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
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
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,
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
"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
To see a preview, visit www.tvhistory.co.uk
Leirethe Mac Dara O'Curraidhín & Minerva
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.
Mac Dara O'Curraidhin
BUVFC - British Universities Film and Video Council
WINNERS LIST 2102
is Lincolnshire article
Ricky Leacock at University of Lincoln
University of Lincoln School of Media news
# Lime Street Sound
Prof. Brian WInston - wiki entry
Brian Winston review of
Robert Flaherty - filmography PDF
"How the myth was made" (1979),
Documentary by George Stoney
EGG - design
University of Lincoln
Tel +44 (0) 1522 886244