Celtic Media Festival 2017 ‘Arts’ Award Nomination for ‘Oíche Chaillte an tSeanchaí’

A TG4 documentary made by Inishbofin director Kieran Concannon of C-Board Films in collaboration with Dr. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile of the Moore Institute has been nominated in the ‘Arts’ category of the Celtic Media Festival 2017 alongside Sir Bob Geldof’s ‘A Fanatic Heart: Geldof on Yeats’ (RTÉ), ‘Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected’ (BBC Wales) and ‘The Greatest Poem of World War One: David Jones’s In Parenthesis’ (BBC Wales/BBC4).

Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the documentary ‘Oíche Chaillte an tSeanchaí’ traces the historic discovery of a long-lost film by the renowned father of documentary, Robert Flaherty. ‘Oidhche Sheanchais’ was the first Irish language talkie ever made and it is also the only film ever made of the living seanchaí tradition, then on its deathbed. Shot in a London studio rather than an Aran cottage, Robert Flaherty directed the 11 minute short in 1934 while completing his classic ‘Man of Aran’. It features an Aran seanchaí telling a fireside story to fellow islanders. Missing for decades, a print was discovered in Harvard University in 2013. In this documentary, film historians, folklorists and islanders explore the making of ‘Oidhche Sheanchais’ and reflect on its value today.

On the set of ‘Oidhche Sheanchais’, Gainsborough Studios 1934. Photo: National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, Ireland

“It is a film about the imagination and the power of a storyteller to invent a place… Oidhche Sheanchais goes to the very taproot of the potential and power of cinema.” – Haden Guest, film historian/director of the Harvard Film Archive

The documentary was first broadcast on TG4 on 1 November 2016. This year’s festival takes place 3-5 May 2017 in the Isle of Mann.