Eight students from the School of Media Arts & Studies were among eleven who spent their summer in Ireland studying Screenwriting, Documentary Storytelling and Irish Culture Through Media.
Based at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny, each student adapted a short story from Irish literature into a short film screenplay and, working in teams of two, researched and wrote documentary scripts on topics such as Irish Mythology, Historic Sites in Letterkenny, the Legacy of Irish Fiddling in County Donegal, and a comparison of Child Care in Athens County & County Donegal.
With the small city of Letterkenny as the program’s base of operation, the students also crossed the border to the United Kingdom, to Derry, where they learned about the difficult history of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and to Belfast where they visited the Titanic Museum and met with an assistant director from “Game Of Thrones, as well as GOT’s visual effects coordinator who screened and discussed his department’s Emmy-nominated effects reel.
Actor Gerard McSorley, who has appeared in such films as Michael Collins, In the Name of The Father and Braveheart also met with the students. McSorley discussed two of his films that document the beginning and the end of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. “Bloody Sunday and Omagh portray the beginning and ending of a horrible civil war,” McSorley said. Omagh dramatizes the aftermath of the 1998 bombing by the Real IRA that killed 29 people in Omagh, McSorley’s hometown.
The 6-week program also included a weekend trip to Dublin, and a visit to the Irish Film Institute to meet filmmaker Paul Duane who screened his most recent documentary, “Very Extremely Dangerous.”
The students also attended the Galway Film Fleadh where they viewed a variety of narrative and documentary films, most of which were presented by the producers, director or cast members.
To learn more about the program from the students themselves, and to see additional photos, visit the program’s blog at Irishbobcats.wordpress.com.
For information about next summer’s program in Ireland 2016 contact Associate Professor Frederick Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Students who took part in MDIA's summer program in Ireland attended the Galway Film Fleadh.