This is just a reminder that episode 3 of Ceoldrama will broadcast tonight on TG4 at 8. Please do tune in…
I’ve previously said that I’m very proud of this series and I think that tonights episode is probably the pick of the bunch in terms of the editing challenges we faced. The previous 2 episodes focused on getting to know 2 schools in each episode. In tonights episode its moving the story along for all 4 schools but still having enough backstory in the show so that people who haven’t seen the first 2 will also enjoy it. I think it worked out very well and I’d love to hear what people thought of it.
People have said really nice things about the first two episodes and if you want to catch up on them, you can watch them on the TG4 player here.
An Ceoldráma is a new TG4 observational documentary series that goes behind the classroom door in four Gaelscoils to reveal what it takes to get a school musical on stage in one of the toughest categories of the Féile Scoildrámaíochta (The National Schools’ Drama Competition).
Is sraith breathnaitheach úrnua é An Ceoldráma do TG4 a leanann ceithre Gaelscoileanna agus iad ag cuir ceoldráma le chéile don Féile Scoildrámaíochta.
Earlier this year “Bliain in Árainn Mhór”, the 4 part series I cut for Power Pictures and TG4 was broadcast to strong ratings and positive reviews. Everyone involved in the show was delighted with this and was absolutely thrilled when the series was nominated for the prestigious Oireachtas awards last week.
Organised by Oireachtas na Gaeilge, the Oireachtas Media Awards look to celebrate the TV and Radio presenters, actors, journalists and programme makers who have excelled in their contribution to Irish language media in the past year. This year the nominations feature a very broad range of programmes that reflect the high quality work being done through Irish.
Its possible for members of the public to have a say in the voting process by following the link here and casting their votes.
Don’t be put off by the first page (they are looking for your name, organisation and email, you do not need to enter your phone number) or the fact thats it’s all in Irish its actually quite straightforward. If you do decide to vote, why not throw a vote in the other categories to my buddies and their entries “Lon sa Speir”, “Seo Sport” and “BBC Blas” but the most important one is to vote for “Bliain in Árainn Mhór”. It would be great if it could win the award and with your help you never know…
The entire series was uploaded to youtube should you wish to remind yourself of the show, the links are all on this page.
In other award news, Traolach O’Murchu has informed me from his wintery den in Canada that the short we did together, Kara, has picked up another award on its travels. This time for lead actress Laura Erangey at the Bootleg Film Festival in Edinburgh a few weekends ago. Well done to her and to Traolach, whose mantlepiece must now be buckling under the weight of all those awards he’s picked up over the years!
The Celtic Media Festival takes place at the end of this month in Swansea and I’m delighted that Rás Tailteann is among the nominations. Its up for the sports gong and its in a tough competitive field (which also includes the excellent Jump Boys by Luke McManus) but it would be great if it won. The CMF from what I hear is always a great weekend and i’d love to be heading over, my schedule doesn’t suit but the film’s producer and director will be there and hopefully they will bring home the torc!
Saw this trailer for a new show starting on tg4 tomorrow and it looks proper deadly.
Radharc na Rúise is a four part Irish language documentary series that explores the links between contemporary Russia and Ireland, by providing a unique insider’s view of the lives of the Russian people and their perception of Irish culture. Starts on Thursday, February 28th at 9.30pm on TG4.
Directed by Paula Kehoe, the show is produced by Colm Hogan and his wive Marina Levetina. Colm as one of the country’s best cameramen and soundest blokes also shot the series, while Marina, an experienced editor cut the series. Colm and Marina are regular visitors to Russia and you can be sure that will have captured a side of the country not seen before.
Do not miss it.
The first episode of a new series I edited is to be broadcast tonight on TG4 at 9:30. Arran Mhor takes a look at life on the Donegal island over four seasons with tonights episode being about Spring. The series is made by the same people who made the wonderful series “Bhlian in Inis Oirr” and “Ag Bogadh go Inis Meain”. I loved both those shows so I was thrilled to be asked to edit this series which is something of a companion piece to the previous series. It’s directed and produced by David Power of Power Pictures and beautifully photographed by Philip Graham. The island is a very interesting place with a fascinating history that is at something of a crossroads. The documentary takes a look at the lives of the people living there now and their relationship with each other and the landscape around them.
On a personal note I was delighted with how the series turned out, I put a lot of work into it and I really hope people watch it.
TG4 9:30 tonight.
The island as you can see from the clip below is stunningly beautiful
The 3rd season of the quite excellent ‘Garrai Glas’ returns to TG4 on Tursday 13th March. The 13-parter is directed by Paula Kehoe, and produced by my friends in Abu Meida, Bríd Seoighe, Eileen Seoighe & my old secondary school buddy James Ryan.
Síle Nic Chonaonaigh returns with a new journey ahead, having just moved into a new house(its awesome) with a bare garden. She travels from her home in Galway to visit gardeners all over the country, from the wilds of Donegal to the lush hillsides of West Cork. She meets people who grow using traditional methods, people who are growing the crops their grandparents did and some who are starting from scratch. Her visits include a water garden, a food forest, an allotment and a garden filled with exotic vegetables.
She also meets many experts, some are friends we’ve visited before and some are new, such as the renowned organic gardener Klaus Laitenberger. We cook, forage and gather as we did in the last two series, and Síle also broadens her horizons, visiting a bog to learn how to cut turf, going fishing, learning about generating your own energy, hand-weaving a traditional beehive and looking at the older handcrafts such as knitting and quilting.
Above all Síle hopes to bring all she learns home to her own garden, and through the season we see it slowly taking shape, from putting in a shelterbelt and building raised beds to making the compost bay and planning for winter. The aim of Garraí Glas is to inspire and show people how to grow some of their own food at home, and we’re given plenty of tips and advice on how to do that.
The series is made special by the people in it, the characters who open their gardens to us and are happy to show us a gentler, but very achievable, life.
This christmas was really bad in terms of television, very little to get excited about. RTE showed independence day on christmas day and I can’t believe they couldn’t come up with something better then that. Seriously, Who hasn’t seen it? The British channels weren’t much better, in fact the only station to come up with anything worth watching was TG4. As well as some interesting films they also showed some very good documentaries putting their rivals in montrose to shame. There were documentaries on Ray MacNally, Luke Kelly, Micheal O’Domhnaill, Brendan O’Hehir all of which were done to a pretty high standard. They can all be watched on the tg4 player under the documentaries tab here
Also on over the Christmas period on TG4 was “Michael D – Ras go dti an aras” which was directed by David Power and edited by James Dalton. I did some additional editing on this while they were in the flurry of shooting just to help David out as he was filming. It was a really exciting project to be involved with and it was a pity I couldn’t do more because of schedules but I really enjoyed the final product. James Dalton is one of the best editors we have in this country and it showed, it was really well put together and it was also beautifully shot by Philip Graham. If you get the chance you should check it out on the TG4 player.
UPDATE: The Michael D doc is repeated on Jan 5th at 9:30
This is the text of an article that appeared in The Irish Independent two months ago now about the series “Mobs Cheanada” which was about to start at the time.
They were the bank robbers, drug barons, gangsters and murderers whose crimes formed the dark side of the Irish diaspora. They included Canada’s most notorious family, the Black Donnellys. For years they were at the centre of mayhem in Ontario and were eventually massacred themselves by vigilantes.
The story of the refugees who left Ireland for America during the Famine and afterwards is a familiar one. Poverty-stricken and oppressed, some clawed their way up to the highest ranks of politics and the law; others became notorious criminals.
The legacy of the dispossessed Irish who flooded into Canada, however, is not as well documented, but Daithí Keane, writer and director of a TV series on the other side of the Canadian dream, plans to change all that.
Last November, Keane accompanied an Abú Media film crew to Canada to chart some of the more colourful stories of the Irish immigrants for ‘Mobs Cheanada’.
The series, which features interviews with ex-gang members, families and the law, highlights the story of the disreputable Black Donnellys, murdered by their own neighbours, as well as the careers of bank robber John Hamilton, John Dillinger’s right-hand man, the legendary Stopwatch Gang, an Irish-Canadian bootlegger and drug lords.
“This is the dark side of the Irish emigrant story. It’s not all about people who went on to become successful in the police force or in politics,” says Eileen Seoighe, a producer with Abú Media. “I found the story of the Black Donnellys very intriguing. It is so Irish — land is at the centre of the story. It was a major issue in Ireland and it travelled across the Atlantic.”
Adds Keane: “The Black Donnellys had come from an experience of horror, so they arrived in Canada with a driving determination to survive.
“They would do that any way they could, even if it meant stepping outside the law. They came from a society where the law was an oppressive force, not necessarily just, and they saw it as something that was used to keep them down.
“The story of the Donnellys was hushed up for years. It’s only in the last generation that the people there have talked about it,” concludes Keane, who points out that the vigilante committee which murdered several family members had its roots in a Peace Society set up by the local Catholic priest: “It’s as Irish a story as you get.”
The Black Donnellys
The horrifying massacre of an Irish immigrant family remains one of the most infamous events in Canadian history. The story of the Black Donnellys encapsulates the volatile mix of poverty, social tension and violence that characterised the lives of many 19th-century Irish immigrants to Canada.
It all started with a squabble over land — James Donnelly, who is believed to have emigrated from north Tipperary around 1842, squatted on a 100-acre plot near the small village of Biddulph, an hour from Toronto.
On June 25, 1857, a fight broke out between Donnelly and Patrick Farrell, the man to whom the plot had been rented. Donnelly killed Farrell with a heavy hand-spike used for moving logs. “It was almost like a crowbar — he would have wielded it two-handed, and eye witnesses described him hitting Farrell across the temple with it, killing him,” says Daithí Keane.
Donnelly was convicted for the murder and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to a seven-year prison sentence.
In 1873, Donnelly’s son William set up a transport company in competition with another passenger line, sparking a feud characterised by arson attacks, the destruction of coaches and the killing of horses. The Donnellys were blamed for most of the violence and, eventually, a local vigilante group decided to take them on.
On February 4, 1880, a gang of about 35 men attacked their home. James Sr and his wife Johannah were both killed, along with their son Tom and Donnelly’s 21-year-old niece Bridget. The mob then moved on to William’s house, where they shot his brother John after mistaking him for William.
No one was convicted of the murders.
Known as the King of the Lake Ontario Rum-Runners, Ben Kerr, whose mother is believed to have come from Fermanagh, had a respectable middle-class background. However, he went on to have career as a notorious bootlegger, while his mysterious death on Lake Ontario in 1929 was clouded in rumour.
In 1920, the American government prohibited the sale of alcohol. An illicit trade in smuggling alcohol across the border sprang up. Kerr is believed to have begun running alcohol across Lake Ontario in 1920.
By the mid-1920s, efforts to enforce Prohibition in the United States had intensified, so Kerr started operating in the dangerous winter months.
“Lake Ontario has some of the most treacherous conditions of any inland waterway in Canada. Many bootleggers would have died in the 1920s in storms, which can blow up very quickly. It was very dangerous, as rival gangs of bootleggers would hijack booze from one another,” says Keane. In 1925, following a shoot-out with the Coastal Guard, Kerr was captured. After paying a hefty bail he absconded and moved his operation to the lake’s northern shores. But in February 1929, Kerr and his partner, Alf Wheat, went missing.
Their bodies were later washed ashore, but whether they died as the result of an accident or following an attack remains a mystery.
John ‘Red’ Hamilton
John ‘Red’ Hamilton was an Irish-Canadian bank robber and right-hand man to the notorious John Dillinger. Dillinger and Hamilton, whose family hailed from Omagh, became the most wanted bank robbers in the US. In the 1930s the duo were Numbers One and Three respectively on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Hamilton met Dillinger while serving a prison sentence for robbery. Dillinger was paroled in May 1933, but some months later helped several jailed friends, including Hamilton, to escape, sparking a string of bank robberies across the American Mid-West.
Hamilton later shot and killed a policeman in Chicago who, acting on a tip-off, asked him for identification.
In 1934 he went on to carry out another bank robbery in Chicago, during which another policeman was shot dead. Although Dillinger was officially charged with the murder, several witnesses indicated that Hamilton was the killer.
He accompanied the gang on a string of armed robberies until April 1934, when he was believed to have been fatally wounded by a bullet as he and the rest of the gang escaped in a car. He reportedly died on April 30, 1934, but not everybody believes it, says Keane: “According to Ed Butts, the author of a book on Hamilton’s life, the family maintained that Hamilton actually survived and returned to Canada, where he lived in seclusion on an island for the rest of his days.”
The Stopwatch Gang
Paddy Mitchell, Stephen Reid and Lionel Wright formed the colourful Stopwatch Gang. One of North America’s most notorious criminal gangs — some of their exploits formed the basis of the film ‘Point Break’ — they were dubbed the Stopwatch Gang by the press because of the large stopwatch that Irish leader Mitchell wore around his neck.
The aim? To complete each heist within two minutes. In their heyday, from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, they robbed more than 140 banks in the US and Canada and landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
The gang were known for being polite towards their victims, and for making use of diversionary tactics such as hoax phone calls about bomb threats to tie up police resources.
“They wore elaborate disguises, sometimes masks representing dead US presidents such as Nixon and John F Kennedy, and at other times dressing up as characters from Star Trek,” says Keane.
The first and most spectacular of their heists occurred at Ottawa Airport in 1974, when they stole six gold bars worth $750,000. In 1977, Mitchell was apprehended, convicted of the gold heist and other crimes and imprisoned, escaping on three occasions.
He later moved to the Philippines, but in 1994 was recognised and fled the country for the US, where he undertook one last robbery. However, he was tracked down and sentenced to 65 years in prison. He died of lung cancer in a prison hospital in 2007.
The West End Gang
Known originally as ‘the Irish Gang’, the West End Gang, dominated by Irish-Canadian criminals, grew out of the tough Montreal neighbourhoods of Griffintown and Point St Charles, where the earliest Irish immigrants had originally settled. Along with the Montreal Mafia and the Hells Angels, the West End Gang has dominated crime and the drugs trade in Montreal in recent decades.
The man often credited with establishing the West End Gang as a major force was Frank ‘Dunie’ Ryan, whose father was a native of Co Tipperary. While still in his early 20s, Ryan, who was born in Montreal in 1942, robbed a bank in Massachussetts and spent time in jail.
On his release, he returned to Montreal and entered the drugs trade in the 1970s, constructing an extensive drugs network that stretched into the US. The self-proclaimed ‘King of Montreal’ is believed to have amassed “a personal fortune of over $100 million at the height of his power”, says Keane.
In November 1984, Ryan was shot dead in a motel in Montreal. “There are different theories as to what actually happened. One version of events is that he was killed by two gangsters trying to extort money from him, but another source believes his murder was the direct result of an internal power struggle within the West End Gang.”
‘Mobs Cheanada’, which follows the award-winning programmes ‘Mobs Mheiricea’, is produced by Bríd and Eileen Seoighe from Abú Media and written and directed by Dathaí Keane. The show is broadcast on TG4 Tuesday, February 22 at 10pm for six weeks
Here is an article from iftn about TG4’s new series directed and edited by my mate Dathai. I was lucky enough to work on this show, I did the colour correction, not what I usually do but Dathai asked me to help him out. It was really a privilege as the show is one of the greatest things TG4 have ever done.
It starts next wednesday and seriously I cannot recommend something higher.
An Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD this week launched ‘1916 Seachtar na Cásca’, a new series profiling each of the 1916 Proclamation signatories. The 7 x one hour series starts on Wednesday, September 22nd.
‘1916 Seachtar na Cásca’, directed by Daithai Keane (Mobs Canada) is narrated by the Emmy winning Irish actor, Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm) and looks to tell the story of each of the seven signatories of the 1916 Easter Proclamation. Each programme in the series outlines the individual circumstances and chain of events that led each man towards his respective role in the Rising, one of the most defining moments in 20th century Irish history.
This is the first major television series on the 1916 Rising since the 50th anniversary in 1966 and goes in search of the men, their backgrounds and their families. Audiences will learn that one signatory was crippled by polio at the advanced age of 28 whilst another spent eight years studying for the priesthood and yet another spent 15 long years in a British jail before 1900, convicted of Republican crimes.
The series is produced for TG4 by Abú Media and was produced by Pierce Boyce (Clontarf). The script was written by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh and the series’ music was composed by Ronan Browne (Gangs of New York). This project received funding from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision scheme as well as benefitting from the Section 481 support schemes for audio-visual production.
Producer Pierce Boyce and director Dathaí Keane joined with TG4 Ardstiúrthóir Pól Ó Gallchóir in presenting a DVD copy of the series to An Taoiseach this week (pictured). ‘1916 Seachtar na Cásca’ will start its broadcast on TG4 from next Wednesday, September 22nd at 9.30pm.