Podcast: Capital Irish Film Festival


John Collins was at the 11th annual Capital Irish Film Festival in Washington, USA and met some of the attending filmmakers.


Henrietta Norton, director, and Dan Dennison, DOP, Born and Reared

2017 Capital Irish Film Festival_07

In this interview, John talks to director Henrietta Norton and DOP Dan Dennison about bringing their film, Born and Reared, to an American audience, the challenges for Dan as a photographer working with film, shooting in Belfast, and the overwhelming desire for peace in Northern Ireland.

Born and Reared tells the story of four men in Northern Ireland living in the aftermath of a conflict that ended 18 years ago.

Marie-Therese Garvey, producer of Atlantic


John talks to producer Marie-Therese Garvey about working with Risteard O’Domhnaill on Atlantic , crowdfunding, the power of story, the impact the film is having, the value of film festivals and having Brendan Gleeson on board.

Atlantic focuses on the two biggest resources in the North Atlantic: fish and oil, following the fortunes of three small fishing communities struggling to maintain their way of life.

Kealan Ryan, actor and writer of Lift 


John talks to Kealan Ryan, actor and writer of Lift about bringing his debut indie feature to the festival, getting the dialogue right, the dynamic of the characters, how the project came about, and the different challenges writing novels and scripts.

In Lift, a vicious attack by Sean leaves a man unconscious and him stranded in an elevator with five others.

Hilary Rose, actor in The Young Offenders


John talks to Hilary Rose about celebrating Irish film abroad, what goes into making a good comedy, being a pregnant fishmonger, the success of The Young Offenders and The Sultans of Ping.

John Collins is a producer/director living in Kensington, Maryland. He has an affinity for all things Irish including cinema, literature, music (particularly anything circa 1978-1982) and whiskey. He once played soccer with Bono in Heathrow Airport. His company is called Happy Medium Productions because everybody is always looking for a happy medium.


The 11th annual Capital Irish Film Festival ran 2 – 5 March 2017.


‘Atlantic’ Wins SDGI Director’s Finders Series


Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s Atlantic has been announced the winner of the 2016 SDGI Director’s Finders Series, providing the director with the opportunity to showcase his feature film at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in LA on June 17th with the aim of securing a US distribution deal for the film.

Atlantic film follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – which are at turns united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean.

The film was released in Irish cinemas on April 29th


Podcast interview with Risteard Ó Domhnaill here

Atlantic Reviewed here


Irish Film Review: Atlantic



DIR: Risteard O Domhnaill • PRO: Marie-Therese Garvey • ED: Nigel O’Regan 

Following his much lauded debut documentary, The Pipe, about the Corrib Gas controversy in the northwest coast of Ireland, Risteard O Domhnaill returns to the topic of resource mismanagement, this time taking on the impact of the oil industry and fishing restrictions on small scale fishermen across the Atlantic. Focusing on fishing towns across Ireland, Newfoundland and Norway, O Domhnaill presents the plight these fishermen face in the aftermath of the overfishing of the ’70s and ’80s. With stringent laws that favour highly profitable but ecologically disastrous fishing trawlers and the invasive drilling of multi-national oil companies, the more traditional net fishing practices are dying out along with ever-growing species of fish. New generations favour work on oil rigs which is, ironically, killing the very fishing traditions they come from. Like a Möbius strip, the issue is cyclical and ever twisting.

As in The Pipe, O Domhnaill utilises affecting characters to draw us into these small communities and their quandary. Despite the hardships these fishermen have already faced and the bleak future their livelihoods appear to hold, they never come across plaintive, but rather insightful, humorous and brimming with integrity. The individual voice is key. Stunning aerial photography transports us across the great ocean – weaving into and under, offering breathtaking glimpses of the life within it – until the camera settles beautifully on the small towns, the stillness echoing the sense of loss in the already dwindling communities.

Never one to shy away from those culpable, O Domhnaill shines a strong light on those in power, both past and present. Archive footage brings on home the flippant attitude of times past and our own mishandling of resources. Norway offers a beacon of hope with a government seemingly in tune with its country’s coveted resources from the outset. But it is a complex and difficult fight and something we all need to be more aware of.

Tess Motherway

138 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

Atlantic is released 29th April 2016

Atlantic – Official Website






ADIFF Irish Film Review: Atlantic



Katie Kelly casts a net over Risteard O’Domhnaill’s documentary Atlantic, which screened at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival.


If you have any sort of an interest in Ireland and our great natural resources, Atlantic is an absolute must see, which will have your blood boil, and make you feel impassioned by an often over-looked issue.

Narrated by Brendan Gleeson, beautifully shot and directed by Risteard O’Domhnaill, this documentary offers an impreccably presented insight into the lives of three  fishermen, in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland.

Having no experience of fishing, and not knowing anyone from a fishing community, I did wonder would Risteard O’Domhnaill’s second offering would interest me. I watched his debut doc The Pipe because of the media coverage surrounding the Rossport 5 and Shell to Sea. I went into Atlantic, however, fairly clueless to the scale of the issue. But from start to finish I engaged with these men and their communities as if they were friends. I was outraged at the injustices, pleased about their successes and generally felt a a real sense of comradery with all of them. They are all real hard-workers that deserve success, and not to struggle despite having an amazing resource on their door-step.

These are three massively contrasting stories with one thing in common – the Atlantic Ocean.

In Newfoundland, we see the struggles fishermen have had because of over-fishing for many years that resulted in an eventual ban. In Norway we see the success and conservation of their most important natural resource. Back home in Ireland, we meet fishermen in Arranmore, a tiny community that has been devastated by Ireland’s fishery policies, and its massive EU quotas. Massive trawlers eclipse the tiny fishing boats indigenous people depend on to survive. The whole issue has also been over-looked, and I certainly found myself asking why.

Atlantic offers an insight into the importance of the sea, at home and abroad. Not just for fish but for gas and oil, the real profit-making and enviornmentally precarious commodoties.

The emphasis for many traditional fisherman has shifted from fish to oil. Many fishermen in Newfoundland and Norway have switched profession. However, in Norway, scientists have been studying the effects of oil drilling on the sea and its very important inhabitants. The results have been taken on board (excuse the pun). Oil drilling has ceased in certain parts because it was disrupting marine life. It seems the Norwegian government actually cares about this resource. It is this legislation that maintains Norway’s high standard of living.

Newfoundland’s story is a warning of what can happen when fish stocks are abused, and alternately, Norway is an example of successfully managing both fish and oil. Perhaps Irish people can learn a little something from both countries. The sea and its vast resources could build and strengthen our economy, and change the lives of many of our coastal communities for the better. For decades this great resource has been ignored and now it is time to pay attention.


Atlantic screened on 25th February as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 18 – 28 February) 




Podcast Interview: Risteard O’Domhnaill, director of ‘Atlantic’


Atlantic is the latest film from the makers of the multi-award-winning documentary, The Pipe (2010). Directed by Risteard O’Domhnaill and edited by Nigel O’Regan, the film follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – which are at turns united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean.

Grace Corry sat down with director Risteard O’Domhnaill ahead of the film’s screening at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival to discuss the mounting challenges the communities face within their own industries.

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Atlantic screens at Cineworld on Thursday, 25th February 2016 at 8:30PM

The 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place 18 -28 February 2016. 

Click here for a preview of the Irish films screening at the festival

Click here for the full list of films



Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s ‘Atlantic’ in Production


Atlantic follows the fortunes of three fishing communities united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean, as they struggle to maintain their way of life despite mounting challenges within their own industry and environment. On both sides of the Atlantic, new hydrocarbon frontiers are pushing out into deeper water, and further north into the Arctic, posing serious threats from the oil and gas explorers.. The film charts the politics of resource management of the North Atlantic, from strong state control in Norway, mixed fortunes in Newfoundland, to a more liberal, privatised system in Ireland. Atlantic, through the experience of these coastal neighbours poses the question: who benefits from the exploitation of these resources. Filming at close quarters with those at the epicenter of the resources issue, and in some of the most dramatic and harsh settings in the North Atlantic, Atlantic will bring their story to a worldwide audience.

Atlantic is a transatlantic co-production with Newfoundland, Norway and Ireland, and a follow-up to the 2010 documentary The Pipe; the story of one Irish fishing villages’ battle with the oil giant Shell. When director Risteard Ó Domhnaill began investigating the forces at play behind the driving of a gas pipeline through the isolated West of Ireland community of Rossport, he discovered that other small communities right across the North Atlantic were facing similar challenges and feeling similarly powerless.

As oil exploration companies move into position off our coasts, and huge ‘factory’ trawlers force small fishermen off their fishing grounds, we question the silence and inaction of the Irish governments. What control is the state taking in this concerted drive to capitalise on Ireland’s offshore oil and gas potential, and why is it so different from other parts of the North Atlantic. From the perspective of fishermen in resource rich Norway and Newfoundland we experience their interactions with government and the oil companies. Not all is as good as it seems from afar, though, and the small fishing communities in Lofoten(Norway) and Fermeuse (NFL) are feeling the strain from the growing reach of the oil industry. Despite problems, as other Atlantic provinces grow rich from strict State ownership of their resources, Ireland is increasingly at the mercy of outside influences who already control most of her oil and fishing wealth. The battle over what lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean is heating up. Yet it is happening out of public sight and out of public mind.

Check out the film’s crowdfunding campaign here



Irish filmmaker wins in Japan

The short film Atlantic, written and directed by Conor Ferguson, produced by Park Films, starring Liam Cunningham and funded by Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board has been awarded Best Very Short at the prestigious Sapporo Short Fest in Japan.

The film has already won Grand Prix at the Très Court Film Festival in Paris; Best Super Short at the Lago Film Fest, Italy; and was Highly Commended in the TCM Classic Shorts Awards.