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Documentary in a Changing State

Ireland since the 1990s

edited by Carol MacKeogh and Díóg O’Connell

Publication Year: 2012

This timely collection of essays, Documentary in a Changing State: Ireland since the 1990s, examines the role of Irish documentary in film and television as Ireland experienced dramatic shifts in its social and political make-up in recent decades. Bringing together a diverse range of perspectives, this book tells it from the standpoint of the documentary-maker, the academic and the policy-maker. It reveals the role of documentary in telling stories that challenge the hierarchies of church and state, at the same time reflecting and representing the change brought about as a result in shifts to the political and social landscape.Documentaries discussed in this collection include the work of independents such as Alan Gilsenan, Louis Lentin, Mary Raftery, Donald Taylor Black and Ken Wardrop alongside television series including Would You Believe and Prime Time Investigates. Post-conflict and multi cultural Ireland is explored through the reflective practice of academics working in the medium of documentary. The impact of cultural policy and technological change to the landscape of documentary is considered through an examination of the output of TG4, changes to the commissioning process and the effects of digital media. This book looks back over the last two decades through the prism of documentary to get a snap shot of the dramatic shifts and upheavals in Irish society, socially, culturally and politically.

Published by: Cork University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi

The editors would like to acknowledge the contributions of all speakers, delegates and volunteers at the Documentary Conference in November 2007 at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire, out of which this book emerged...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. xvii-xviii

This is a remarkable book, a coherent collection of essays and interviews which gives, not a snapshot but a detailed three-dimensional picture of the state of the documentary film in Ireland. It arises from the 2007 documentary conference, organised jointly by the School of Business and Humanities and the...

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pp. 1-11

Fifty years ago, when Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) first came on air, the media was seen as the handmaiden of the state. Censorship was considered a proper and positive aspect of good governance and, through the close relationship with the state, the media was by and large compliant...

I. Documentary: Theory and Practice

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pp. 13-54

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Speaking Out: The role of democracy

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pp. 15-18

When the most compelling visible evidence of events and circumstances on our planet come from pixellated images from mobile phones; when Facebook becomes a symbol of political resistance for its capacity to forge connections between communities under siege and the world beyond political...

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Transnational Scenographies of Care: The performance of migrant identities in documentary film

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pp. 19-28

Renov’s rallying call in the epigraph above for expanding the compass of documentary inquiry, ‘responsive to the best of cultural studies’ attention to both the micro level of social phenomena and to the broader contextual map’,3 has been most instructive in conceptualising...

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Unheard Voices: Recording stories from the troubles

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pp. 29-41

The short documentary, Unheard Voices, tells the story of six individuals who either lost someone or were themselves injured during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In this chapter we describe how we worked with the individuals in the film to establish a model...

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Documentary Film and History

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pp. 42-54

Documentary films dealing with historical subjects are increasingly popular with audiences. They have of course always been a stable of public service broadcasting. Now within the proliferating world of cable and satellite television we have specialist channels exclusively concerned with history...

II. Documentary: Critical Practice

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pp. 55-92

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True North: The ethics of consent

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pp. 57-65

Never before have we been so observed. So recorded. So documented. On every street, in every parking lot, in every shopping centre. Online and elsewhere. In reality and in virtual reality. Each movement. Each transaction. Each encounter. And never before have we documented...

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The Power of One: Dear Daughter and Stolen Lives

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pp. 66-76

Consider the chain of events. If in 1992, Christine Buckley had not told her story on RTÉ Radio 1 to Gay Byrne. Most likely I would have paid the programme scant attention and in all probability not have made Dear Daughter (1996). Our national broadcaster might not have...

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The Faith Factor, Skill and Chance: Five years in Would You Believe

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pp. 77-83

I think there are two vital ingredients when it comes to successful documentary making: instinct for what makes a story and secondly, the crucial skill of knowing how to make use of chance and opportunity. You need a plan, but you need to know when it’s right to change...

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Home Truths: Prime Time investigates nursing homes and Leas Cross

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pp. 84-92

It was just after 7 pm, Monday 30 May 2005, when Mr Justice Frank Clarke gave his decision to the High Court. He refused an injunction sought by the proprietors of the Leas Cross nursing home, John and Georgina Aherne, and a separate injunction by the...

III. Documentary: Policy and Politics

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pp. 93-131

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The Life of an Independent Film-maker: Some tales from the trenches

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pp. 95-103

It is slightly disconcerting to realise that I have been a documentary filmmaker for over twenty-five years. During that time I have witnessed more changes in film production than perhaps there have been during any other equivalent period...

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‘An Appointment to View’: The role of RTÉ’s Independent Production Unit in documentary making in Ireland

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pp. 104-114

Since 1993 Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), the Irish national broadcaster, has operated under a statutory obligation to allocate a minimum annual budget to independent television productions. This requirement was contained in the Broadcasting Authority...

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Cláracha Fáisnéise ar TG/Documentary: Programmes on TG4

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pp. 115-123

TG4 was established in 1996 with the mandate to promote ‘innovation and experimentation in broadcasting’.1 The 2001 Broadcasting Act/Acht Craolacháin (Ireland) and its updated 2009 version do not mention the Irish language as the main aim of TG4. In section...

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Digital Impacts on Documentary in Ireland

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pp. 124-131

There has been a long tradition of documentary film-making in Ireland, as comprehensively outlined by Harvey O’Brien in his 2004 study.1 Documentary helps to interpret history and promote human understanding while dramatising and sometimes bending reality...

IV. Towards the Future: Interviews With Key Players

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Díóg O’Connell interviews Ken Wardrop, Director of His & Hers (2010)

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pp. 135-144

You studied film at IADT [Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dún Laoghaire] but came to this training as a mature student. Can you tell me about your early life prior to studying at...

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Carol MacKeogh interviews Alan Maher, Irish Film Board

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pp. 145-150

CMK: What role does the Film Board play in the production of documentary? ...

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Carol MacKeogh interviews Mary Raftery, Director of States of Fear (1999) and Cardinal Secrets (2002)

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pp. 151-156

MR: I started out as a producer/director in RTÉ (Radio Telefís Éireann) in the mid-1980s and stayed for almost twenty years. RTÉ took you in and trained you from scratch – there was no equivalent training outside at...

Notes and References

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pp. 157-167


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pp. 169-176

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781908634207
Print-ISBN-13: 9781859184912
Print-ISBN-10: 185918491X

Publication Year: 2012