The Last Days of Peter Bergmann is one of the things I’m most proud of from all the different things I’ve had the pleasure of cutting. The Film has had a tremendous life on the festival circuit, getting selected for Sundance, Winning awards at IFI Stranger than Fiction, Nashville, Melbourne, Camden and elsewhere, Qualifying for the Oscars twice and of course prompting a lot of debate. The film’s director Ciaran Cassidy has had a wonderful year of jetting around the world presenting the film.
Now, tonight, Irish audiences will finally get a chance to see the film as it is showing on RTE1 at 11:20.
The Last days of Peter Bergmann tells the story of a man calling himself Peter Bergmann who arrived in Sligo Town in the summer of 2009. Over his final three days, he went to great lengths to make sure that no one would ever know who he was or where he came from.
The Film has twice qualified for Oscar eligibility and on winning the prestigious Melbourne IFF award, the jury had this to say about it.
“Ciaran Cassidy taps the voyeur in all of us with his masterful appropriation of hours of compelling CCTV footage that track a tantalising incomplete picture of The Last Days of Peter Bergmann. Coupled with a series of compelling interviews, Cassidy manages to invert the mystery genre from whodunnit to why. Meticulously researched, this is a riveting ride that leaves the audience rooted to their seats as they act out the role of both spy and detective.”
Check out these credentials
IFTA, Best Short Film 2014
Melbourne International Film Festival, Best Short Doc 2014
Nashville Film Festival, Documentary short Winner.
IFI Stranger Than Fiction Audience Award Winner 2013
Camden Film Festival, Short Doc Award, 2014
Milwaukee Film Festival, Special Jury Award, 2014
Grand Prix Irish, Cork Film Festival 2013
Sundance Film Fest, Grand Jury Prize, 2014
Sheffield International Doc Fest, Best Short Doc 2014
For a fuller list of where the film has been selected click here
Director: Ciaran Cassidy
Director of Photography: Kate McCullough
Editor: John Murphy
Sound: Guillaume Beauron
Music: Jack Quilligan, David Cantan
Researcher: Colum McKeown
Prod Manager: Aoife McGonigal
It’s been a great start to the week with the news that the short documentary I cut ‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’ has won the Best Documentary Short Film Award at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), the largest film festival in the southern hemisphere. This is the second time the film has attained Oscar® eligibility through winning at an accredited international film festival.
The film’s director Ciaran Cassidy, said “We are honoured with the win in Melbourne and thrilled that it is connecting with an audience so far away from home. It’s a testament to the work of the team and everyone involved in making the film.”
The film which was produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films follows a man who arrived in Sligo in the summer of 2009. Over his final three days, he would go to great lengths to ensure no one would ever discover who he was or where he came from. The film which was funded as part of the Irish Film Boards Reality Bites Scheme has so far screened at over 25 festivals worldwide after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It has gone on to win the Audience Award at Stranger than Fiction, the Grand Jury Prize at Nashville Film Festival and the IFTA for Best Short Film.
MIFF is the largest film festival in both Australia and the southern hemisphere, and is Australia’s largest showcase of new Australian cinema. As of 2013, the festival is accredited by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Australian Film Institute and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
The films director, Ciaran Cassidy, is currently in pre production on feature documentary Jihad Jane: Dangerously Seeking Marriage, a film about three ‘fundamentalist terrorists’ seeking love and marriage in a one bedroom apartment in a small town in Ireland. The film will be produced by Fastnet Films along with Silverosa Film in Sweden and Helsinki Film in Finland.
Last saturday the IFTA’s were held in Dublin City Centre in the Burlo, which is the name everyone stubbornly sticks to calling the DoubleTree at Hilton Hotel. I was grateful to Colm and Cleona who directed and produced An Ceoldrama for giving tickets to myself and the misses so that we could attend. I was very fortunate to be in a, lets face it probably once in a lifetime scenario whereby everything I cut that was released last year was nominated for an IFTA. There was 3 nominations for ‘An Ceoldrama’, 2 for ‘Páidí Ó Sé: Rí an Pharoiste’, 1 for ‘Bliain in Arainn Mhor’ and a best short nomination for ‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’. The standard of competition in each of the categories was incredibly high so I was just delighted that all the shows were in contention. In the end it turned out to be quite the night.
First up ‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’ won best short. Not for the first time director Ciaran Cassidy bet off some serious competition to come away with the gong. Ciaran was absolutely delighted and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last award he’ll be picking up this year
The Best Sports category has in recent years become one of the most competitive award categories at the IFTA’s. Increased funding from BAI, the lead given from Setanta and the proliferation of Sports websites like Balls, the score and joe.ie have meant that sports programming now attract huge audiences and media coverage. This year people seemed to think ROG: The Ronan O’Gara story was a shoe-in for the award but I had a funny feeling we could sneak this one. Thats how it turned out when ‘Páidí Ó Sé: Rí an Pharoiste’ trumped it and got the nod. Director Louise Ni Fhiannacta gave a variation on the famous speech by Ventry’s most illustrious son when picking up the trophy. At the rate Louise is picking up awards these days she’s going to need a second mantlepiece.
Unfortunately none of the other nominations ended up bearing fruit but we all still had a great night. I was delighted too for my friend and colleague Dathai Keane who picked up an award for his series ‘1916:Seachtar Dearmata” and indeed for Anna Rodgers who won 2 awards that were both richly deserved.
Delighted to say that the IFTA Short film nominations were announced last night and among them was a nod for The Last Days of Peter Bergmann. Coupled with last weeks nominations its been a pretty amazing week. Also among those nominations is a nod for Rubai which was directed by ‘Páidi Ó’Sé…‘ director Louise Ni Fhiannachta, so I was delighted for her as well.
In other festival news. ‘When Ali Came to Ireland’ played at the Toronto Irish Film Festival last weekend and went down a storm apparently
The Short Film ‘The Weather Report’ which was directed by my brother Paul and which I had the great pleasure of editing has been selected to have its world premiere at the upcoming Belfast Film Festival at the start of April which is great news.
The documentary ‘One Ocean:No Limits’ that I co-edited last year with filmmaker Sarah McCann screens this coming Sunday in San Francisco as the closing film of the Ocean Film Festival. It also has a few more festival screenings in the next few months before its screening on RTE later this year.
The aforementioned ‘Páidi Ó’Sé: Rí an Phároiste’ will screen as part of the Dingle Film Festival this St.Patricks day weekend. I’m planning on making it down for this years event for what should be a special screening. The film is showing at 8:00am on our national holiday right after the country’s earliest parade. There is also talk of an Irish breakfast happening before, after or during the screening. I’m hoping for all three options. ‘Bergmann’ is also playing at this festival.
I am absolutely delighted to say that the short film I cut earlier this year, The Last Days of Peter Bergmann has been selected for the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film was directed by Ciaran Cassidy, produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films, beautifully filmed by Kate McCullough and edited by my good self. The film had its world premiere at IFI Stranger Than Fiction this year, where it picked up the audience award for Best Short Film. The short film was funded under the IFB’s Reality Bites scheme and tells the story of a man calling himself Peter Bergmann who arrived in Sligo Town in the summer of 2009. Over his final three days, he went to great lengths to make sure that no one would ever know who he was or where he came from.
Being selected is a huge achievement for Ciaran. Only 66 shorts from over 8000 entries were selected and of those only 14 were short documentaries, so to be in that final 14 is massive. Personally it’s a huge thing for me to have a film I worked on screen at such a prestigious film festival. I’m also delighted for everyone involved, as it was a real delight to work on the film. Everyone involved, Morgan, Ciaran, Collie, Guillaume Eugene, Kate and the rest of the gang are all really good people to boot.
Here is the list of the other short documentaries, it includes some heavy hitters like Lucy Walker whose film The Crash Reel is long listed for the Oscar documentary award, Kevin Jerome Everson who has had several exhibitions of his works in top US Museums and star of community, comedian Danny Pudi who made an ESPN 30 for 30 short which was selected
Choreography / U.S.A. (Directors: David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) — Donkeys gaze at those who gaze at them.
Fe26 / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Jerome Everson) — Two gentlemen make a living hustling metal in Cleveland, Ohio.
Godka Cirka (A Hole in the Sky) / Spain, France, U.S.A. (Directors: Alex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi) — Young Alifa looks up at the Somali sky and thinks about her daily life as a shepherdess. She knows the day that will change her life forever is about to come. http://vimeo.com/64763485
Hacked Circuit / U.S.A. (Director: Deborah Stratman) — This circular study of the Foley process portrays sound artists at work constructing complex layers of fabrication and imposition.
I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked / Israel (Directors: Yuval Hameiri, Michal Vaknin) — A man with poor means recreates a lost memory of the last day with his mom. Objects come to life in a desperate struggle to produce a single moment that is gone.
The Last Days of Peter Bergmann / Ireland (Director: Ciaran Cassidy) — In 2009, a man claiming to be from Austria arrived in the town of Sligo, Ireland. During his final days, Peter Bergmann went to great lengths to ensure no one ever discovered who he was and where he came from.
The Lion’s Mouth Opens / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — A stunningly courageous young woman takes the boldest step imaginable, supported by her mother and loving friends.
Love. Love. Love. / Russia (Director: Sandhya Daisy Sundaram) — Every year, through the endless winters, her love takes new shapes and forms.
Notes on Blindness / United Kingdom, U.S.A., Australia (Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney) — In 1983, writer and theologian John Hull became blind. To help make sense of his loss, he began keeping an audio diary. Encompassing dreams, memories, and his imaginative life, Notes on Blindness immerses the viewer in Hull’s experience of blindness.
Of God and Dogs / Syrian Arab Republic (Director: Abounaddara Collective) — A young, free Syrian soldier confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. He promises to take vengeance on the God who led him to commit the murder.
One Billion Rising / U.S.A. (Directors: Eve Ensler, Tony Stroebel) — In 2013, one billion women and men rose and shook the earth through dance to end violence against women in the biggest mass action ever. The event was a radical awakening of body and consciousness. This is what it looked like.
Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. / U.S.A. (Directors: Perri Peltz, Geeta Gandbhir) — Robert De Niro, Sr., was a figurative painter obscured by the powerful pop art movement. His work has returned to the spotlight because of his son, who happens to be one of the world’s most famous actors.
Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Callander) — Love is swapping clips with your spouse in the middle of a three-gun problem.
Untucked / U.S.A. (Director: Danny Pudi) — This documentary explores the iconic “untucked” jersey worn in 1977 when Marquette University won its first and only national college basketball championship. It was designed by one of Marquette’s players, Bo Ellis, under the fearless leadership of Coach Al McGuire.
I had a great evening last Saturday at the IFI. The Last Days of Peter Bergmann was having its world premiere along with 3 other Irish Film Board Reality Bites short documentary films. Despite the program starting sufficiently late that we all could have seen the second half of the hurling, there was a great atmosphere in IFI’s Screen 1.
The 4 films that played were all excellent and indeed very different form each other. The talk afterwards was how rare it is to go to such an enjoyable shorts program, where you were treated to very different films and all made to a remarkable high standard.
The film I edited, The last days of Peter Bergmann(Director: Ciaran Cassidy) was up first and it went down superbly and everyone involved in the film was delighted with its reception.
followed by There’s No Charge for the Hat, directed by Tom Burke of Areaman Films
and then there was Emile Dineen’s Rebirth, which was really excellent and I think has the potential to do very well for Emile and it’s producer Aisling Ahmed, whom I enjoyed meeting and chatting to afterwards.
Finally, there was Keith Walsh’s funny and moving “Analogue People in a Digital Age” which brought the house down. I was delighted for my old college buddy Keith and his partner Jill.
Later on Stranger Than Fiction Festival director Ross Whitaker announced the winners of the shorts awards, which were judged from these films and a batch of ten films which had screened earlier in the day. We were all thrilled when “The Last Days of Peter Bergmann” was honoured with the Audience Award. The gong was voted by the public and came with a generous donation from Windmill Lane of €1500 worth of post production. A great prize and a perfect way to top a great screening. Furthermore I was delighted for my buddy Traolach who got a special mention from the jury for his film ‘Gordie’ as it continues its relentless pursuit of awards all over the world. The jury prize went to ‘Rebirth’ and I’m sure it won’t be the last prize it picks up. Here’s hoping Peter Bergmann isn’t finished winning either.
The documentary film festival IFI Stranger than Fiction returns at the end of the month. I’m delighted that a film I cut “The Last Days of Peter Bergmann” will have its world premiere at the event. The film, directed by Ciaran Cassidy and produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films is showing as part of the Reality Bites shorts programme on the 28th September at 6.
you can buy tickets for the film here
and follow updates about the event on facebook here
The other films screening as part of the reality Bites programme are
“There’s no Charge for the Hat” – Tom Burke
“Rebirth” – Emile Dineeen
“Analogue People in a Digital Age” – Keith Walsh & Jill Beardsworth*
(*I was an associate editor on this i should point out)
Stranger Than Fiction is Ireland’s premier documentary film festival and its getting bigger and better every year. This years lineup is really exciting, here are some of the highlights. Tickets are selling fast so get on it…
The festival opens with the Irish premiere of The Great Hip Hop Hoax, the tale of Scottish rappers who reinvented themselves as Californians, having been laughed out of London showcases and dubbed the ‘Rapping Proclaimers’.
Smash & Grab, about the Pink Panther diamond thieves which boasts incredible insider access to the gang.
Salma, Kim Longinotto’s latest film, following an acclaimed Tamil poet nobly looking out for women within her community;
After Tiller, a powerful, timely film addressing the abortion debate in America;
The formally brilliant and effecting Dragon Girls.
Depicting life aboard a fishing trawler, the hypnotic, haunting Leviathan won the prestigious Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year.
In contrast, and indicative of the variety of films in the programme, there’s a joyous celebration of Southern Soul music in Muscle Shoals.
Among the Irish programme are Dublin premieres of the Cuban Missile Crisis nail-biter Here Was Cuba,
Saturday night of the festival is not to be missed with the screening of Where the Blue Flowers Grow, capped off by a musical performance by The Cujo Family, the band celebrated in the film.
In addition to the main screenings, the festival will host a range of panel discussions in partnership with Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann, which will give documentary makers and lovers some insight and practical tips on how to grow and succeed in the international market. Panel participants will include Havana Marking (Smash & Grab) and Jeanie Finlay (The Great Hip Hop Hoax) alongside top Irish filmmakers including Cathal Gaffney (Give Up yer Auld Sins) and Nick Ryan (The Summit).