A Boatload of Wild Irishmen (2010)

UK Premiere at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
on Monday, November 8 2010

at BUVFC - BFI April 2012

A FILM written by a University of Lincoln professor will soon be making its UK premiere.
Professor Brian Winston is the associate producer and writer of A Boatload Of Wild Irishmen, which focuses on the life of controversial American documentary-maker Robert Flaherty.
Co-produced by the University of Lincoln and supported by EM Media, it explores the moral complexities of the man credited with being the father of the modern documentary after he produced and directed Nanook Of The North in 1922.

The film draws heavily on Professor Winston's academic research into the documentary.
He said: "Flaherty was the first to work out how to transform film of real people going about their everyday lives from mere shapeless surveillance- camera observation into a dramatic, enthralling narrative – and that, in essence, is what documentary is.
"This was a brilliant breakthrough, but it can cause real moral dilemmas."
Flaherty's third documentary feature was shot in 1934 on the Aran Islands, off Ireland.

For its climax, he filmed a frail boat battling a monstrous Atlantic sea and later recalled: "I have been accused of trying to drown a boatload of wild Irishmen off Aran" – hence the title of the new film.
According to Professor Winston, Flaherty was a flawed genius, who was celebrated until his death as the first person to manipulate beautiful footage into a story, but who faced accusations of unprofessional working practices, racism, exploitation and inauthenticity after he died.
Nanook Of The North follows the lives of Inuit people, but Flaherty used actors to play the family, staged events and carefully omitted all references to the modern world – or at least tried to.
Professor Winston added: "At an academic conference some years ago, my Canadian colleague Seth Feldman pointed out to me the rifle on the beach when Nanook has supposedly harpooned the walrus.

"Some years later, at another conference, someone put up a photo of a striking woman and calmly announced it was Robert Flaherty's illegitimate granddaughter from his relationship with the woman who played Nanook's wife.
"She was well-known in Canada, but not by the rest of us."
The team behind Boatload tracked down Martha, Flaherty's granddaughter, and she appears in the film.
Debbie Williams, chief executive of EM Media, said: "In 2010 EM Media backed the development and production of eight documentaries, so it seemed only fitting that we should support a documentary which traces the medium's origins, particularly as it has been written and produced by local talent."

Other staff from the university's media, humanities and technology faculty also worked on Boatload. Senior lecturer and former BBC editor Chris Hainstock edited it and Kay Marriott was its production manager, retracing Flaherty's steps around the world – from the Arctic to Samoa.
Boatload was made with funding and support from the Irish Film Board and TG4 (Irish Language Television) EM Media, Screen Agency for the East Midlands and Brussels. It has been produced by Irish film-maker Mac Dara O'Curraidhin.

Following its first airing at the star-studded Galway Film Festival, Boatload will be shown at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre on Monday, November 8.
To see a preview, visit


Leirethe Mac Dara O'Curraidhín & Minerva Productions,
In association with the Irish Film Board,
TG4, EM Media, Brightspark Studios
and the European Media Fund.

in association with the University of Lincoln/The Lincoln School of Media.



useful links

Mac Dara O'Curraidhin

BUVFC - British Universities Film and Video Council

# This is Lincolnshire article

# Ricky Leacock at University of Lincoln

# University of Lincoln School of Media news

# Lime Street Sound

# Brightspark Studios

# Prof. Brian WInston - wiki entry

Prof Brian Winston review of
"How the myth was made" (1979),
Documentary by George Stoney

Robert Flaherty - filmography PDF

# ELECTRIC EGG - design



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