Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pat Collins, director of Silence, now available to buy on DVD in the IFI Film Shop, explains the story behind the documentary which follows sound recordist Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde on a psycho-geographical journey taken from Berlin to his native Donegal:

I was always fascinated by the people who went around in the 1930s and 1940s – people like Seamus Ennis and Seán Ó hEochaidh – who travelled from house to house and collected stories and songs and folklore. It’s a romantic notion, I suppose. I wanted to make a film about someone travelling around the country meeting people, but I wanted it to be set in a contemporarycontext, so it evolved from being a folklore collector to being a sound recordist.

Though our character Eoghan is trying to get away from man-made noise and away from people, he always seems to meet someone; so he’s still hearing stories. The people that Eoghan meets as he travels through Ireland are mostly real characters playing themselves. People we had read about, or people we had met previously, or people we had heard about.

Eoghan meets a human geographer, a farmer, a barman, a museum owner, a fisherman, a writer. It’s one of the great things about making documentaries – the houses you get invited into, the people you meet out and about in odd places. These encounters give the film a documentary sensibility.

In many ways Silence is about transience… that we need to pay attention because things are going to pass. Even some of the birdsong, the corncrakes and the curlew reflect that. We wanted to film in genuinely remote areas in keeping with the locations where Eoghan would be recording – in locations that were genuinely free from man-made sound; and this meant we had to get away from roads. The Irish landscape is incredibly varied. There is no end to it.

Pat Collins

Silence is available to buy on DVD at the IFI Film Shop now (€14.99). It can also be bought online (please note there will be an additional p&p charge).

Watch the trailer:

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