Anne Heffernan Producer, Garry Keane Director 'Deafening' Mind the Gap films
Ballyshannon man Garry Keane picked up his second ‘Best Director in Television’ award at the Irish Film and Television awards (IFTA’s) at the RDS in Dublin last Thursday night.
The award was for the documentary, ‘Deafening’ broadcast on RTÉ last year.
Asked by an IFTA reporter why he thought he had taken the prize ahead of some extremely stiff competition, Garry said, “It’s hard to know really but maybe the judges acknowledged the difficulty associated with making this film.
“In 2016 RTE approached Mind the Gap films who had been making specialist programmes solely for the deaf community for over 20 years and asked them could they make a series of documentaries about deaf issues and lives, but this time for hearing and deaf people, to go into a prime time slot on RTE.
“It had never ever been tried before and RTÉ were quite nervous about it working. Anyway the company came to me with the challenge, so the producer Anne Heffernan and I came up with a plan and we just went for it.
“The first film we made was called, ‘These Walls can Talk’ and was an intimate portrayal of the deaf community, told through their unique and sometimes very dark experiences, of St Joseph’s school for the deaf in Cabra Dublin and then this film, ‘Deafening’ was the second.
“Thankfully both were critically acclaimed and a huge success in terms of viewing figures and now RTE has commissioned two more to be made next year.
“Hard films to make”
“They were really, really hard films to make to be honest. We took a lot of risks and had lots of sleepless nights wondering if the whole project would work or not but thankfully our perseverance paid off and it’s really nice to pick up this award tonight in acknowledgement of all our efforts,” he said.
Garry is no stranger to awards. In 2012 his film on the writer Dermot Healy called the ‘Writing in the Sky’ was nominated for four IFTA’s and it picked up two for, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best sound’. And over the last 10 years, Garry’s documentaries have been nominated for 12 IFTA’s in total and 5 have won.
Garry is currently finishing off a series for National Geographic and the Smithsonian Channel.
He has just returned from four weeks filming in The Gaza Strip for a film for his own company Real Films.
“It’s for a feature documentary that will be in cinemas nationwide from probably next spring.
“It’s a complete labour of love that co-director Andrew McConnell and I started nearly five years ago now! But it is something we’re passionate about and a film we can’t wait to release. I think a lot of people will be surprised by what they see and hear. We really hope it will make people sit up and take notice”.