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Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books Classics) by Tim Robinson">Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books Classics) by Tim Robinson
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How the Myth Was Made: Man of Aran


Kate and Peter Faherty with their friend Colin Tom (center), whose parents worked with Flaherty, watch scenes from family life on a battery-powered 9" monitor. Photo by George C. Stoney, Fall 1976


George Stoney is the legendary pioneer of documentary filmmaking and the son of an Aran islander.

An acclaimed professor of film at NYU University, his insightful documentary How the Myth Was Made: A Study of Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran  exploded some misconceptions about America's famous filmmaker.

By going back to interview islanders who took part in the orignal documentary he was able to unravel how Flaherty had played fast an loose with the facts to make his tale of the islanders even more heroic and dramatic.

Now an acclaimed professor of film at NYU University. Stoney, was also director of the National Film Board of Canada's Challenge for Change project and is considered to be the father of public access television. He is also the director numerous documentary films including All My Babies and The Uprising of '34.
 See his speech below on the importance of filmmakers working honestly with their subjects.

Stoney, was director of the National Film Board of Canada's Challenge for Change project and is considered to be the father of public access television. He is also the director numerous documentary films including All My Babies and The Uprising of '34.

now read on after the jump

RTE One - Currachs on Inis Méain 1977

Hat tip to Una Ni Choinceanainn for pointing out this beautifuly filmed and narrated  documentary about the use of currachs in daily life on Inis Méain in the never-ending summer of 1977.
"Hands" was an Irish television program that showcased some of the country's finest craftsmen and women. Who do you recognise in this short film?  Please tell

Mystery of the basking shark

Basking shark.jpg


ANOTHER LIFE: Arriving once, in innocence and at the wrong or right time (depending on one's sensibilities) at the cliffs above Achill's Keem Bay, I found myself watching the execution of a large basking shark trapped in nets in the water below. As a lance was thrust from the crowding currachs, the scene had little in common with bold battles in wild seas re-enacted for Flaherty's famous "documentary" Man of Aran. Blood trailed briefly through the limpid water as the beast was towed ashore for the great oily liver that made, perhaps, one third of its weight.

Forty years on from the peak of the Achill enterprise that killed 12,342 of the world's second largest fish, Irish marine researchers have had an amazing summer. In forays off Inishowen in Co Donegal and around the Blasket Islands off Kerry, they caught up with no fewer than 101 of the sharks swimming at the surface and reached out from their rib with extendable painter's poles to plant colour- coded tags in the dorsal fins.

Even a decade ago, remarkably little was known about the comings and goings of Cetorhinus maximus.What had been sorted out was its maximum size (rarely more than 10 metres) and phenomenal, open- mouthed throughput of ocean (nearly 1,500 cubic metres every hour) to gulp the pink-centred zooplankton, Calanus, that fills its stomach with something like tomato ketchup.

The big mystery was where the animals went in winter.....

read more here

Michael Viney welcomes observations at Thallabawn, Carrowniskey PO, Westport, Co Mayo. E-mail : Include a postal address

Originally published by MICHAEL VINEY.

(c) 2009 Irish Times.

No secret now as Spielberg's cover blown in Ireland!

Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw in secret vacation in Ireland
Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw in secret vacation in Ireland

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has been on a secret summer vacation in Ireland.

Spielberg, along with his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, and their teenage son have criss-crossed the country from the windswept Aran Islands to the Burren to plush Rathmines in Dublin.

They stayed at Ballyvaughan country holiday homes in the Burren before moving to the east coast.

Officials have dampened down rumors that the Oscar-winning director is scouting the country for a movie location.

A spokeswoman for The Irish, Film and Television Network said: "As far as we are aware Steven Spielberg is not working on a film in Ireland at the moment."

Just last month, Spielberg and Capshaw did a "pilgrimage" walk in Ireland which included poetry, spiritualism and walking on Inis Mor and trips in County Clare.

There were concerns over Spielberg's fitness as he had to use an electric bicycle to climb the hilltop ruins at Dun Aonghas on Inis Mor.

read more 

Thanks IrishCentral.Com for the breathless report, but course readers of already knew about Spielberg's trip from our earlier reporting. Spielberg-is-spellbound-by-aran


Love & Savagery
John N. Smith's Canada-Ireland co-production 'Love & Savagery' shot in Inis Mor and in Clare will be receiving its world premiere screening at the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival (27 August - 7 September), also screening is documentary 'Child of the Dead End'.

Love and Savagery is a story of passion, fate, and the consequences of the two. In 1968, Newfoundland geologist and poet, Michael McCarthy, travels to Ballyvaughan to examine the "Burren" a geological wonder. There he meets Cathleen, a beautiful woman who captures his heart, but because of the path she chose when she was young she cannot allow him to capture hers. Savagery erupts when Michael's persistence collides with the townspeople's hostility toward a foreigner's attempt to intervene with divinity. Cathleen has to choose between a desire that she has recently discovered and a desire that she has felt throughout most of her life. Which will she choose? The love of a man, or the love of God? Can she love both? Is she strong enough to make the right choice?

Back in May, a negative of a 35mm film was sent through Canada customs by way of Ireland. Canada customs decided that since Ireland is that that title was just indecent, they held the film up....even though with producers in Quebec and Ireland, the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corp. and the Irish Film Board were backing the film,...

Featuring in the festival's World Greats strand, 'Love & Savagery' is produced by St. John's-based Barbara Doran of Morag Loves Company and Lynne Wilson for Newfoundland alongside Kevin Tierney of Montreal-based Park Ex Pictures for Quebec. Tristan Orpen Lynch (Proof) of Subotica Entertainment, Ireland, is executive producer.

Commenting on the selection of the Irish co-produced film for the Montreal Festival, executive producer Tristan told IFTN: "We are delighted that 'Love and Savagery' has been chosen to premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. This is a poetic and charming love story which we shot in the West of Ireland - emerging Irish actress Sarah Greene delivers a remarkable performance in the female lead role."


The $6.3m film which was partly shot in County Clare and Inis Mor last year, was written by screenwriter Des Walsh with Pierre Latarte director of photography.

Set in 1969, 'Love & Savagery' follows a young Newfoundland scientist who set off to explore Ireland's geology only to discover his one true love. The young woman's plans to enter the church are sorely tested, as are the community's traditions.

Canadian actor Allan Hawco and Irish actress Sarah Greene star in the lead roles with support from Martha Burns, Sean Panting, Macdara O'Fatharta and Nicholas Campbell. Other Irish crew involved in he production include; Supervising producer Jo Homewood; Production designer Padraig O'Neill; Art director Michael Moynihan and Location manager Colm Nolan.

Finance for the film was provided by Telefilm Canada, The Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation and the Irish Film Board.

Also chosen to be screened at the Montreal World Film Festival is 'Child of the Dead End' a documentary by Desmond Bell, which draws upon a rich vein of early cinema archive and live action shot in Ireland, Scotland and England.

'Child of The Dead End' tells the touching story of poet, novelist, dramatist and Screen writer Patrick MacGill played by Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea.

The production, which involved two shoots in Donegal, one in Cloughaneely, Poison Glen and Glenties in May of 2008 and a second in Glenties and around Mount Errigal in August of the same year, was produced by Glass Machine Productions; Elle Kent, Rebecca Dover and edited by Simon Hipkins, director of photography on the project was Sam Mitchell.

Read more here

Spielberg is spellbound by Aran


HOLLYWOOD director and producer Steven Spielberg spent a day on the Aran Islands last week as part of an eight day visit to the West of Ireland.

Mr Spielberg and his wife, the actress Kate Capshaw were part of a David Whyte tour to Ireland, which involves poetry, spiritualism and walking tours taking in pilgrimage sites.

Mr Spielberg has made hundreds of films including Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, The Color Purple and the Indiana Jones movies.

Dun Aengus by the sea

The walking group stayed in cottages in County Clare for the most part but last Thursday they spent a full day on Inis Mór, where the highlight was a visit to Dun Aonghusa, the cliff top fort ruins.

The group cycled to the fort in the early afternoon and Mr Spielberg was one of the group that used motorised bicycles, as most of the journey is uphill on the way there.

At Dun Aonghusa, Mr Spielberg chatted easily with OPW staff, who man the heritage site during the summer season and had his photograph taken with them.

More at The Connacht Tribune

Dun Aonghusa

British Sea Power soundtrack to the Man of Aran

Clip of band British Sea Power playing their soundtrack to the Man of Aran at the Tan Hill Festival 2008

British Sea Power record for Flaherty's "Man of Aran" film

British Sea Power are recording a new soundtrack for Man Of Aran, Robert J. Flaherty's 1934 'docufiction' on life in the Aran Islands. Half Irish on his father's side, the American filmmaker's CV also include Nanook Of The North, Elephant Boy and Louisiana Story. Along with a live performance next spring in the British Film Institute, the score will also grace the DVD re-release of the movie, which is currently being arranged by Flaherty's estate. A live performance of the soundtrack was played along to The Man of Aran during the Edinburgh Film Festival in The Caves. Watch a somewhat dodgy bootleg of the recording here: