So the results are finally out and like many documentary makers we’re celebrating that the BCI’s Sound & Vision Fund has supported an Athena Media project ‘Winning Women’ which will allow us to move forward on a series profiling women athletes in Ireland. Women like Katie Taylor in boxing and Nina Carberry in racing. We’ve been trying to making this series for a while and got no support from public broadcasters in recent submission rounds so it is great to have Setanta Sports on board as the broadcaster. We known there is always disappointment in funding rounds and we have had our share on other projects submitted to the fund but its also good to see so many projects getting a green light in this award of E9million. There’s a lot of content already on TV and radio thanks to the fund and it is allowing independent producers to find other routes to get creative ideas off the floor and into the editing studio. We’ve also had success in the radio side of the round with a commission for Newstalk called The Last Wake and again its great to see commercial players like Newstalk taking full advantage of the fund and the opportunities is brings them to make full-scale documentaries and features. Definitely a good use of 5% of the licence fee - but then we would say that wouldn’t we? It is, as always, a matter of perspective.
Archive for March, 2007
Here at Athena Media we’ve been busy doing our season’s commissions for RTE Television show about Dublin, Capital D. Its a half hour show on Thursday nights at 7pm and we make mini-documentary style features on stories about the capital city and the people living here. We’ve an initial four commissions in this season of the show and its either coincidence or our instincts but all our features this Spring are centred around strong female characters who are making a difference to Dublin. It may be the influence of Pallas Athena herself, the Greek Goddess of wisdom, and our mother brand but its been amazing to spend the last few weeks filming and editing these stories of strong, compassionate and ethical women.
In our first show ‘Let them eat cake’ which went out a few weeks ago and which is online on the site under Capital D (in clients), we met the wonderful sisters Regina and Yvonne Fallon who run the Queen of Tarts on Dame St who mix good food and ethical living and mix it with sheer, old-fashioned kindness. We then headed to Blessington St and ‘The Little Angel’ shop run by Carmel McDonnell and Helen Carty for ‘The last communion dressmaker’ which goes on on Thursday 29th. Carmel hand-makes dresses for little girls and has spent a lifetime doing what she says she loves ‘making little children happy’ but both Carmel and Helen, as we discovered, look after the people they meet and frequently ‘take care’ as they call it of people who can’t manage and in the feature we meet Megan, a disabled young girl whose beautiful outfit would be fit for any designer kitted child. The warmth and sense of care and love which flowed through that tiny shop and all its work hopefully makes its way into the piece but we left just happy to have had the chance to meet Carmel and Helen and share a day with them.
In the city centre our next story brought up to the Rotunda Maternity Hospital where I was born myself. We spent a day with neo-natal unit, the baby ER which cares for the tiny premature babies often born as early as 24 weeks gestation. We were guided by two amazing women, Christine McDermott and Edna Woolhead who are advanced care practitioners - midwives who have received extra training and qualifications to be the first hand ER style care for their tiny charges. We met Donnacha and her mum Aedin and hear his struggle to suvive since he was born at just 25 weeks before Christmas and met Kate, now 4, who was born at 24 weeks who came back to visit and entertain the nurses and staff. The love and dedicated care within the unit shows in its success rate in saving babies and it was a real priviledge to experience it. The Rotunda’s ’smallest bundles’ feature goes out on April 12th and we know people will share our feeling when they see it.
Our last feature was out in Tallaght, the sprawling suburb on the outskirts of Dublin, nestling in the basin of the mountains. Its often seen as a pretty spiritless place and our story, around Teenline Ireland, shows a very difference side; one of community action, commitment and hope. We met a woman, Maureen Bolger, who has turned her devastating loss and grief into positive energy and life. Maureen lost her teenage son Darren to suicide four years ago and as she buried him she promised him to try and do something to stop this happening to other young people and their families. With the support of women like Eithne Dunne she created Teenline - a helpline for young people and they launched the centre and the phoneline in July ‘06 and are growing all the time. Maureen says she is driven to reach out and touch any troubled young person so that in that way she can see the love she feels for her son and for his life create and build hope rather than end in his grave. She inspired us and we hope she will inspire you too when it broadcasts in about a month or so.