Irish Film Project
Dreaming of the Emerald Isle . . .
Middlebury College's FS040 (Fall 2002) -- Contemporary Ireland in Film and Fiction -- inspired a continuation in the exploration of modern Ireland, cultural identity,and the use of the web as a forum for the exchange of ideas. This weblog will be used by the four students who will travel to Ireland in July 2002 to create short films that look into the idea of an Irish identity and Ireland today as a place to plan and discuss. After returning to school in the fall, the students will edit the films and work with area school children in using the web as a learning tool. For more on the details of the project, read the grant proposal
Friday, April 4, 2003
I recently came across an interview with Colin Farrell and was really struck by what he had to say about Ireland. Granted, he's no Joyce or Yeats, but I thought that the comments were really heartfelt. Here they are . . .
". . .I'm part of a nation and a people that have been through a lot of struggle in their times and have come up trumps--a country of great writers, great singers, great musicians, great actors and wonderful storytellers.
You can still get stabbed on certain streets in Dublin on a Friday night like anywhere else in the world, but I come from a nation of wonderful, generous people who have a great sense of humor, who take life with a pinch of salt, who know what the important things are and try not to stress over them. It makes it easier to go through what I'm goin' through now, the madness of it all. I'm so glad I'm f--kin' Irish."
Well, I haven't had the time to update the weblog in a while (sorry!), but never fear -- the project continues. The schools are our main focus at this point. Liam and Devin are working with a small group in Shoreham and Matt and I are nearing the homestretch with the Ripton crew. Thursday is Presentation Night at Ripton Elementary and I think we've got a solid documentary to show the parents. We've certainly had our share of trials and tribulations, but the kids worked hard and did a really good job. I think every one of them learned something, whether it's that you shouldn't try to fix your hair while filming an interview or the story about Mr. Battell not allowing automobiles up the hill to Bread Loaf. When one boy pointed out to his classmates that what they would want to see and what their audience would want to see were different things, we were both impressed to see how there had been a shift in the thinking about film and documentaries in particular. So while the Ripton documentary might not be quite up to the standards of Ken Burns, it represents a lot of hard work, cooperation, and willingness to try new things. And that's really what matters.
Huge sigh of relief -- WE DID IT! -- nice job team -- the films are done, the screening is over, and life regains a degree of normalcy. Friday's screening went well -- we actually had a substanstial (and understanding) audience. Of course, on our tour of terror nothing ever goes perfectly and this time was no exception. After some scrambling to find the few remaining DVDs in the state of Vermont and even importing some from Maine, we burned the films and successfully showed the first two. Then it was Devin's turn -- yes, poor Devin, already a victim of the treacherous bog -- and we had a bit of a problem with the speakers. But disaster was averted as Mack saved the day and we did a quick room switch.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the films, especially the bogland highlights, and the evening was definitely a success. I was really suprised at how many people came -- the place was almost full, which was really cool, but intimidating at the same time. I was nervous all day and then to get there and see a room full of people didn't really help. I don't even really remember what I said as a introduction to my film -- all I know is that I was so relieved once I looked up and saw my film on the screen -- it was really a satisfying and rewarding feeling. And even though I had seen them before, I was really impressed with everyone else's films -- they seemed even more powerful on the big screen.
And so now all that remains is the work with the schools, and putting the films on the weblog in some form or another, and writing about them on the weblog. Actually that's still quite a bit of stuff to do, but having the films done takes a lot of the pressure off. And so the tour continues . . .Abby
You are cordially invited to a public showing of the
Irish Film Project
October 4, 2002 7:00 p.m.
Bicentennial Hall 220
Reception to follow
Sponsored by the Writing Program, the Office of Service Learning and Atwater Commons
Liam Aiello '05, Abby Borchert '05, Matt Levy'05 and Devin Murphy '05 will present their short documentary films shot on location in Ireland, and discuss the genesis of this project, the experience in Ireland, and the making of films about the cultural, political and social issues they encountered in the novels of Seamus Deane, Roddy Doyle, Edna O'Brien and Joseph O'Connor.
Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort!
We're now into the meat of this whole project. Editing is underway for the gala screening on Oct.4 and the service learning component of working in the schools has begun. After a bit of discussion regarding the schedule, we've determined that we will be visiting the schools every other week for five weeks and will end with a showing of the student films in mid-November. For more on our work with the schools, go to Service Learning Component .
With the big October 4 screening looming less than two weeks from today ( less than two weeks -- ahhh!), the reality of this whole thing is really coming into focus. With classes, visiting the schools, and various other activities, it'll be tough to find time to edit. But a lot of people I've talked to about the project are anxious to see the final product, so knowing that we'll actually have an audience is really quite encouraging. It's great, too, to see huge chunks of footage begin to resemble a coherent film. I got such a thrill the other day when I put a title sequence on my film -- "An Abigail Borchert" film it says. Yeah, I thought, it really is my film.
Well, I must return to my reading on French politics in the 1980s. Hope everyone had a good weekend -- Abby
We're back. Actually we've been back a while, but it's taken us a while to recover from the crazy, wacky, wonderful experience that was our Ireland trip. You can read more about the details of our trip in the section called "Reflections" located on the right of your screen. It certainly was an adventure -- it was great getting to know Ireland, its people, and each other better and I think we even learned something about ourselves. I know that sounds really corny, but I think it's true.
Anyway, we'll be back up at school on Monday to begin work on our films. Thanks to Devin, we've all been able to get a head start by looking at all of our raw footage -- and there's a lot of it. It's kind of overwhelming to look at all of that and then think "OK -- I've got to get a 3 minute film out of this". There's just so much to work with and so many ways to go with it. So I guess this is the hard part -- we're not in Tuam anymore.
Well, we leave on Friday!!! AHHHHHH! I'm really excited and I'm sure everyone else is too. Now that we have to think about packing, charging the cameras, and lugging the tripods, it's really sunk in that this is actually going to happen. While I was working in the fitting room at Old Navy, I got into a conversation with a woman who was waiting for her daughter and somehow it turns out that she's going to be in Ireland the same time we are so she asked what I was going to be doing there. As I was trying to explain the whole thing to her, I really got thinking about how great an opportunity this will be. Definitely nothing like anything we've ever done before and definitely a lot of work, but I think the experience will just be awesome. Right now I've just got all kinds of ideas floating around in my head -- all kinds of maybes and ifs and images of us trucking those cameras around the streets of Dublin and music and camera shots and feelings of not knowing what to expect. There's so much to think about just for the trip, never mind what we do with all that film and the school kids and everything. It seems kind of overwhelming at times, but that makes it all the more exciting and challenging. We're certainly in for quite a journey and I'm sure it will be wonderful. Well, my fellow travellers, I'll see you in Ireland! ( Actually, I'll see you at Logan Airport first, but "I'll see you in Ireland" sounds a little more dramatic -- anyway -- have fun packing -- see you Friday! -- Abby)
Hey all! Well, now it's really time to get cracking. I was going to count how many days left until we left, but I forgot to do that and I have a hard time figuring those things out it my head, but I do know that it's not very many at all. I got the cameras and tripods on Thursday, so we're ready to go as far as those go, but it will be difficult to get them over there and carry everything around once we're there. As far as the film go, I guess now we should be working on interview questions, ligistics of filming what, where, who and when, continuing with the contacts and really pulling all of our ideas into one solid mass of a project. One thing I'm finding hard, and I think Devin mentioned it too, it that having never been to Ireland it's hard to know what to expect. Because of this we may totally change our plans once we get there, but we should have something solid to work with just in case. Another thing that we should work on is not only coming up with our own ideas, but also helping each other out by responding to postings and being active on the weblog. While we each have our own topics and films, we will be working together and using each other to make them, so input and feedback is a must. I personally am really looking forward to this trip and I know that everything will work out great once we get going. Hope you're all enjoying the sunshine -- Abby
Well, departure time is nearing and things are starting to come together. We've made some contacts, formulated some ideas, done some research, and thought about some interviews. Our next step will be to make some of these ideas more concrete. We need to come up with interview questions, filming locations and ideas of what to film, some idea of sequence of filming and what exactly we want to capture with these films. I know that I personally have a lot of work to do. I'm going to try to keep this intro page to the weblog as a kind of running commentary on the progress of our project for anyone who is interested. So Liam, Matt, and Devin, feel free to jump in here anytime with your take on it. Also check out the menu items on the side for new postings. As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome. Hope you're enjoying your summer! Abby
Well everyone, here is our weblog. It's nowhere near totally done or anything, but I thought I'd put something up so we can get started. Any postings or comments would be great.
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