Irish Documentary ‘Home Turf’ To Tour US


Award-winning short documentary Home Turf is about to take off on tour, screening at a number of cities around the United States.


As part of programmes run by two separate film festivals, the tours will take Irish turf-cutting to the American masses as the film plays over 20 dates across the US.


Both Mountain Film Festival in Colorado and Rural Route Film Festival in New York State choose ‘best of’ selections and a programme of short films then travel to schools and cinemas nationwide.


The turf cutting film will play at venues as diverse as Durango, CO, Watercolor, FL and South Royalton, VT as well as more familiar venues like the Lincoln Center in New York.


“It’s amazing to think that a little film about turf-cutting resonates with audiences internationally. We tried to make the film about more that turf-cutting and touch on themes like the unexpected impacts of progress and how rural life and a certain type of manliness has been negatively changed. That really seems to have touched audiences everywhere. We’re delighted that it will be seen by so many people as part of these tours,” says co-director Ross Whitaker.


Home Turf is a fascinating visual celebration on the ancient art of cutting turf by hand in Co. Kerry, Ireland. Following a band of turf cutters from North Kerry throughout the cutting season from April to September, the film gives insight into a way of life that will soon be forgotten.


The short film produced and directed by Aideen O’Sullivan and Ross Whitaker for True Films is part of the Irish Film Board Reality Bites scheme and won awards at the Kerry Film Festival and Lessinia Film Festival in Verona, Italy.





Short Doc ‘Home Turf’ Wins Award In Verona

Irish Film Board funded short documentary Home Turf  has won the award for ‘best work about the natural environment and the relationship between Man and Nature’ at Film Festival Della Lessinia in Verona, Italy.


The film was funded under the Reality Bites scheme and debuted at the Corona Cork Film Festival last November. Since then it has had screenings at several prestigious festivals including Krakow, Hot Docs in Toronto and the AFI Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival in Washington DC.


Home Turf observes turf cutters from Co. Kerry as they cut and collect turf through the summer months and juxtaposes their efforts with machine-cutting that is happening nearby.


It was produced by Aideen O’Sullivan (Bye Bye Now) for True Films and directed by Ross Whitaker (Saviours), edited by Andrew Hearne (Blind Man Walking, The Zoo), with cinematography by Alex Sapienza (The Bailout).


The film was called an ‘elegiac tribute to an Ireland rapidly disappearing’ by the Irish Independent, Film Ireland said the film was ‘shot with an elegant visual simplicity’ while The Examiner said ‘the film captures the camaraderie of the bog.’


The Lessinia Film Festival is the only Italian cinematographic competition dedicated exclusively to short films, documentaries, and full length features about the life, history and traditions of the mountains. The award given to Home Turf was sponsored by Lessinia Regional Natural Park .


‘We are delighted that the film has been granted this award by the Lessinia Film Festival, particularly considering the strength of the films on show,’ said director Ross Whitaker. ‘We’re particularly happy that the award is especially dedicated to the relationship between Man and Nature, which is a central theme of our film.’