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Robert Flaherty - A Boatload of Wild Irishmen

Robert Flaherty Feature Doc to Begin Post Production


31 Jul 2009 |


Robert Flaherty
Editing will begin shortly on 'A Boatload of Wild Irishmen', a feature length documentary on Robert Flaherty, who became one of documentary cinema's most influential figures directing and producing the 1922 feature length film 'Nanook of the North'.

Written by Brian Winston, an Emmy award-winning documentary script-writer, 'A Boatload of Wild Irishmen' is being produced/directed and shot by Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín. The actor (and Aran Islander) Macdara Ó Fátharta will narrate the Irish language version of the film. An English language version for international distribution may be produced at a later time.

The documentary will explain the importance of Robert Flaherty, over the dramatic footage he took of a currach caught in a monstrous sea (from Man of Aran, 1934). He was the first to see that film of the every day life of 'real' people could be moulded into dramatic, entertaining narratives: but, by the same token, he is also the father of manipulation and distortion as well as being a bridge whereby stereotypes of exotic peoples (including Aran Islanders of the 1930s) became part of cinema.

The prime-source of imagery for the documentary will be the Flaherty film archive including 'Nanook of the North', 'Moana; The Pottery Maker' (1925); 'The 24 Dollar Island' (1926/7) and 'Man of Aran'.

This will be augmented by contemporary photography of various locations in Ireland, England, the USA, Canada and Samoa; his stills; other archival materials including 'Man of Aran: How the Myth was Filmed' and interviews with Mrs Frances Flaherty, Colman 'Tiger' King (recorded by Breandán Ó hÉithir in England in the 1970s) and Portrait of Robert Flaherty (a BBC radio documentary of 1952 with interviews with Flaherty, among others).

Editing will take place over the next six to eight weeks in Lincon, UK, and will be overseen by David Sleitht.

The film was funded by the BCI, TG4, the Irish Film Board, EM Media (U.K.), and MEDIA Europa.