Irish language film, An Cailín Ciúin, starring Catherine Clinch (top), from the Cine4 scheme by TG4, Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will be released in cinemas across Ireland and the UK from May 12.
Deirdre Ní Choistín writes:
The film is distributed by Break Out Pictures in Ireland and by Curzon in the UK. The Irish-language feature film had its world premiere in February at the Berlinale film festival in Berlin where it scooped The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for Best Film. It was the first Irish language film to open the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival also in February and was awarded Best Irish Film by the Dublin Film Critics Circle (DFCC).
TG4 funded films have received thirteen nominations for this year’s IFTA Film and Drama awards. The nominations were announced this morning. An Cailín Ciúin (top)has received ten nominations and Foscadh (centre), two nominations and Doineann has one nomination. An Cailín Ciúin and Foscadh are films from CINE4, an initiative between TG4, Fís Éireann and the BAI, to develop Irish language feature films. Doineann is a film from the Gealán scheme funded by TG4, BBC Gaeilge and the Northern Ireland Screen Irish Language Broadcast Fund.
‘Contractors’ is a fascinating seven-part observational entertainment-based documentary series exploring the working lives and personal narratives of 7 agricultural contracting families from diverse locations over a critical six month period from April to September: a unique practical and personal insight into contemporary life in rural Ireland.
Featuring 7 feisty contracting crews from Limerick, Kerry, Meath, Tipperary, Galway, Donegal and Clare, the series highlights their professional challenges, the high and lows of their daily routine and their hopes and dreams, presenting a no-holds barred portrait of 7 extraordinary crews for hire – all members of an agricultural sub-economy without which farming would not be possible.
From top: Don Baker; Lisa Lawlor; Úna Ní Bhroin, Seán Binder and presenter Orla O’Donnell
The documentary strand Finné (‘Witness’) returns on February 2 for a fourth season to TG4.
Filmed over 12 months by Galway’s Tua Films and presented by RTÉ’s courts correspondent, Orla O’Donnell, Finné is a ‘warts and all re-telling of riveting first person testimonies’.
Deirdre Ní Choistín writes:
Finné delves deep and narrow in to one person’s story rather than giving a general overview of these events that made the news over the past 40 years. Here, we recount intimate stories of triumphs and traumas, of Davids and Goliaths, of dogged resilience and human frailties.
Week 1: Lisa Lawlor recounts how she was orphaned as a baby when her young parents died in the Stardust fire in 1981. She became known as the ‘Stardust Baby’, and in this episode, she recalls her experience of growing up as the poster girl for this tragedy that still haunts the North Dublin community of Artane to this day.
Week 2: Like many a blues man, Don Baker had a challenging upbring in the Dublin tenements of the 1960s, where he resorted to petty crime and eventually ended up in the notorious Daingean Reformatory School in Co. Offaly. He struggled with addiction throughout his life despite tremendous success as an actor and musician, but now at 70, he reflects on his career with a wisdom that only the distance of time can bring.
Week 3: In 1997, environmental activist Úna Ní Bhroin learned of Wicklow County Council’s plans to widen the road through the Glen of the Downs, and she took to living in the trees to halt the development. In 2000, she was among 12 protesters known as eco-warrios who were arrested and sent to prison for trespassing. 25 years later, Úna reflects on the campaign and whether or not it was successful in raising awareness of environmental issues in Ireland.
Week 4: Kerryman Seán Binder was arrested while working as a volunteer rescuer during the migrant crisis in Greece in 2018. Seán recounts his voluntary work on the island of Lesbos and the three months he spent in a Greek prison whilst fighting to clear his name. He is still awaiting a trial date for the charges which include money laundering, espionage and people smuggling, charges that still hang over him like a sword of Damocles…
Week 5: Rachel Moran spent 7 years from the age of 15 living and working as a prostitute on the streets of Dublin. She recalls in particular how various cultural and legislative changes drove prostitution indoors – into the hands of pimps and making the women more vulnerable to violence. Now an acclaimed writer and activist, Rachel reflects on her time on the streets, and chronicles her life-long campaign to criminalise the purchase of sex.
Week 6: Limerick man Roy Galvin grew up in Limerick’s inner city and became the first male ballet dancer in Ireland. Here, he reflects on his extraordinary career as a musician and professional ballet dancer, while also recounting his story of growing up gay in a very different Ireland.
Finné begins on Wednesday, February 2 on TG4 at 9.30pm.
3.6m people or 81% of the population watched TG4 at some stage during 2021. The average viewing share for 2021 was 1.89%, up from 1.83% in 2020, and there was an increase in primetime share from 1.92% in 2020 to 2.05% in 2021. This increase is the first time TG4 has had over 2% share in primetime since 2013….There were over 3m views last year to the TG4 Player between live viewing and VoD…
…. The most watched documentary in 2021 was Martin McGuinness, a film that assessed the life and legacy of Martin McGuinness. The documentary had an average audience of 75,000. A documentary about the most hated woman in Irish history Peig Sayers was also very popular with viewers. Sinéad Ní Uallacháin went on a rebranding mission in PEIG, to change her memory in our minds forever. The documentary was watched by 74,000 people and had an average share of 6.1%.
A new documentary series – an Irish/Welsh BBC/TG4 co-production by Tua Films & One Tribe TV – on the Celtic coasts.
Linda Ní Ghríofa writes:
This landmark natural history series sees naturalist Eoin Warner (top) take viewers on a breath-taking journey of discovery around the spectacular Celtic coasts of Ireland and Wales, exploring the extraordinary hidden wildlife around our shores – from our shallows to the deep.
Iontais na bhFarraigí Ceilteacha was filmed over two years in Ultra High Definition (UHD) by some of the filmmakers behind natural history series Blue Planet, in a corner of these islands which has never previously been explored in such sumptuous detail – Ireland’s sunny southeast and the Welsh coast.
The camera team has captured an incredible array of species including blue sharks, basking sharks and Fin whales – all swimming and hunting off our Celtic shores. From Wexford’s Saltee Islands, Eoin observes the guillemots – seabirds that can ‘fly’ underwater, and we also encounter the humble blenny fish getting washed-up – but the blenny can breathe on land!
Our team has captured some remarkable and exciting new behaviours that have never been filmed in Celtic waters before: such as the courtship rituals of bottle-nosed dolphins as well as astonishing footage of basking sharks congregating off the Irish coast.
Our dive team also filmed the wonders of the Celtic deep where we discover sex-shifting cuckoo wrasse, huge sea urchins, ancient lobsters and a giant conger eel, all hiding in a wreck.
Iontais na bhFarraigí Ceilteacha begins on Wednesday, January 12 at 9.30pm on TG4.
Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair (My Grandfather) on TG4
Linda Ní Ghríofa writes:
Fifty years after his death in October 1971, his granddaughter; musician and broadcaster Doireann Ní Ghlacáin (top), resolves to find out more about this divisive and iconic figure. As she investigates her own heritage, by charting her grandfather’s life and times, we uncover the true Ó Riada in a moving tribute to this giant of Irish cultural life.
This is a seminal feature length documentary which gives an intimate portrayal of Seán Ó Riada like never seen before. Produced by Táin Media alongside multi-Oscar nominated Executive Producer Jim Sheridan for TG4, with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund and University College Cork.
Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair on Stephen’s Day on TG4 at 9.20pm.
Peter O’Toole was known throughout the world as Lawrence of Arabia (top), as a hell-raising actor and as an Irishman. His distinguished career saw him conquer the stage and screen as one of our greatest movie stars.
However, between his time on stage and screen, O’Toole spent his life in Connemara, a place he called home, a place that offered him a refuge and respite from the pressures of the world of entertainment.
Featuring rare family archive and interviews with his daughter Kate O’Toole, friends and co-stars, including Twiggy, Brian Blessed and Irish co-stars Bryan Murray, Jim Bartley and Mary Coughlan, Peter O’Toole – Realta & Rogaire is the definitive account of the life and career of one of our greatest movie stars and his enduring love of Ireland. Produced by Dearg Films.
Peter O’Toole – Réalta & Rógaire on TG4 on Christmas Day at 9.25pm.
A trawl through the annals of Irish traditional music will quickly demonstrate that the Uilleann Pipes, one of our two national instruments, was almost completely dominated by players of the male sex throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
In this feature-length documentary film, we will follow renowned musician Louise Mulcahy (at top playing pipes owned by uilleann virtuoso Liam Óg O’Flynn) on an exciting journey to uncover the neglected stories of a group of incredible female pipers that were airbrushed out of our cultural history.
This vibrant and entertaining documentary is decorated with some incredible musical performances from Louise, Michelle and Mick Mulcahy, Máire Ní Ghráda, Molly Ní Ghrada, Mary Mitchell-Ingoldsby, Rosaleen O’Leary, Heather Clarke, Marion McCarthy, Síle Friel, Jane Walls, The Rowsome family, Paddy Moloney and many more.
Mná na bPíob on Sunday, December 19 at 9.30pm on TG4.