BTS on my latest short film

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A screen grab from the film, as Packie collected his thoughts before launching into another story. Image by Keith Arkins

A couple of weeks ago, I made the journey down to a small town outside Kilrush in County Clare called Doonbeg. As well as being the home to a well known golf course, it’s also home to my grandfather, a 93 year old dairy farmer. Born in 1919, he has lived, and continues to live, a very fruitful life. Throughout the years during our many visits to the farm, we would be happily subjected to his many stories about his adventures, as well as what it was like to grow up in Ireland throughout the 20th century. As the oldest member of the parish he has lived through England’s occupation of the country and their infamous Black & Tans, as well as the Second World War and everything before and after. One evening myself and my cousin Adrian decided that these stories should be recorded for our families’ history before it was lost. This happened to coincide with my growing interest in DSLR filmmaking. A happy coincidence!

That weekend was the key shooting day in my opinion. It was our opportunity to get the footage of him telling his stories on camera. The rest was, and could always be, filmed at a later stage depending on my work schedule. There are already some scenes I know I’ll have to get back down to the south west to film in order to tie in with certain stories. However, this has been a great start. Just to watch the playback on the laptop of him talking about everything from visits from the Black and Tans to helping rebuild London after the war, and from watching all his siblings leave Ireland for good to make their fortunes in America, to close encounters with banshees…..These are the type of stories which are dying out across Ireland as our older generations leave us. Stories which are no longer getting passed down to the next generation. The days of sitting around the kitchen table and conversing have been replaced with iPads, gaming stations, and Simon Cowell.

I cannot recite his stories, or even tell them the way he does. I can, however, use what I have to record these important elements of the family tree, so that future generations of our families can listen to these stories straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I only hope to God our future generations are not watching everything in holographic form, because I’m only able to record in 1080p!

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Behind the Scenes screen grab from the GoPro Hero1 as we downloaded all the footage from the day. Image by Adrian Connell.


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