24 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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An Buachaill Gealgháireach wins Audience Award at Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival
21 Mar 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Theo Dorgan in An Buachaill Gealgháireach
The film was written and presented by poet Theo Dorgan, and directed by Alan Gilsenan. Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival is an annual festival held in Greece.

Imagine Media Productions’ An Buachaill Gealgháireach (“The Laughing Boy”) tracks the evolution of a song of the same name written by Brendan Behan in memory of Michael Collins. Behan’s song was translated by poet Vassilis Rotas and set to music by composer Mikis Theodorakis. The result, To Yelasto Paidi, became a left-wing anthem of resistance in Greece in the late sixties and early seventies.

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF) is an international documentary festival held every March in Thessaloniki, Greece. TDF was founded in 1999 and ranks among the world's leading documentary festivals.

Producer Kathryn Baird, who originated the idea for the film, said: “We could not have hoped for a better response. A standing ovation is always heartening, but when the audience at the end began to sing To Yelasto Paidi, The Laughing Boy, I knew we had really hit the mark. This is the most important documentary festival in Europe, one of the key world festivals, and I am proud of all who worked to make this film possible. We are immensely grateful, also, to those who backed our film and made it possible: TG4, NI Screen, BAI, Culture Ireland, and the Irish Embassy in Greece”.

The film originally premiered on RTÉ and was screened at the Galway Film Fleadh 2022.

“It is immensely gratifying to win an award always, but this is special since it comes from the audience,” Producer Sheila Friel added. “We were anxious, of course, bringing such a quintessential Greek film to Thessaloniki, given the sensitive political and cultural issues we are dealing with, but we got an amazing response there, a sense that we had, somehow, bridged the gap between two peoples, two cultures.”

An Buachaill Gealgháireach is available to stream on TG4 Player. The film was supported by Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the Embassy of Ireland (Athens).

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