To Hell With Irish Trolls, Africa Is Calling

at | 88 Replies

From top: Terry McMahon’s impending African thriller Caged in the Creeks; article in The Guardian (Nigeria) newspaper.

Terry McMahon writes:

Even though I stopped writing for Broadsheet because of poisonous psychos hiding behind pseudonyms, I see that a recent powerful post detailing a video about incredibly brave people fighting for rights to medicinal cannabis in Ireland is still somehow lassoed by another moronic troll as a means to insult me. With yet another lie.

But the facts don’t matter to trolls. Or the truth. They simply need to defecate. Everywhere. Poor souls.

The world is a big and beautiful place. Small-minded psychos shouldn’t be allowed to define its conversations. What Broadsheet does in Ireland is important. Writing for readers who care about something beyond a troll’s obsessive need for keyboard attacks is an honour.

So, to hell with the trolls.

The keyboard warriors. The anonymous cowards. The pseudonym psychos. No doubt they’re already frenziedly trashing out their rebuttals with their usual charm and chlamydia-infected fingertips.

But that’s enough about the troglodyte cowardice of Irish trolls. Africa is calling. Big, beautiful, brave Africa.

In Ireland, there seem to be select filmmakers who get offered movies no matter what they do. Some of them can even make back-to-back duds and still secure finance for their next film.

Then, there are the rest of us. People whose track record is also irrelevant. In a destructive way.

The last film I directed won multiple awards internationally, and three IFTAs at home, yet there wasn’t a single offer to direct another film from anyone in Ireland.

Not one.

And believe me, I wasn’t sitting on my arrogant arse, waiting for handouts, I reached out to everyone. Nothing. Nada. I couldn’t even secure an unpaid apprenticeship on the television show Vikings.

For my third film, I desperately wanted to make a passion project, ‘The Dancehall Bitch,’ a deeply provocative prison drama about the nature of coercion and sexual violence.

The two leading actors of my previous films, Emmett Scanlan and Moe Dunford were as equally passionate about the project as I was. There was a kind of poetry in these two previously unknown actors, who are now trailblazing their way across the world stage, joining each other for our third film together.

Also, in an era when the dangers of violent masculinity and the obscenity of coercive rape are two of the most contentious conversations in our culture, I also believed our timing couldn’t have been better.

These were two superb young Irish actors who completely trusted their Irish director – all of whom had now proven themselves on that international stage – and we were ready to make a provocative picture about the national narrative like this country had never seen.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Irish Film Board turned the project down.

The same happened with several other projects. Evidently, the kind of cinema I wanted to make was not the kind of cinema they wanted to make.

The political landscape had changed. Certain films were taboo now. Just like certain directors. Paying the mortgage became an increasingly difficult task.

I also had a new kid. Mouths to be fed. So, with twenty-five years of teaching experience, I applied to advertised positions in colleges.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I had taught in several of these colleges in the past, consistently generating remarkable testimonials from the pupils. It may not have been filmmaking but facilitating students in finding their voices can still be incredibly creative.

Then the penny dropped. I didn’t even make the shortlist for many of the interviews. Later it would be revealed that the positions had often gone to people significantly less qualified than me.

And that’s when you begin to get worried.

Five years after ‘Patrick’s Day‘ won the Galway Film Fleadh and The Cork Film Festival, every filmmaker who had made the big films in those festivals that year had gone on to make another film. Sometimes two.

Every filmmaker except the one who had won both festivals. In those five years, I had become increasingly involved in the politics of austerity and the sickening policies of our government. I had been asked to make some speeches. They caused serious backlash.

I broke some cultural rules that are not meant to be broken. Apollo House didn’t help either. Everyone is equal in this new era of equality. Except for the ones who can’t swallow the lie. I was out. Finito.

I would have killed to make my third film in Ireland. I adore our country. I adore Irish people. With a passion that’s almost embarrassing. Most of them, anyway. But telling the truth these days in Ireland is punishable by career death.

Yet, the Gods of Film are a gloriously fickle bunch. The audacity you are punished for in your own country can be the very thing that ignites the imagination of another.

And nowhere on earth embraces audacity more than Africa.

They don’t care that you took some small action against the government’s murderous austerity. They admire it. They don’t care that you want to use film to shake up the world. They insist upon it.

They don’t care that you’re a pink-skinned, black-listed Paddy who can’t keep his damned mouth shut. They love it.

The only thing our African brothers really care about is whether or not you’ll put everything on the line to make a movie. And that’s the only thing I care about too. Which is why I love those magnificent men and women right back. Almost as much as I love the trolls.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

88 thoughts on “To Hell With Irish Trolls, Africa Is Calling

      1. millie st murderlark

        A screaming part if it’s the scene I’m thinking of.

        Wasn’t David Murray of The Guarantee (remember that movie?) in it too? He had a speaking part.

        Reply
  1. missred

    Well, good luck there Terry, I mean that sincerely. Ireland is very self contained, so it is. Hope that you find Nollywood works in a better way for you in film.

    Reply
    1. catsiglierie

      I also wish him luck with the new project, but I would flag the homogenising use of ‘they’ in the closing sections of this piece. I’m sure it’s accidental, but referring to the entire continent of Africa and its diverse peoples as one singular entity, which the use of ‘they’ clearly does, has long been the convention of the citizens of the ‘occident’ who perceive such spheres as ‘other’, and essentially evidences the logic of the coloniser / oppressor / racist.

      Consulting any history of Africa would also underline the extent to which the claims made about these people are incredibly reductive and ignorant of the brutality of local politics. But I suppose that’s an argument for another day…

      Reply
        1. catsiglierie

          So to point out there are differences between the peoples of Morocco, the Ivory Coast, Lesotho, and South Africa, for example, is to reveal some deep affliction?

          Reply
      1. f_lawless

        Triggered by a reference to Africans as “they” rather than by a reference to them as “bastards”?
        Political correctness in full swing sure is a mysterious phenomenon

        Reply
        1. anne

          So it wasn’t limerick you caught it from… the rathkeale travellers have standards huh. but yeah, you’d stick it anywhere.. eeewwww.

          Reply
  2. Cian

    “Even though I stopped writing for Broadsheet because of poisonous psychos hiding behind pseudonyms, I see that a recent powerful post detailing a video about incredibly brave people fighting for rights to medicinal cannabis in Ireland is still somehow lassoed by another moronic troll as a means to insult me. With yet another lie.”

    I opened that other article – and can’t see you being insulted there at all. Was the comment deleted?

    Reply
  3. Rob_G

    Terry has received an offer of financing from a prince there; he only needs to pay the bank transfer fees to get the $10,000,000.

    Reply
  4. Teresa

    Good luck in your new venture Terry. I suspect the Film Board have broken many talented hearts and will continue to do so.

    Reply
    1. Cú Chulainn

      Quite so. The worst form of insult. The Film Board may be creatively challenged.. but to make Charlie Casonova and Patrick’s Day and criticise others for commercial failure is just a tad rich. But that’s how Terry rolls.. it’s always someone’s else’s fault.

      Reply
  5. george

    Maybe he isn’t getting work because of his personality. Not everyone wants to work with or fund someone who squeezes other people’s testicles against their will.

    Reply
    1. Cian

      Funny – that was my first thought too.

      If you have a problem with one or two people… maybe it’s them. if you have a problem with everybody… it’s probably you.

      Reply
  6. Clampers Outside !

    Have ya moved on from making personal and homophobic comments about the Taoiseach and his partner Terry, I wonder.
    Maybe it’s your attitude Terry, that attracts the trolls to you, I dunno.

    Anyway, good luck with whatever yiz get up to in Nollywood…. an Irish movie with the sun shining is always a good start :)

    Reply
  7. Verbatim

    Changing times when an Irish man goes to Africa to feed his children; best not to cross the Irish elite. No point in blaming trolls on BS…that sounds like bs.
    Good luck with your new ventures, one day you’ll be able to say, “See I told youse” or maybe you’ll have wised-up by then…!

    Reply
    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      He’ll be able to feed the continent when he slices up the huge chip on his shoulder into spice bag portions.

      Reply
  8. Wellness

    Lenny Abrahamson is a brilliant director. There is a searing honesty to his work and he never resorts to the simplistic good cop/bad cop routine.

    Reply
    1. Lilly

      Exactly what I was thinking. Lenny is not one to hold back on criticism of social ills but it doesn’t stop him getting work.

      Reply
  9. rotide

    What a bunch of self promoting narcisstic untruthful guff.

    Anyone wondering WHY you haven’t recieved funding just needs to read this ‘article’ for reasons why.

    Emmet Scannell was a pretty well known actor across the water and Charlie Cassanova certainly did nothing to increase his reputation. Mainly because it was a steaming pile of excrement. Patricks Day wasn’t bad but it was no East is East or Garage either. Moe Dunford probably got a lot of more exposure from Handsome Devil than Patricks Day but hey, you can claim that one.

    There’s plenty of Irish filmmakers who have found it difficult to get funding for features even after making succesful films. Lock Out while being no oscar winner more than made its money back and the directors haven’t made anything since. After making East is East and Inside I’m Dancing, Damien O’Donnell hasn’t made a feature since and they are incredible pieces of work.

    Your tone in this piece is blaming everyone and everything for your lack of funding without ever accepting anu responsibility. A true great Aaron Sorkin, wrote these lines for the opening of The Social Network which maybe you could learn a thing or two from :
    “You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an a$$hole.”

    But hey, I’m just an anonymous troll

    Reply
    1. SOQ

      I think ALL trolls on Broadsheet should declare the newspaper they write for.

      Let’s start with The Irish News in Belfast…

      Reply
  10. Harry M

    This reads like Terry’s interview on An Irishman Abroad where even Jarlath Regan, who is notorious for agreeing with everything that his interviewees utter, suggested Terry might be a little bitter and paranoid and completely focused negatives and perceived slights.

    Terry did well to make a movie like Charlie Casanova on a shoe string, and the marketing of it was excellent. That is the positive.

    Instead he focuses on its commercial failure despite the fact, he thinks, that it was essentially the same movie as What Richard Did by Abrahamson. And therein lies the issues with Terry’s perspective as evidenced in his written piece screenshotted above – he is unable to tell the difference between a good concept and a good movie:
    If Charlie Casanova had similar themes to What Richard Did, even if they were remarkable themes, that doesn’t mean it was good to watch.
    If no one wanted to make his movie’s after Patrick’s Day, that is not because he is working class and has “no right” to make a movie, “who does he think he is”, they don’t give a toss about any of that, they just want the movie to be good.

    And, while I’m in a mood for constructive criticism, Terry’s writing is incredibly monotone and fairly immature and dated to use so so gritty language at every opportunity. People care more for realistic dialogue these days.

    What Terry has got going for him is drive, passion, and experience. If he could grow up and stop blaming his shortcomings on the world it would do wonders for the man,

    Maybe try to make someone else’s script next time T?

    Reply
  11. Johnny Keenan

    Good man Terry.
    It’s very heartening to see mother Africa embrace a good Irish artist.

    Nigerian history and culture is similar to Ireland. National colours national saint and same colonial oppressor.
    Not to forget the corruption.

    In my experience the people are great craíc.
    They have a strong history of protest to.

    I have absolutely no doubt you will continue to push the boundaries of possibility and go again where most established artists don’t have the vision knowledge and balls to go.

    All the greats had to leave the ole sod to get a clear prospective.

    I’m thankful that you share your informed insights, angry rants, passionate pleas, thoughtful dreams and hilarious anecdotes here on Broadsheet.

    I look forward to reading your progress on this project.

    Safe journey and keep the faith you beautiful bastard

    ‘My people are scared of the air around them, they always have an excuse not to fight for freedom’ Fela Kuti

    Reply
  12. McVitty

    “Even though I stopped writing for Broadsheet because of poisonous psychos hiding behind pseudonyms, I see that a recent powerful post detailing a video about incredibly brave people fighting for rights to medicinal cannabis in Ireland is still somehow lassoed by another moronic troll as a means to insult me. With yet another lie.

    But the facts don’t matter to trolls. Or the truth. They simply need to defecate. Everywhere. Poor souls.

    The world is a big and beautiful place. Small-minded psychos shouldn’t be allowed to define its conversations. What Broadsheet does in Ireland is important. Writing for readers who care about something beyond a troll’s obsessive need for keyboard attacks is an honour.”

    ————————————————————————————————————

    Terry, I was one of the relatively few people who commented on that thread. I think I was measured as was everybody else. We’ve stopped having national conversations because of “small-minded” people who cannot defend their arguments with any degree of sincerity. Calling anybody on that thread a troll is very poor of you. The most offhand comments queried whether people would feel the same if a certain prominent Irish businessman cornered the cannabis market – and that in itself should be food for thought.

    Reply
    1. Johnny Keenan

      Mcvitty
      I’m empathising with you. You have a lot to say. I feel your pain anguish and solutions. It’s better to play the ball and not the player though

      Reply
  13. Sean D

    Terry is one the most generous and genuine people you could meet. He does lots of voluntary work with underprivileged people and gives his time to anyone who needs it. What has the world come to when one persons opinion is so viciously assaulted with such cheap and ill thought out jibes. He produced a good film for next to nothing and followed that up with one the best Irish films of the last decade. Art does not need to be a commercial success to prove it to be a masterpiece. Maybe that is what is wrong with peoples opinion, success can be quantified in many ways. Do you want a filmmaker to take the easy road? or push the boundaries of Irish cinema? I guess your answer to this question defines you more than you can ever define him.

    Reply
    1. Lilly

      You are entitled to your opinion, but that’s all it is, an opinion. Charlie Casanova was a massive waste of time for everyone involved, particularly the viewer IMO.

      Reply
    2. Clampers Outside !

      “Do you want a filmmaker to take the easy road? or push the boundaries of Irish cinema?” …em, Terry hasn’t pushed any boundaries. As pointed out in earlier comments, his choice of themes have largely been covered by others as well. That’s not boundary pushing, as far I can see. And I don’t see any unfair comment regarding his craft… some opinions, that’s it.

      Regarding his charity work, well done that fella. But that’s not what he’s moaning about, is it….

      What people have commented on is his attitude, and portrayal of himself as some sort of victim of some imagined conspiracy. Maybe re-read the comments.

      Reply
  14. Spaghetti Hoop

    ‘And nowhere on earth embraces audacity more than Africa.’

    I only read this piece because of the headline, and this line really made me laugh. Where exactly is the author referring to? It’s a massive continent of 54 countries and I don’t think ’embracing audacity’ is a shared trait. Reminds me of when Marian Finucane was interviewing some TV chef – Dundon I think – about his work in Kenya and he said he had visited South Africa once and so was somewhat familiar with the place.

    Is this guy getting a grant for a movie production in the host country or just moving there to shoot because Ireland has let him down? It’s not really clear. I hope he gets some good advice anyhow.

    Reply
  15. KevBar

    “Coercive rape.”
    What’s that?
    The opposite to consensual rape.
    Enjoy Africa.

    And re the comments above re Lenny Abrahamson.
    Yes Lenny too is politically active.
    He’s also a gentleman. An intellectual. And a true aesthete.
    On top of that, which may be pertinent here, Lenny is very modest for a man of vast talent.

    Reply

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