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.


Interview: Henrietta Norton, ‘Born and Reared’


Born and Reared tells the stories of four men living in Northern Ireland today in the aftermath of a conflict. Told from a contemporary perspective, the film captures, through their stories, the identity of a place and the men who live there. Following the film’s recent sell-out premiere in Galway, Born and Reared screens in Dublin at the IFI as part of their Irish Focus strand.

Filmmakers Henrietta Norton and Dan Dennison spent over a year with everyday men of inner city Belfast whose lives had been defined by conflict. “We wanted to explore ideas around masculinity and male identity in contemporay Belfast,” Henrietta explains. “How do you go from having a position of power, whether it be within an organisation or a belief system or whatever, to going back to being a taxi driver, a joiner or a dad. We wanted to explore those themes from a contemporary perspective.”

Henrietta spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland herself as a child. Her stepmother was the Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam, so she partly grew up in Belfast during the time the Good Friday Agreement was being drawn up. And then in 2013, Henrietta was in Derry working with “an amazing group of men, who had formed an organisation called Men’s Action Network, which they had started because a friend of theirs had committed suicide. They had created this space for men to come and talk about issues that affect them as men. I started thinking that this is something that is not being explored. This is something that is not being talked about – masculinity and identities, post-conflict.” So, for Henrietta, the project was shaped from both a personal and political perspective, as she asked the question, “while there was a political peace agreement drawn up in 1998, was there a human peace in Northern Ireland?”

Through each story we learn what has happened to these men and how the conflict has defined them in the aftermath of the Troubles. In order to achieve this it was vital for the filmmakers to gain the trust of the men they interviewed. Henrietta says, “We didn’t pick up a camera for the first five months that we spent time with those men before we started filming. We filmed the whole film over a year and for the first four or five months we just hung out. We met the families, we met the children, we met the friends and we just spent time together to build up trust and a genuine relationship because, for me, it was about finding the honesty.”

The film comes to Dublin after its premiere at Galway and a private screening earlier this summer. “We’ve had some amazing responses from our audience. The general feedback is that it is incredibly refreshing. We did a private screening in Belfast to a local audience, which was terrifying because it’s their life and their world you’re showing to them – the response was unbelievable. One schoolteacher stood up and said every single teenager in Northern Ireland should see this film. Responses like that are really powerful.”


Born and Reared screens on Tuesday, 19th July 2016 at 18.30 at the IFI as part of Irish Focus, a focus on new Irish film and filmmakers.

Directors Henrietta Norton and Dan Dennison will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets are available here or from the IFI Box Office or on 01 679 3477