We reached out to our festival filmmakers to ask them questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Director Cepa Giblin: It was the long term ambition of Producer and Director John Murray to make Wild Ireland. There have been many, many films made about the West Coast of Ireland but he felt none of them did the place the justice it deserved. For various other productions he had travelled the west coast extensively and always felt there was an atmosphere and a magic to the place that was never quite captured. So it was with this ambition that he set out to make Wild Ireland. To reveal Ireland, and specifically the west coast, in the way that he had experienced it. To try and give the audience a taste of the mood and beauty that the coast has to offer.
Question specific to category: Host/Presenter Led
Why did you pick Colin Stafford-Johnson to be the on camera host telling this story?
CG: There was really no choice to be made. We had worked with Colin for a number of years on a number of productions and he was the natural fit for the series. Having travelled the world making natural history films for many years, Colin finally settled on the West of Ireland as his home. While we wanted to make a film that captured our beloved West Coast, Colin wanted to discover this place that he had been drawn to, so we felt combining the two was the logical thing to do. Colin has a unique style of presenting that brings the viewer on a very personal and passionate journey and we felt his style of presenting would be key in bringing the charm of the location to life.
CG: For the last 10 years we have primarily focused our natural history films in Ireland. The notorious Irish weather finally broke us during Wild Ireland and we decided that next time, we needed some tropical beaches and sunshine. So, our next project is on the natural history of Cuba.
What impact do you hope this film will have?
CG: The big hope for this film was that people might take a closer look at their home turf and see how much there is to value in it. We are constantly looking abroad, ignoring what we have in the hope of having a 'wild experience’. Wildness is elsewhere, not next door. We wanted to convey the idea of just experiencing wild places, not necessarily having to witness major natural events. To show the value of just getting away, getting out on your own and taking it all in. However, during broadcast a panic did strike us as tweets rolled in asking the names and locations of places…...…the dread of these places been flooded with people and us being the cause.
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film?
CG: There were two major challenged in making this series.
1. The weather - we all know Irish weather is appalling but we weren’t quite prepared for what the gods would throw at us over the three years of production. The first two years were 2 of the wettest years on record in Ireland and with very poor sea conditions. Luckily our prayers were answered for year three, when it all came together.
2. The second challenge was trying to find new ways to tell very familiar stories. Ireland’s wildlife is not unusual and most of the animals have featured in numerous documentaries over the years. There was a feeling that people had seen it all before, we were retreading old ground. So, we were constantly trying to look at new angles on their story, trying to highlight the smaller details that might usually go unnoticed - for example the affectionate cooing and preening of the Manx Shearwaters after been apart for days or the retreat of the defeated Red Deer stag into the woodland to die. We were trying to bring to the fore the emotion in the stories of the animals, to make the audience connect with them in a different way.