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Filmmaker Shauna Keogh Discusses New Doc 'Missing: Fiona Sinnott: True Lives'
01 May 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Producer/Director Shauna Keogh
From filmmaker Shauna Keogh, a new documentary following the disappearance of Fiona Sinnott will air on Virgin Media One this Wednesday 1st May at 9pm.

Over 20 years since she vanished from her small home-town of Ballyhitt in County Wexford, this documentary uncovers new information surrounding the case including exclusive access to Fiona’s medical records which indicates she was a victim of domestic abuse.

For the first time, Fiona’s family have spoken of her life before her disappearance. The documentary sees exclusive footage of Fiona’s family visiting her old home, whilst Detective Alan Bailey revisits the area where Fiona was last seen and describes the case as one of the most solvable cases in Ireland.

New information is uncovered through exclusive access to Fiona’s medical records which indicates that she was a victim of domestic abuse. During the filming, the family follows new leads and tip-offs in the hopes of finding answers, as the documentary explores the grief and devastation families and a community experience when somebody vanishes.

‘Missing: Fiona Sinnott: True Lives’ also shows never-before-seen home-footage of Fiona, which will be the first time the public will see her as she was when she was alive. The documentary speaks to Fiona’s landlord who has never spoken on the case before. Other first time interviews include accounts from Fiona’s school friends, family members and members of the community.

The documentary is produced by Catherine Richard and Shauna Keogh for her production company Empire Elite Ltd. The show was edited by Stephen Murphy, with James O’Reilly and Shauna Keogh credited as camera operators. Keogh directs the documentary, which features as part of Virgin Media’s ‘True Life’ strand.

IFTN journalist Nathan Griffin spoke with director Shauna Keogh ahead of the Virgin Media One premiere. 

IFTN: How did you first hear about the case and how did the opportunity to do this documentary come about?

Shauna: “I had always had an interest in the case, I remember Fiona Sinnott’s disappearance being reported on the news and it had always resonated with me. I had spent many years in the UK and the US making factual crime documentaries and so I decided I wanted to contact the family to ask if they would be interested in making a documentary on Fiona’s disappearance. I met with the family 18 months ago and the process of making the documentary began.”

IFTN: This is the first time that the family has given insight into Fiona Sinnott’s life – How did you go about navigating such a delicate subject matter from a filmmaking perspective? 

Shauna: “As the process for the film was shot over such a long period of time, trust is built. The production team was small. Catherine Richard the producer and myself spent many many hours down in Wexford fact-finding, researching and speaking with people on the ground.  There was a great sense of inclusion and it was a collaborative effort for the locals wanting to help in any way they could. This project was only possible by the help and support from the family, community members, childhood friends and the support of Virgin Media.”

“For me, having personal accounts from people that knew Fiona throughout her life and before she disappeared (was important). The truth sets people free and that’s what I documented - peoples accounts and their truth.”

IFTN: The documentary is centred on testimonials from family, friends and relevant members of the local community, as well as never-before-seen home footage of Fiona. Editorially, how did you decide upon the structuring of this documentary?

Shauna: “The documentary is moving and raw. It was important for the audience to get a real sense of who Fiona Sinnott was, the moving imagery in the film really resonates.  I think ultimately though you can see how utterly devastating the effect a missing person can have, not just on a family, but a community and Ireland in general. The case is indicative of what happens when fear, silence, and stigma take precedence over truth in society. Coming off the back of the #MeToo movement people know what's right and wrong.”

“I hope that if there is any resolve that it will provide some closure for the family. After more than 20 years of unanswered questions to give them some peace of mind, hoping that people who have been keeping silent might come forward with any information.” 

‘Missing: Fiona Sinnott: True Lives’ airs on Virgin Media One on Wednesday 1st May at 9 pm.

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