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Category: Behind the Scenes

BOOK REVIEW: THE HILL (BERNARD BROGAN WITH KIERAN SHANNON)

THE FIRST of what’s sure to be an avalanche of memoirs from Dublin’s five-in-a-row team arrives courtesy of The Hill, an underwhelming effort by star forward Bernard Brogan and sports hack Kieran Shannon. Comically, the story is presented as an against-all-odds tale of sporting endeavour.... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE SOUTH WESTERLIES

SOMETIMES WITH new TV programmes, the production back-story is rather more interesting than production itself. RTE’s new prime-time, Sunday night offering, The South Westerlies, produced by Paul Donovan’s Deadpan Pictures and directed by Simon Gibney, blows cold rather than hot, and there’s five more long... Read more »

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AUTUMN BLUES

THE NEWLY released RTE autumn schedules promise “18 hours of new Irish drama” – much of which could be taking place in the RTE canteen. Indeed, the riveting subplots that have developed around replacing Sean O’Rourke will likely prove more compelling than any of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: NO PLACE LIKE HOME (RTÉ ONE)

WITH RTE having already provided full PR services for the Department of Health and local business during the pandemic, Goldhawk recently wondered which sector was next in line for promotional treatment. This week, domestic tourism received a lengthy advertisement courtesy of the Fáilte Ireland-sponsored No... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: BROKEN LAW

CINEMAS HAVE gradually reopened over the last few weeks, some offering a chance to view released Irish films affected by the shutdown, like Calm With Horses from Element Pictures, or titles that were forced onto an online platform, such as Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever. Paddy... Read more »

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SAVING SALLY ROONEY’S NEXT SHOW

A DECISION by the UK government to provide Covid-19 insurance cover for the film and TV industry will put considerable pressure on Pascal Donohoe, Catherine Martin and Leo Varadkar to bend to pressure from Screen Ireland, IBEC, and Screen Producers Ireland to follow suit …... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: HAWKS AND DOVES (RTE1)

THE NATIONAL broadcaster had something of a coup in drawing Michael Portillo back for a second look at the Irish revolutionary period. Long before reality TV stars went to the White House, Portillo like Alastair Campbell went the other direction; reinventing themselves as benign media... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: SOCIALLY DISTANT (RTE ONE)

LEAVING ASIDE Frank Feighan’s bizarre comments about “cocaine snorters” in RTE, this week’s ‘comedy’, Socially Distant, certainly begs the question of what exactly the commissioning editors are on. Unfortunately, James Cotter’s lockdown effort – broadcast on Monday – was predictably quarantined from any outbreak of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: INSIDE IRELAND’S COVID BATTLE (RTÉ ONE)

AS WELL as documenting life for patients and staff in St James’s Hospital during the Covid-19 crisis, RTE Investigates: Inside Ireland’s Covid Battle inadvertently provided a fascinating into how the Irish media have covered the pandemic. The abject nihilism that has characterised the Indo’s coverage... Read more »

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REMOTE EARNING

ONE OF the ironies of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the need for public bodies to find inventive ways to spend idle money that might otherwise be clawed back by government departments. Back in April, the training division of Desiree Finnegan’s Screen Ireland, came up... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: ARTEMIS FOWL

WHEN DISNEY announced a few months back that, since cinemas were shuttered, its $125m adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl would ‘drop’ on their new Disney+ streaming platform, it was either a smart move to boost the new platform or a sign that ‘Fowl’ was, in fact, a... Read more »

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WHO PROFITS FROM ‘NORMAL PEOPLE’?

WHATEVER ONE thinks of it, the Beeb’s TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People has shown there’s life in the old maxim – sex sells, whether it’s Connell’s neck chain or digital streams. Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe’s Element Pictures production for the BBC and... Read more »

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JAMES MORRIS’S MEDIA PARK

THE €26.5m deal struck by James Morris, Alan Moloney and Gary Levinsohn with South Dublin County Council for 48 acres in D22, west of Clondalkin and Lucan, brings to an end the first phase of a four-year campaign to set up a large entertainment-media campus... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: IRELAND ON CALL (RTÉ ONE) 

DURING THE Covid-19 crisis, RTE’s hastily-assembled filler show, Ireland On Call, has become the Department of Health’s Pravda. Indeed, with the series embedded in the department – from where it’s broadcast live twice a week – a more fitting title might be RTE On Message.... Read more »

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EOIN COLFER’S SMALL SCREEN PLOT

GOLDHAWK’S LAST visit to the cinema Calm with Horses was to see on at a near deserted multiplex on March 13, its opening weekend. While it was the last weekend cinemas were open, it was already clear that punters were socially distancing ahead of government... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY RORY BEST

GOLDHAWK HAS just finished Rory Best’s autobiography, rather prosaically called My Autobiography, and it seems like his plan for the book was the same as Ireland’s plan for the last two rugby seasons: stick to a tightly controlled game plan on paper, only to come... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: CONCLUSIONS JOHN BOORMAN (FABER & FABER)

BORN IN Shepperton, England in 1933, the filmmaker and Co Wicklow resident since 1970, John Boorman, has had a long innings. His latest work of memoir, a valedictory book, contains a telling story about an actual innings, or rather a fictitious, heroic innings where he,... Read more »

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RTE’S BOB GELDOF HAGIOGRAPHY

FOR HIS latest crusade against injustice, Bob Geldof has chosen a somewhat unlikely target: the Boomtown Rats’ exclusion from the rock pantheon. Stretching across a new album, book, and now a two-part RTE special titled Citizens Of Boomtown, Geldof has gone on a full PR... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: JIHAD JANE

CIARAN CASSIDY’S feature documentary Jihad Jane was released in cinemas on February 14, an appropriate date for a project originally, if misleadingly titled Jihad Jane – Dangerously Seeking Marriage. A better title perhaps was the one used for Cassidy’s first run at the story, the... Read more »

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DENIS DESMOND’S DUD

Denis Desmond

WHILE PROMOTER Denis ‘MCD’ Desmond tends to find himself backing winners in the concert game, he also invested in the movie business. The opening film of the Berlin International Film Festival has struck a bum note, however. Desiree Finnegan’s Screen Ireland film funding agency has... Read more »

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‘IRISH OSCARS’ SEQUEL FOR IFTA?

IMMEDIATELY AHEAD of the Oscars being dished out in Hollywood, the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) unveiled its new five year strategic plan and, almost immediately, founders Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins, have got a positive review. The two co-stars have been cast in... Read more »

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JOHN ARKINS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

John Arkins

HALLOWEEN MAY not be the most auspicious date on which to close submissions for the audit by the Work Relations Commission (WRC) of the “Independent Film & Television Drama Production Sector” – the latest chapter in the glamorous industry’s decade of fraught industrial relations first... Read more »

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REVIEWING GALWAY’S €10M CINEMA HORROR

Ed Guiney and Andrew Love

FANS OF Goldhawk are well acquainted with the historical horror-show behind Galway’s bijou Pálás cinema, originally promoted by Lelia Doolan’s Solas Galway Picture Palace group and very heavily backed by the taxpayer through assorted agencies (See The Phoenix, 6/10/17). A spending review has now been... Read more »

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TAXING MATTERS AT VISUAL IN CARLOW

Kathleen Holohan

WHAT ON earth is going on at VISUAL, the multi-million euro contemporary arts centre in Carlow? The board has lost eight directors and there has been no chief executive appointed since Ann Mulrooney departed for the Science Gallery Dublin almost a year ago. It also... Read more »

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IFTA’S MYSTERY PLOT

Áine Moriarty

EARLIER THIS year (see The Phoenix, 8/2/19) Goldhawk noted a potential lacuna in the diaries of the nation’s celebs with the non-appearance on the calendar of this year’s IFTAs ceremony – Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins’s annual gong-fest for our deserving film and TV luvvies.... Read more »

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GOOD TIMES AT THE GATE

Sarah Lynch

THERE HAS been a cast change at the Abbey where its head of producing, Sarah Lynch, has decided to exit stage left after barely two years at the national theatre. She is heading up the street to the Gate, where Selina Cartmell apparently can do... Read more »

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THE ABBEY’S CASTING CHALLENGE

Behind the Scenes default

STILL NO sign of a new board member at the Abbey Theatre, where there is a vacancy for someone who knows how to write plays. The vacancy was advertised a long time ago, but the process is dragging on. Meanwhile, the departure of Sarah Lynch... Read more »

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KEVIN RAFTER’S BAPTISM

Kevin Rafter

LAST WEEK, the new chair of the Arts Council, Kevin Rafter, oversaw his first meeting of the board – a bruising two-day annual session reviewing policy and working through all the laborious recommendations for “arts grant funding” to organisations for 2020. (This precedes the more... Read more »

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SCREEN IRELAND’S DISTRIBUTORS

Désirée Finnegan

FINANCIAL hand-outs in Screen Ireland’s 2017 annual report will no doubt be of interest to incoming boss Désirée Finnegan, who replaces James Hickey. Distribution support should catch her eye given Finnegan’s background as a senior exec in the distribution trade with Warner Brothers in London.... Read more »

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KATIE HOLLY’S IMPRESSIVE CUT

Katie Holly

IS THERE any state agency, aside Screen Ireland (chaired by Annie Doona), where some 8% of its ‘loan’ budget is mopped up by interests associated with one of the agency’s board members? In its quietly released annual report for 2017 (yes, 2017), Screen Ireland discloses... Read more »

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JENNIFER ZAMPARELLI’S REVIEW

Jennifer Zamparelli

THE NEW look 2FM has been attracting mixed reviews following its makeover, but one of the players, former Breakfast Republic co-presenter Jennifer Zamparelli, might want to tune out the comments. Back in March, when Zamparelli was named as 2FM’s key star to attract young listeners... Read more »

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PAT MOYLAN’S GRANT

CONGRATULATIONS to former Arts Council chair Pat Moylan who is again to tour her smash hit show, Angela’s Ashes The Musical, two years after it packed the punters in during its Irish tour. The good news is that this time around the tour has extended... Read more »

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ÁINE MORIARTY’S DELAYED RELEASE

Aine Moriarty

EARLIER THIS year, Goldhawk raised the ghastly spectre of a hiatus in Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins’s annual red carpet luvviethon, the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs). Co-star Hopkins had taken a job with BAFTA in London late last year and, instead of the... Read more »

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SELINA CARTMELL’S OLD SHOWS

NEXT WEEK sees the return to the Gate of the hit show at the northside theatre, Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper. Given it had a near three-month run only a year ago, this represents fairly staid programming by the widely praised Gate supremo Selina Cartmell, following... Read more »

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SHARON HORGAN’S LATEST PAYDAY

Sharon Horgan

AS THE annual Cannes film junket (which featured a rare Irish success) came to a close on Sunday, it coincided with the arrival of Screen Ireland’s first-quarter gravy train. The biggest funding award made by SI in the first three months of this year was... Read more »

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REVIEW: THE DIG

The Dig

ANY FILM coming out of Northern Ireland and titled The Dig is, even if not overtly, a ‘Troubles’ film, likely to be viewed as an allegory of post-conflict unease. That may be true of brothers Andy and Ryan Tohill’s directorial debut, written by Stuart Drennan,... Read more »

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