Irish Experimental Sci-fi Feature to Premiere in New York

The world premiere of experimental, soundtrack-driven sci-fi Assimilation will take place at the 2019 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, to be held in New York this week, on March 6th and 9th. Filmed in Derry and Donegal and produced by Scalp Mountain Productions, Assimilation marks the feature debut both for Irish writer/director John Norby and star Ashling Vieira.

In the near future, exponential growth in technology creates an apocalyptic event of cosmic origins that finds Earth seemingly devoid of all sentient life. Assimilation depicts the stages leading up to that event and follows the journey of a lone survivor on her quest to reconnect with life: to discover what lies beyond.

Where are we headed, this human race, and what is our fate after Earth? The clues are there to be discovered; it’s all about knowing where to look.

What will you see?

Presented without dialogue, Assimilation features an immersive, darkly atmospheric soundtrack by some of the most respected dark ambient artists from around the world. The film strives through its ‘sight and sound’ approach to captivate its audience and transport them into the post-apocalyptic world it portrays, allowing them to explore it intimately as the experience unfolds.
The production of Assimilation was unique in that the soundtrack was in place before shooting began, indicating the importance of the music and its intricate relationship with the action in driving the story. The soundtrack features music by Lamia Vox, Sistrenatus, Red Harvest, Phelios, Virus, Triangular Ascension, Dahlia’s Tear, Øysnsasid, Christopher Norby, Posthum, Endvra, Necro Deathmort, O Yuki Conjugate, Zoät-Aon, and The Axis Of Perdition. Put together they provide an ethereal cinematic experience that reveals the profound and chilling story of Assimilation.
Assimilation will play at The Producer’s Club, 358 West 44th Street, New York, on Saturday, March 9. Screening time is 9pm. Q&A with director John Norby after the show.

Tickets and info available from www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Paula Kehoe, director/producer of ‘An Dubh ina Gheal’ (‘Assimilation’)

PaulaKehoe Director
Paula Kehoe: Director/Producer

 

An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation) is a revealing exploration of the relationship between Aboriginal Australians and the Irish in Australia. Steven Galvin caught up with Paula Kehoe, the film’s director/producer, to find out more about her fascinating documentary.

An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation) screens at 13.00 at the IFI on Sunday, 15th September 2013.

An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation) is a documentary that explores the relationship between Aboriginal Australians and the Irish in Australia. Produced and directed by Paula Kehoe, the film is structured around Irish poet Louis de Paor’s journey back to his once-adopted homeland to explore a hidden story of the Irish in Australia. A story that takes in the existence of a new colonial identity in Australia – that of the ‘Aboriginal Irish’, proud to be Aboriginal and proud to be Irish – while at the same time exploring how the Irish, as white Australians, were also complicit in the dispossession of Aboriginal people.

Since the British first established a colony in Australia in 1788, Aboriginal Australians have had their land stolen from them or destroyed, become victims of new diseases brought in by sailors and convicts, and became targets of genocide. By the late 1800s, the indigenous population had been reduced from up to an estimated one million to only 60,000. During much of the 20th century, the government adopted a policy of assimilation by removing mixed race children – many of Irish heritage – from their parents and adopting them out to white families or placing them in mission schools in an effort to eradicate traces of Aboriginal culture and language. An Dubh in Gheal explores the story of this “stolen generation”, and also that of an Aboriginal resistance lead by ‘Shamrock Aborigines’, who saw theirs as a shared struggle against a common oppressor.

Paula explains how she had “brewed over the film for quite a long time. I actually started thinking about the subject area before I ever started making films. Since then it had always been at the back of my mind as a story that should be told. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable trying to tackle it in Australia as an Irish-Australian filmmaker for a lot of complex reasons. It was only really when I was in Ireland and with Louis on board that I felt comfortable with the fact that this was also an Irish story that could be told from an Irish perspective.”

Louis de Paor

Louis de Paor: Presenter/Co-Writer

Paula, who moved to Ireland in 1994, tells me how it took the years she had spent immersed in indigenous culture and language in Ireland “to raise my consciousness and deepen my understanding of the society in which I was raised. As a result my growing awareness of and engagement with Aboriginal life, culture and politics in Australia became entangled with a very Irish perspective. When I looked deeper into the recent past in Australia, the Irish dimension of the Aboriginal story was starkly apparent. It is remarkable how many Aboriginal people have Irish heritage, political activists, politicians and members of the Stolen Generations among them, and they are very proud to claim it. Yet conversely the Irish were embedded, and themselves assimilated into ‘white Australia’ and all that it entailed.”

Having first heard Louis de Paor reading the two poems that feature in the documentary in 1997 in Club Áras in Galway, Paula recalls how “they suddenly reappeared in my consciousness in 2010 while I was researching this subject.” Louis had lived in Australia and had responded to the plight of the Aboriginal people through his poems, ‘An dubh ina gheal’ and ‘Didjeridu’, which inspire the film’s narrative.

“These poems have powerful things to say about Indigenous Australians”, whom Louis feels a natural affinity with as an indigenous Irishman according to Paula. “Yet, as ‘Didjeridu’ acknowledges, the Gael, as a founding people in the story of white Australia, were also complicit in the dispossession of Aboriginal people.The fact that the poems were written in Irish is crucial. When I explained to contributors that the documentary would be bi-lingual, half in ‘Gaelic’, they were much more open to it. English is the language of the coloniser for both the Irish and Aboriginal people, and certainly the Aboriginal people I spoke to have a very keen awareness of those paralells.”

Paula first approached TG4, who liked the proposal, then wrote it up for the BAI, and it got commissioned. “Then Louis and I started working on it together and shaped it beyond my initial proposal to embrace the personal stories and the contributors who came and went and also to incorporate what Louis brought to it. So it’s evolved in various different stages. I couldn’t have done it then without Louis. He was the key to making it work. He gave it a moral centre from an Irish immigrant’s point of view. It was a fabulous experience and such a privilege working with Louis on this project.”

An Dubh ina Gheal explores the story of the ‘Stolen Generations’, but also how, despite the circumstances, out of these multi-racial unions new identities have been formed. Paula points out that “there is now a whole generation of indigenous Australians of Irish descent. During the ’60s and ’70s political activists of Irish descent were called ‘Shamrock Aborigines’, “who saw theirs as a shared struggle against a common oppressor. They recognised that the Irish have also suffered under British rule. So there are strong associations there.”

Bill Brock-Byrne & LdeP

Louis de Paor & Bill Brock-Byrne

Bill Brock-Byrne, a member of the Stolen Generations, features in the documentary and explains how he thought the missions were there to protect them from the government, and yet part of that was protecting them from their own culture and from their own beliefs.

Previously there had been little to no research done on the offspring of Irish and Aboriginal parents so Paula couldn’t rely on archival sources and “that’s why finding someone like Bill Brock-Byrne was crucial because his family history tells us so much.”

Paula admits that the documentary was the most challenging project she has ever undertaken. “It’s a sensitive area so it was important to be respectful and aware on every level. The archive film and photographs proved a tremendous challenge as there is so much kept by so many different institutions and there’s so much protocol involved in using any archive material that has indigenous content. While it wasn’t an easy journey, it has been without any doubt one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I hope that it does justice to all of those involved.”

The result is a fascinating document that achieves a balance between the historical, the personal and the poetic, crystallising the intimate and complex ties that bind the Irish and Aboriginal Australians and how that relationship is envisaged and in doing so reveals a hidden history of the Irish in Australia.

 

An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation) screens on Sunday, 15th September at 13.00 as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

The Australian Ambassador Dr Ruth Adler will attend and there will be a post-screening Q&A with filmmaker Paula Kehoe.

Tickets for An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation) are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

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Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh: On The Box preview

The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

OnThe Box

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Waking the Titanic

Friday, 12th July

Cinemobile

10.00

This documentary is no mere retelling of the Titanic story. This is a unique story of hope and the loss suffered by the people of a tiny West of Ireland village whose sons and daughters went in search of a better life only to be subsumed by the tragic destiny of the world’s greatest ship.

Frank Delaney, the film’s director told Film Ireland that “It is really important to us to have Waking The Titanic featured in the Galway Film Fleadh and I imagine even more important to the people of Addergoole and Lagherdaun. The people of Addergole, of which village of Lagherdaun is its centre, lost more people on Titanic than any other community in the world. At the time the population of Lagerdaun was 96 people, 11 were lost on Titanic and three survived – the trauma was huge, so huge in fact that the entire community went silent – they vowed not to speak about it to each other or to outsiders again. As a result within a few generations the story was lost entirely – totally forgotten. It was only rediscovered and awakened in the last ten years.

“After one hundred years the locals are again talking about it but the feelings about this loss still run very deep in the community around Lagherdaun and the emotions of the locals there are still very tangible. So considering that the people of Addergoole have now embraced this history and are telling this story, to have it at the Galway Film Feadh on the big screen is great. In addition to this Waking The Titanic is a true West of Ireland production. The film was made totally in the West of Ireland. The production company is based in Mayo, I’m Galway based, – it was prepped, written, shot, and edited here in the West. The entire cast were also West of Ireland based – they were made up of mainly of locals (non actors) from Lagherdaun with two professional actors completing the cast. So for its festival premiere to be in the West is fantastic.”

 

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An Bhean A Shiúil Trasna Mheiriceá (The Woman Who Walked Across America)

Friday, 12th July

Cinemobile

11.15

This lyrical film explores the epic journey taken by Mary Devine who crossed America on foot with her four-year-old daughter during the 1860s in a desperate attempt to return home to West Kerry where she had emigrated from.

John O’Donnell told Film Ireland that “Myself and everyone involved with the film are delighted that it has been selected for Galway. The fleadh has always been very supportive to both new Irish and international works and is an important platform for this film particularly as it is a bi-lingual story about an Irish woman who walked across America with her child during the 1860’s in an attempt to return home to West Kerry where she had emigrated from a number of years earlier.

“The film explores that epic journey taken by this heroic woman and even though it is set in the 1860s the story still has a powerful resonance today as it deals with emigration and that elusive search for the promised land. But most of all it tells a story of self-belief, hope and survival with the abiding cinematic image being that of this lone woman carrying her child across a lawless, wild and wind-swept American landscape.

“We hear a lot about those who left, never to return but rarely do we hear about those who came back.”

 

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An Dubh ina Gheal (Assimilation)

Friday, 12th July

Cinemobile

12.30

The poet Louis de Paor lived in Australia for ten years in the 1980s, where he composed Didjeridu and An Dubh ina Gheal, his poetic responses to the plight of the Aboriginal people. In the documentary An Dubh ina Gheal, Louis returns there to explore how the Irish, as a founding people in the story of white Australia, were complicit in their dispossession.

Director Paula Kehoe told Film Ireland that “An Dubh ina Gheal”is a very special project to me personally, and as a filmmaker, and so I’m delighted it has been selected for the Fleadh.

“Irish people have emigrated to Australia for many generations and have had all kinds of interaction with Aboriginal people. As Irish people know well,
histories of colonisation are never pretty. Yet there are also love stories and a sense of a shared history.. and it’s this complex relationship that An Dubh
ina Gheal sets out to explore.”

 

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An Léigear 1922 (The Siege 1922)

Friday, 12th July

Cinemobile

13.45

This film, the sequel to An Conradh, depicts just ten days in the history of a nation, yet they are ten days that changed the course of its history forever; it’s a story of ten days of fierce fighting on the streets of the capital, comrade against comrade, brother against brother with nothing less than the future of Ireland at stake.

 

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Pauline Bewick: Yellow Man, Grey Man

Friday, 12th July

Cinemobile

18.30

Pauline Bewick: Yellow Man, Grey Man examines the hugely successful series of work by artist Pauline Bewick known as ‘The Yellow Man’.

Maurice Galway, who directed the film, told Film Ireland, “I am delighted that Pauline Bewick: Yellow Man Grey Man is selected as part of the 25th Galway Film Fleadh. The festival is an excellent platform for the film and I’m looking forward to seeing Pauline’s fans show up for the screening and hearing people’s feed back. I am also a big fan of The Cinemobile and am thrilled to be having the film screened in it.

 

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie.

 

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