Simply by living his unsatisfying life, he is a part of the human experience; arguably moreso than those who, like Collins, have become mythologised.

While One Million Dubliners appears to initiate this approach to life, it is actually an early adopter of a wider society-wide shift in the way we perceive the world. New Sincerity and Authenticity rule. David Foster Wallace got there even earlier with his tale of bureaucratic meaning in The Pale King. Long seen as the mark of an unlived life, these small details in life; the new thinking argues; are the places where we live. Although many visitors come for the grave of Michael Collins, these visits provide revenue so that the cemetery can house its other 1.5 million residents.

When we first hear that the cemetery is designed to maximise the number of graves, we react with revulsion. It makes sense, obviously. But we tend to think of death in such mystical terms that to be confronted with such an ugly and capitalistic fact brings us a little too close. As the film goes on, we come to appreciate this closeness. It takes the pressure off. By confronting the physical reality rather than fobbing it off with platitudes, we come to see the connectedness of everyone. 1.5 million Dubliners, connected to each other through muck. “We’re just caretakers,” say the cemetery’s staff, “One day [We’ll] end up in Glasnevin Cemetery, too.”

Rarely has a film outperformed expectations to this degree. Its description is hardly enticing. But, like the small details of the cemetery, it catches you off guard and provides you with all you need in a film.

Click here for our coverage of Irish Film at the 26th Galway Film Fleadh  (8 – 13 July, 2014)

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The Pipe: Interview

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The Pipe

Aoife Kelleher talks to Risteard Ó Domhnaill, director of The Pipe, winner of Best Feature Documentary at this year’s Fleadh.

Completed in the year which has seen the largest marine oil spill in history, The Pipe, Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s brilliantly observed and provocative documentary, is a timely examination of the experiences of a small community as it comes up against the might of the petroleum industry. The film chronicles the struggles of the inhabitants of the maritime village of Rossport, Co. Mayo, as they seek to protect themselves and their livelihoods from the dangers posed by a proposed gas pipeline. In doing so, they find themselves pitted, not only against Shell, but also against the State, An Garda Síochána and, finally, against each other.

Filmed over three years, The Pipe follows the conflict as it moves from the fields and waters around Rossport, to the Department of the Marine & Natural Resources in Dublin and, ultimately, to the European Parliament. Keenly aware of how the protesters have been portrayed by the news media, Ó Domhnaill allows the stories of these farmers, teachers and fishermen to unfold without any recourse to onscreen narration. In the process, he grants the people of this abandoned and divided community the opportunity to articulate their own plight.

Screened at the Galway Film Fleadh, where it won the award for Best Feature Documentary, and, more recently, at the Toronto Film Festival, The Pipe has consistently won over audiences with its depiction of a modern-day David vs. Goliath.

Tell me a bit about your background and the background to the documentary.

I got into filmmaking by accident. I did Theoretical Physics at Trinity and then I did a degree in Irish and History in Galway. I worked as a substitute teacher for a year in Dublin – just as a stopgap – and did a night course in Film and Television in Griffith College. Towards the end of that, I got work experience in Loopline doing assistant editing and then got a job as a production assistant on a TG4 arts programme called Soiscéal Padraig. I worked there for a year before I got the opportunity to move back to Mayo. Mayo is my second home, really – my mother is from Mayo, my uncle lives there and I would have spent all my summers there as a child. We’d go to Mayo and spend the summer on my uncle’s farm, which is very close to the gas.

So I moved back to Mayo, lived with my uncle and worked with Gillian Marsh. That was in 2006, after the Rossport 5 were released from jail. Then, in May 2006, the State sent in about 200 guards to break a blockade by the local community of the Shell refinery at Ballinaboy. Out of pure curiosity, because it was only down the road, I started filming and, because the place was very isolated and it’s hard to get a news crew up there, I was able to send footage to TG4 and RTÉ News and get a fee for it. It was just a handy little earner – I wasn’t really trying to make a documentary about the gas. This went on for a few weeks and one thing that struck me was that these people weren’t lunatics, they were just normal people who wanted to protect their community and had genuine fears for their safety. I thought the media was turning their story from one of farmers and fishermen versus an oil company into a story of ideologically damaged people who had a problem with the State and just wanted a row. A lot of the stuff that was being reported was completely overhyped – there were stories of IRA involvement and of anarchists, and it was really set up as a story of extremists versus the guards. While this went on, the refinery was being built, so Shell and the government were quite happy with this distraction from the real issues, which were health, safety and the environment.

I kept filming and, about six months later, I had a massive amount of footage. I went to Alan Maher in the Film Board and he was interested in it. I also went to TG4 – I cut a little promo myself and they were taken with it, so I had the Film Board and TG4 on board. I got a producer and had him for two years. That didn’t work out and that’s when I got Rachel [Lysaght] on board.

Did you approach the film with a particular style in mind?

The style kind of evolved. I didn’t know how to shoot a documentary really and, at the start, I was filming it like news. Gradually, I started to film more with the characters and began to just stay with them. I was shooting on a Sony Z1 HDV camera, which is very inconspicuous, so the protestors, the guards and everybody else just ignored me. I had great access because there wasn’t that barrier that goes up when you have a big news camera and crew and I just kept filming out on the boats with the fishermen and in the fields with the farmers. I’d put a little radio mic on them and follow them around for a few hours and see what fell out the other end. The material that started coming out was really incredible and I thought: ‘OK, we’ll make a half-hour doc out of this, it’ll be great.’ But the story kept evolving and things kept moving on and, from 2006, it was another three years before I got to the end of the filming.

How did you craft a film from the material?

We went into the edit with Stephen O’Connell for two months in 2009 and we basically ran out of money. I then approached Riverside TV in Galway – I’d cut a doc with Nigel O’Regan and I found him really good – so he and I started editing in November 2009 and then on and off for about eight months. I came to Nigel with a three-hour timeline and we got it down to about 83 minutes. It was just a hatchet job really, for a lot of it. I had been trying to put two documentaries into one. There was the human interest story of the people on the ground that I’d been filming but I’d also been researching into the political and historic context of Corrib right back to the mid-seventies. Justin Keating – who was then the Labour Minister for Industry & Commerce – put in place Norwegian-style oil and gas terms where the State would get a 50% stake in any oil and gas that was discovered. Subsequently, in the late eighties and early nineties, Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern tore up his legislation and basically privatised Irish offshore and handed it over to the oil companies, with very little room for any regulation. So I did a lot of research into that: I interviewed Justin Keating before he died and I interviewed a lot of people who brought me through the story up until the gas was discovered in 1996 by Enterprise Oil, who were very close to Fianna Fáil. They were a donor to the party and they got some great drilling concessions and it was in one of those drilling concessions that they found Corrib.

It took a lot of time for me to let go of that context and make it a completely human story. Eventually, we started throwing out the expert interviews and voice-over and the more we took out, the more the human story came to the fore. Whenever we took something out, we always found something in the rushes – because we had 400 hours of material – to bridge that gap. The people could always tell their story so elegantly and effectively, much better than any voice-over or expert could. It was a hugely painful process and we spent a lot of time in the edit arguing the points and cutting away, letting go of all the traditional-style doc stuff to get to the real story.

Did you seek any cooperation or contribution from Shell?

I had a good relationship with Shell and I would have known their PR people through shooting for news. I sent them material and emails and tried to get them on board for an interview but they would never agree to an open interview – there was always a lot of preconditions and we couldn’t do that because you can’t allow one particular body’s PR department to control what does and doesn’t go into the film. Eventually we had to draw a line with Shell – we gave them a deadline and they didn’t come back to us in time, so we just put a text box up at the start of the film so people would know from the start that we don’t have a contribution from Shell.

Do you think that makes the documentary unbalanced?

You can’t say it’s a balanced documentary. I don’t know if there’s any such thing as balance. It’s the story of a community. What I tried to do was concentrate on the people in the path of the pipeline and try and tell that story honestly. It’s not a PR film for these people. You see them losing it at times: you see them cursing, you see their good side but you also see their weaknesses. It’s not balanced, but it is an honest portrayal of what happened there in the community.

You mentioned that, because it was just you and a small Z1 camera, you were almost like a piece of the furniture, but there’s a difference between shooting protests for news and filming in people’s homes and boats and actually taking on their stories in a more comprehensive way. How did you negotiate the process of gaining access?

I never set out to make a documentary; it evolved. I was shooting it as news but, since I would have spent all my summers up there as a child, people knew me, so I was never seen as an outside camera crew – it was just me with a small camera, filming stuff. If I called up to somebody with the camera in their home, they just got on with it. Also, when they had community meetings or when what was happening would have been sensitive to the community, I was able to be there and they wouldn’t really notice or change their behaviour. Whereas, if there had been a bigger crew and not just one person they would have been more reserved or wouldn’t have let me in in the first place.

Was there a moment, then, when the participants signed on to a feature documentary?

Not really. I filmed it before I got release forms from them. It was a surprise to them when they came to Galway and saw the film because I was there for so long that they’d given up on me actually doing anything big or special. I don’t know did they know what to expect.

You mentioned the screening at the Galway Film Fleadh, which was the premiere of the film and also the first screening for the community. What was the response from the community and also from the general audience at the screening?

Galway was the first screening, so I was apprehensive. You don’t know how people are going to react because you’re baring the soul of a community on a big screen and there are some very uncomfortable bits for them watch. But I was blown away by their reaction, both during the screening and at the end, when we got a standing ovation. People really appreciated it – even though a lot of it was tough to watch for some of them, they appreciated the fact that, for the first time, their story was portrayed as honestly as it could be.

Not everyone was happy with it. A lot of people were uncomfortable with the fact that I showed so much of the community meetings because people don’t like to see their dirty linen aired in public but all in all they were appreciative. They were really emotional after the screening – some people were in tears. To have everything brought back to them in the space of 83 minutes was like being hit by a steam train for some people – everything from the jailing of the Rossport 5 to the baton charge and the stress on the community all came back in one chunk. It was a lot for them to take in, but it was an incredible reaction, really good.

On top of that reaction from the community you also won the award for Best Feature Documentary.

Winning the Best Feature Doc – I won’t say it was an anti-climax but I was so burned out from the screening that I didn’t quite appreciate winning the award at the time. We started to appreciate it when we began to get calls from festivals and distributors. Even though Galway is a small festival, it’s really respected around the world. It’s got a great reputation and it does feature on the radar of people in the industry, so Galway really was the springboard for getting into Toronto.

Tell me about Toronto: how was the experience of attending the festival?

When we were selected for Toronto, I didn’t know what kind of a festival it was. The more we started finding out about it, the more we realised that it’s right up there with Cannes and Sundance. It’s also the place for a doc if you want to get distribution: it’s where the deals are done and it’s where all the distributors are. We went over to Toronto for a week and it was just a rollercoaster – the amount of media coverage we got was incredible. We had a publicist over there and we got seven minutes on CBC, on a prime-time news show. We also got a great review from Variety. The reaction from the audience in Toronto was incredible and we got a standing ovation the night we premiered. We had wondered whether the film would travel – the Canadians are a bit conservative compared to us, so would they get the humour, the emotion and the concepts? Would they actually understand what people are saying? When they seemed to get all that and really engage with the film emotionally, it was a huge relief.

Off the back of Toronto, then, we got great interest worldwide. We got accepted for London, the doc festival in Amsterdam – IDFA, Palm Springs and loads of other festivals. Also, in Toronto, we signed with our North American sales agent, Cinetic, and they’re a dream to work with.

Presumably the BP oil spill in the Gulf had also raised awareness around the issues you dealt with in The Pipe?

The timing was really fortuitous. There was a lot of delay in getting the film finished but it was worth it because just when we were finishing in the edit, the Gulf oil spill happened. Now, it was a real tragedy – there were ten people killed in it and a lot of pollution – but it brought the issues that were raised in The Pipe into the mainstream media and made them very topical. There were other problems at the time: the day before our premiere in Toronto, a gas pipe blew up in California and a whole neighbourhood was burnt to a crisp, so when they were watching the film, the people in Canada were very aware of the context, more so than they would have been a year ago. In the Q&A after the screening, those issues came into the questions and really informed the debate.

Would you consider making a follow-up?

I would. As I said, the political and historical context of how Corrib came about needs to be explored. It’s a reflection on how things were done during the Celtic Tiger era, when regulation was very lax, huge amounts of control and leeway were given to private companies to the detriment of the citizens of Ireland. The politicians didn’t show leadership, they didn’t have the backbone to stand up to private companies and say ‘We have to do things properly; we have to do things sustainably for the interests of the people of Ireland and in the interests of employment, safety and the environment, all rolled into one.’ Responsible, long-term thinking didn’t happen and it was the same in a lot of other areas in Ireland – in building, in the banks, you name it. So this is just another microcosm of the direction we took during the Celtic Tiger, which was to the short-term benefit of private companies and to the detriment of private citizens, whose rights and whose future were sacrificed.

How do you feel the documentary has impacted on the community in Rossport?

Because it hasn’t been shown widely, I don’t think that the documentary has had a huge impact on the community nor do I know that it will. People’s trust in the State and their relationships with others in their community have been so damaged that it will take a long time for things to heal. Even if this Corrib fiasco is resolved in some way and a solution is found, the scars will last for generations. The fact that there’s no real effort to find a solution isn’t helping. I don’t know what my documentary can do – it may even open the wounds a little more. Hopefully it will raise awareness in Ireland and abroad about how damaging something like this can be: when the politicians turn away and the media doesn’t step up to the plate. One thing that’s worth saying is that these people were never against the gas, they just wanted it done in a sustainable way, according to industry standards, which didn’t have to railroad their rights or their health and safety. They wanted the gas and the economic prosperity it would bring, but not at that price.

What’s next for the film?

We’re still in the middle of trying to get it distributed. We’re trying to get it into cinemas in Ireland, starting from the 3rd of December, so that’s what we’re aiming for at the moment: to get it out in Irish cinemas, then getting it out on TG4, our broadcaster. We also have a sales agent in Europe and North America and we’re hoping to hear back from them soon. We hope to get some sort of theatrical release in the US and Canada and then get it broadcast in Europe and around the world.

Rachel [Lysaght] has been fantastic in terms of publicity, in pushing us to make the film as good as it can be and in how she has dealt with broadcasters and funders. She has great people skills, which has been really important because it’s a difficult production – we’re trying to make the most out of limited resources, so you have to bring in any favours you can and try to cut down on costs and Rachel has been at the centre of that, driving us forward.

www.thepipethefilm.com

Film Ireland’s screening of ‘The Pipe’ and Q&A with the filmmakers at 6.15pm Monday 13th December (Q&A 7.45pm) has being postponed until 2011, for more details click here.

The Pipe reviewed here.

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