Irish film and TV urged to move away from ‘boys club’ culture

She commended the Irish Film Board (IFB) for “leading the charge towards equality” by launching its six-point plan on gender equality and publishing gender statistics on women’s participation in Irish film between 2010 and 2016 but added that the board could still do more to ensure the implementation of the policy. “There were definitely more men than women when the station first started but when I look around me at present I see that this has changed hugely,” said Mr Esslemont. So the writer and producer had to come and pitch the project without the director.” The new call resulted in twice as many women applying for commissions and an overall increase of 63 per cent in submissions. “Gender equality and diversity allow for storytelling from all sections of society in Ireland. “Over time women have downsized their ambition and see the Irish film industry as being a boys club,” said Dr Susan Liddy, organiser of the New Horizons: Women in the Irish Film & Television Industries event in Limerick. “You can’t apply bias in TV, you need the best. It’s about nudging the mechanics to see if you can open it up rather than the blunt approach of quotas. It’s about changing who our heroes are and letting boys and girls know that heroes can also be women and not white.” Many women fear applying for positions as writers, producers and directors because of the male social norm that exists within the film industry, said Ms Silverstein. This is not about women, it’s about the system.” Jane Gogan, head of drama at RTÉ, discovered last year that by calling for pitches from producers and writers separately from directors, far more women were inclined to apply. The problem is not intellectual or to do with work ethic, practices just need to change how people access their work.” Head of TG4 Alan Esslemont, who also spoke on Friday, commended former director of the station Cathal Goan for opening the door to gender balance and strong women leaders when the station first launched more than two decades ago. Today 11 of the 13 core editorial staff at the station are women along with 55 per cent of the overall staff. We need initiatives to persuade women that the past can be consigned to the past and the film board are actively seeking their involvement.” ‘I’m trying to make these huge questions more …

Disunited States: ‘Trump is the aftershock of a battle long ago lost’

I combed through the sucking stones of Beckett’s reductive genius, the logical endgame of his Trilogy, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, the disappearance of space and perspective and the jaded fatalism of the line from his novel, Murphy, “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new”, to Godot who framed the proposition of history thus, “I’m like that. We were in the clicks and mortar model of a new economy, deep in the disentanglement of physical location as the sole mode of creating presence and all that such disentanglement suggested – a collapse of time into a 24/7 access model that disassembled the traditional notion of compartmentalised time in an ever-present ON. For what effect? And then there was the capricious, irreverent genius of Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, announcing the death of a traditional narrative, a voice brashly deconstructing ideas of lineage and legacy, declaring: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it.” ADVERTISEMENT And there, too, was Joyce and his Dubliners and his great intellectual leap from an Irish vernacular in those short stories, to the universalist polyphonic of Anna Livia Plurabelle in his Finnegans Wake with “the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. What had replaced an older Marxist dialectic was a proliferation of professional jargons, a tower of Babel of industry-specific speak, a linguistic fracture, laid down alongside a concomitant language of political correctness that ahistoricised ordinary discourse through the deconstruction of language and the invention of new words. They are the Holden Caulfields of new history. Most of those creating the future don’t even go to college, or even high school. But why annoy them? Our past provided no context, no point of orientation, so we had left it behind. I’ve called them “Lost Souls”, made the denizens of these towns my muse. It was egalitarian to a fault. There was an obvious coincidence of fate. I had no money – the irony – I had been heading to a convenience store to get cash. My current novel, The Death of All Things Seen, is a transitional novel, the end of a 10-book project, a slow …

‘Ed Sheeran is doing to Ireland what Steve Bannon is doing to Irish ancestry’

★ Ed Sheeran is, in PR terms, an influencer. ÷ (Divide) is the Yorkshire man’s third album, after + and ×, so pretty much all that’s left is minus and that is exactly where we are. And while you’ll probably get a number one album here, sell Croke Park out 10 times over and graze your sheep in Stephen’s Green (inspiration for your next album? He wants Avicii fiddles, Grafton Street glory and Andrea Corr. This is the horror that we live in. Urban farming?) once you get Freedom of the City, we see through you. ADVERTISEMENT In a post-Brexit world, Sheeran is conveniently playing up his Irishness but we see through you, pal. Hold onto your loved ones. For a man who claims to have grown up on Planxty, Nancy Mulligan, a ballad about his grandparents from Wexford, has all the authenticity of an Irish bar in Malaga that serves buttery chicken wings. In an interview with the Guardian, Sheeran says that his label weren’t keen on this ‘folk’ song and his response was: “Well, the Corrs sold 20m records”. He raps a little and imagine, if you will, a Tesco music version of Whipping Boy’s When We Were Young, created to skip paying royalties and to soundtrack your bulk Andrex shop. He’s doing to Ireland what Steve Bannon is doing to Irish ancestry. Along with LADSLADSLADS, Malaga is also targeted in New Man: “Every year he goes to Malaga, with all the fellas, drinks beer but has a six pack, I’m kind of jealous.” Shape of You was initially intended for and then rejected by Rihanna and it’s the album’s only saving grace. He’s doing to folk music what Steps’ 5, 6, 7, 8 did for cowboys. While he’s not selling you detox tea on Instagram just yet, through his own music and the songs he writes for Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and One Direction, everything he does has an impact on music. Opening track Eraser is about the pitfalls of fame and it’s a nod to his love of hip-hop – he’s friends with Stormzy, you know. Rihanna’s leftover pizza crusts are what we are feasting on. This is the power that leading music influencer and, evidently, master debater Ed Sheeran is wielding. Between slow sets for the nursing home (Dive, Perfect) and throwbacks to package holidays in Spain (Barcelona, Bibia Be Ye Ye), the …

A eulogy for the Disunited States of America

I remembered back to my boarding school days in the early eighties, to a Bob Geldof song that had so captivated me, I Don’t like Mondays. I was looking for friends, but he would have none of it. They are not part of the political process. What it augured, or so it seemed, was the collapse or the unavailability of the older humanist language, a new mode of communication devoid of laughter, a professional jargon that disallowed the possibility of linguistic normalcy ever again. Microsoft had no official headquartered building – no point of obvious differentiation or ostentation that Building 12 was better than Building 25. I might have suggested going to an ATM. And then the protests ended as quickly as they had started. For what purpose? We were then experiencing the great deconstruction and reconfiguration of all that had previously defined us. He was right, of course. It took his dropping out of Harvard, an act tantamount to a tacit rejection of the east coast and all that came before. In 1994, amid the swelter of a Midwest late afternoon, I was robbed. In the encapsulation of a single lyrical refrain, he decoded the singular homicidal act of a laid-off worker who followed the American national psycho narrative in showing up on a Monday morning to pick off strangers – this would-be assassin of disaffection, whose actions did not constitute inexpressible economic angst, but rather psychological damage, mental illness, because that was the allowed language – individualised psychosis decoupled from a socio-political context. Accosted while entering her apartment block, she was dragged to a boiler room, and raped repeatedly over the course of some 36 hours, the rapist coming and going from wherever it is a rapist goes in the time between raping a victim. It was egalitarian to a fault. What had replaced an older Marxist dialectic was a proliferation of professional jargons, a tower of Babel of industry-specific speak, a linguistic fracture, laid down alongside a concomitant language of political correctness that ahistoricised ordinary discourse through the deconstruction of language and the invention of new words. Our past provided no context, no point of orientation, so we had left it behind. Why was I telling it? In the intervening years, I left Microsoft to dwell again amidst the disaffected and the disenfranchised, those figures that confound politicians, those who simply continue to languish in what will …

Michael Collins and my grandfather: A meeting in Leitrim

(The misspelling is an occupational hazard when you are a McGreevy). 100 years later Michael Collins’ 1917 visit takes place at The Bush Hotel on Friday night March 3rd at 8pm. The event is organised by the Michael Collins Fine Gael branch Carrick-on-Shannon branch. It is clear from recently released police files that he was being watched. ADVERTISEMENT The keynote speaker will be Senator Michael McDowell who made the case for Collins being the greatest Irish person of them all in a RTÉ series broadcast in 2009. Speakers Collins’ visit to the north-west in 1917 will be remembered in a centenary event in the Bush Hotel Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday night. I’m not sure he would be pleased about that. In May Sinn Féin won its first seat in the Westminster parliament when Joe McGuinness, then a Republican prisoner in England, won in South Longford. I am not sure he would take kindly to being dismissed so blithely.Neither would Sam Holt who was one of the founders of Fianna Fáil and went on to become a Sinn Féin and then Fianna Fáil TD before his premature death from typhoid in 1929. Collins stayed in the Bush Hotel after arriving in the town and a suite is named after him. To that end, Michael Collins, then establishing himself as the tireless organiser of renown, arrived in Carrick-on-Shannon on August 18th, 1917 to set up branches of Sinn Féin in Leitrim and Roscommon. He was my grandfather. In 1917 Sinn Féin was a party on the ascendent. He was the company captain in the South Leitrim flying column during the War of Independence and was active on operations with Ernie O’Malley and Count Plunkett. He went on to address Sinn Féin gatherings in Leitrim and Roscommon. In February of that year Count George Plunkett was elected in the North Roscommon byelection as an independent MP though he would subsequently join Sinn Féin. Also speaking at the event will be Margot Gearty from Longford, a niece of Collins’ great love Kitty Kiernan. They may not be of importance to the district inspector, but Francis McGreevey is important to me. These twin victories convinced Sinn Féin that this part of Ireland was particularly fertile electoral ground for its stated ambition to supplant the ailing Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) as the dominant voice in Irish nationalism. Jim Roche, the actor best known for his reading of …

Ed Sheeran Divide review: Hold on to your loved ones. This is the horror that we live in

He’s doing to Ireland what Steve Bannon is doing to Irish ancestry. Urban farming?) once you get Freedom of the City, we see through you. Between slow sets for the nursing home (Dive, Perfect) and throwbacks to package holidays in Spain (Barcelona, Bibia Be Ye Ye), the biggest offender on ÷ is Galway Girl, not a cover but an original. Rihanna’s leftover pizza crusts are what we are feasting on. He wants Avicii fiddles, Grafton Street glory and Andrea Corr. Opening track Eraser is about the pitfalls of fame and it’s a nod to his love of hip-hop – he’s friends with Stormzy, you know. For a man who claims to have grown up on Planxty, Nancy Mulligan, a ballad about his grandparents from Wexford, has all the authenticity of an Irish bar in Malaga that serves buttery chicken wings. In an interview with the Guardian, Sheeran says that his label weren’t keen on this ‘folk’ song and his response was: “Well, the Corrs sold 20m records”. ADVERTISEMENT In a post-Brexit world, Sheeran is conveniently playing up his Irishness but we see through you, pal. He’s doing to folk music what Steps’ 5, 6, 7, 8 did for cowboys. Along with LADSLADSLADS, Malaga is also targeted in New Man: “Every year he goes to Malaga, with all the fellas, drinks beer but has a six pack, I’m kind of jealous.” Shape of You was initially intended for and then rejected by Rihanna and it’s the album’s only saving grace. ★ Ed Sheeran is, in PR terms, an influencer. And while you’ll probably get a number one album here, sell Croke Park out 10 times over and graze your sheep in Stephen’s Green (inspiration for your next album? ÷ (Divide) is the Yorkshire man’s third album, after + and ×, so pretty much all that’s left is minus and that is exactly where we are. Hold onto your loved ones. While he’s not selling you detox tea on Instagram just yet, through his own music and the songs he writes for Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and One Direction, everything he does has an impact on music. This is the power that leading music influencer and, evidently, master debater Ed Sheeran is wielding. This is the horror that we live in. He raps a little and imagine, if you will, a Tesco music version of Whipping Boy’s When We Were …

Ed Sheeran: ‘I grew up on Planxty and The Chieftains’

Youtubey dancers In the album’s deluxe version, we’ll also hear Nancy Mulligan, a quintessential trad song about his Wexford-based grandparents’ marriage despite their Catholic-Protestant divide. And it means I can sing both live.” I grew up on Planxty and The Chieftains, and I really like Irish music. “Maybe not for the rest of my life. But it only ended up being two of them. “The big tour will be next year,” he says. ÷ is released today. He plays two sold-out concerts at the 3Arena on April 12th and 13th For me to make an educated comment on situations in the world, I have to know both sides of an argument,” he explains. “I want to write a romcom, star in it and do a soundtrack for it that would be released as an album Even on social media, he’s a major influencer: a plain album-blue Instagram post received 230,000 likes, a feat that trumps Justin Bieber’s memorable “Hi” tweet (60,000 retweets). Which is a wet way of saying a political statement, but it’s all I can justify saying at the moment.” Looking ahead, there’s his upcoming “warm-up” tour, if two 3Arena shows can be deemed as such. ADVERTISEMENT The issue is partly addressed in the unassuming gem What Do I Know?, in which he spreads the good word of “love and understanding, positivity”. “I had the band in my house for an extra day so I was like, ‘what can I write about? I don’t think enough people use it in pop music The nod to Ireland doesn’t end there. Is that all he’ll be saying on the subject? “I want to write a romcom, star in it and do a soundtrack for it that would be released as an album. “I was looking for a line that wasn’t Galway Girl because of the Steve Earle song, but the more and more I sung it, the more I thought, f**k it, there’s just going to be a new Galway Girl. right, cool, let’s write a song about that.’ She inspired the first line but the rest of the song isn’t about anyone, I just made up a story. “I grew up on Planxty and The Chieftains, and I really like Irish music. “I’ve always wanted to make one, and I recorded about six or seven songs for this. Ed Sheeran performing at Croke Park in 2015. ‘Political statement’ “So as …

And the nominees for the 2018 Academy Award for best picture are …

Oscar Isaac and Mark Rylance star in the true story of a Jewish boy snatched by the Catholic Church in the 19th century. Heck, two minutes after the award was presented, nobody guessed Moonlight would win picture. Bigelow sticks with her school of dramatised reportage for a study of the riots that spread across Detroit in 1967. The picture is shooting now. UNTITLED KATHRYN BIGELOW DETROIT RIOTS MOVIE And the snappy titles just keep coming. Christopher Nolan’s study of the famous second World War rout is packed with stars. The egghead’s follow-up to Carol stars Julianne Moore in a coming-of-age tale based on a book by Brian Selznick. As you will. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson. After all, a day before the award was presented, almost nobody guessed that Moonlight would win best picture. Still, predicting the best film nominees at this remove is such a crapshoot that nobody could much blame us if we got them all wrong. THE KIDNAPPING OF EDGARDO MORTARA Steven Spielberg struck out with the strangely unmoving The BFG, but this sounds like more the Academy’s thing. ADVERTISEMENT UNTITLED PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON FASHION FILM Catchy title. Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts flesh out the classy cast. Anderson reunites with Daniel Day Lewis for a drama set in London’s fashion world during the 1950s. So it should be ready for Toronto or Venice at the end of the summer. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME There is usually a film that wowed Sundance in the list. This has the feel of an Oscar challenger. Want! They love true stories. Jonny Greenwood, an Anderson regular, is composing the score. Will Poulter, Kaitlyn Dever and our own Jack Reynor are all on board. Luca Guadagnino’s tale of a gay romance in 1980s Italy was the best received film at the recently concluded Utah event. The 2018 Oscar nominees for best picture DUNKIRK Everyone has this pencilled in. DARKEST HOUR Poor Joe Wright has had a rough time of it recently. Now, he directs the Oscar winner in an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’s memoir concerning a dysfunctional family in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. So you would be a fool to bet against this admittedly bizarre-sounding project. Yum, yum! MOTHER! Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and, yes, Harry Styles from One Direction are on the …

Gillian Anderson: A woman of extremely few words

Her Blanche DuBois in a 2014 production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic won rave reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award. If somebody comes up to your door and says Dickens, you listen. But the cut-glass vowels were trickier still. “I don’t know why I’m attracted to posh,” she says. The small-talk that bookends the encounter is smaller than you imagine. Viceroy’s House depicts her frustration and attempts to relieve the misery inflicted by partition. Does she consciously keep an eye out for women directors? So even Viceroy’s House proves off-limits in certain regards. And there’s something really wonderful about that. We’re getting somewhere. And if the adaptation is good, it’s hard to say no “It was very intense,” she says. Today, Gillian Anderson is channelling Big Dunc. But I quite surprised when I first started watching video and listening to tapes just how posh her voice was. In this context, however, the phrase means: Ms Anderson is only willing to discuss Viceroy’s House. But British Anderson is better known for treading the boards. So it’s a very different experience from pretty much anywhere else in India. The location we were living in was the palace that we were shooting in. But I quite surprised when I first started watching video and listening to tapes just how posh her voice was An assistant hovers nearby – exactly one vaudeville hook’s length away. Her skin is pale, but luminous. And if the adaptation is good, it’s hard to say no.” Funny. That’s something, right? But she has been bidialectal for most of her life. Okay, not boots, exactly. There was another actor who worked with us who couldn’t square that. But given that Edwina’s many bisexual affairs – including a long-standing dalliance with prime minister Nehru of India – are widely documented, this might have been a much racier picture? “Probably,” she smiles. Other words, however… He went and stayed somewhere less opulent.” Cut-glass vowels The opulence and heat were oppressive. It takes quite a lot of concentration. ADVERTISEMENT We shake hands. Women directors How did the actor, a proud feminist, Vagina Monologues veteran, and long-time supporter of the Feminist Majority Foundation, feel about working with the director Gurinder Chadha? Most of that film was shot against the very royal splendour of Rajasthan at the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s residence, the Umaid Bhawan Palace hotel, a once imposing …

Joe Duffy offers hope to a 50-year-old woman trapped in a nursing home

Geared towards the elderly, the nursing home is “woefully inadequate for someone who is younger and who can work”, but Trish has been unable to find somewhere else, despite her best efforts. Moreover, it helps ensure an afterlife for his show as a podcast, rather than have it disappear into the ether after transmission on a digital radio station. And when O’Rourke suggests that a car-bomb scene in Jordan’s movie Michael Collins made the director laugh, he is told off. Radio Moment of the Week: Jordan defuses O’Rourke Film director Neil Jordan appears on Today With Sean O’Rourke (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays) to discuss his new novel, but achieves something more notable. On Monday, Margaret phones in to complain that her car was clamped exactly 21 minutes after she parked it in the town square of Ballincollig, Co Cork, when she thought she had four hours of free parking. Scannell’s encounter with Tim Booth, singer with Manchester indie band James, is if anything more memorable than the Moby episode, as his guest mixes disarming candour with unintentional humour. “I share my optimism with the world,” he says at one point, with a sincerity as strong as it is sweet. ADVERTISEMENT In a week when the “Grace” case once again highlights the horrific abuse suffered by some in State care, Trish’s situation is less urgent. Her voice cracks as she compares her plight to the opening lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s song First We Take Manhattan: “They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom.” Duffy, for his part, is audibly moved. The opening episode, featuring American singer and musician Moby, is as compelling and wide-ranging as one would expect from a vegan Christian and sometime hedonist who left his punk and techno roots to become a global star. “No, that’s rubbish,” says Jordan, with such conviction that O’Rourke backs off the question. But don’t be surprised if Duffy gets a call demanding freedom for carrots some day soon. What follows is a confusing and, for the listener, interminable discussion on local bylaws about obtaining shopping receipts to avail of parking privileges. As a casual conversation between pals, this topic would strain the limits of friendship within a couple of minutes: as a 10-minute item on national radio, it is mind-meltingly banal.  Even Duffy, who can do a mean impression of a tut-tutting auld wan when the occasion demands, begins to sound uncharacteristically …

In the Trump era, artists need to do more than make protest speeches

When he finally sat down at the piano Jarrett said, “I had to do that.” He was highly emotional, and the emotion seemed to feed in to his playing: it took him quite a while to settle into the zone of deep concentration he must occupy, but when he did so there was a passion and an edge that seemed somehow related to his state of agitation. He wondered whether the framers of the US constitution might have stayed alive for hundreds of years had they known that during four of those years the country would be governed by “two things that very rarely come together: fear and embarrassment”. But its real impact is limited by the fact that the budget for the endowment is already beyond pathetic. In itself there is nothing objectionable about this; many Irish artists would say the same. Or is that just not what Jarrett has in his bones anyway? But it also invites them to think deeply about what American culture really is and how it is expressed in art. But feeling the need to say or do something is not the same as knowing what can usefully be done. Much more important in Trump’s agenda is the notion of a “national culture” that his brain, Steve Bannon, has begun to promote. Last week Bannon spoke to a big conservative jamboree about “the centre core of what we believe, that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being”. This is serious stuff, and artists can’t simply ignore it. If there were any Trump supporters in that audience – and the percentage was probably a few places to the right of the decimal point – they were probably just annoyed that the musician wasn’t sticking to his music. The paranoid style it favours is predicated on the belief that there is some kind of culture war in progress – between “our” indigenous and inherited civilisation and the alien, cosmopolitan culture that is out to destroy and replace it. Music is abstract, but when it is framed by a political statement it is hard not to start hearing things that might not be there. Who would constitute this culture? Last month I went to see the pianist Keith Jarrett at Carnegie Hall, in New …

Juanita Wilson: ‘It is our rage that will destroy us’

It’s about not pointing to other people and blaming them. A communal spirit is, surely, guaranteed. “You are driven by your love for the book. I sent him pictures and he was fine with it. But we couldn’t get that to work as a production model. And who’s in it. But initially that was difficult.” Woodrell is seen as a “laureate of the Ozarks”. Everybody played pool at night. Woodrell’s tales are inextricably bound up with the Ozarks, but Wilson found herself shooting in Canada and moving the action to the American west. “They are outsiders who are victims of snobbery,” she says. You learn so much if you haven’t been in those circumstances. If they succeed the director gets the credit. “In that sense I would suggest they are outside of all politics.” She does, nonetheless, accept that the story reflects certain contemporary discontents. Before directing her first film, she toiled as a producer on two notable features: Les Blair’s H3 and Damien O’Donnell’s Inside I’m Dancing. Her interest in the reasons why people hate continues to colour her work. Despite going through such difficult circumstances, you can come out with the ability to love and forgive. ADVERTISEMENT “I am not sure what being somewhere else would change,” she says. But you still have to engage with people. (Explaining the result of that hatred in Tomato Red would, perhaps, involve a spoiler too far.) Hard work Juanita studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and went on to work in sculpture and video art. She has not been lured to Los Angeles? Moving his story could, potentially, have been akin to setting a Raymond Chandler adaptation somewhere other than Los Angeles. So everybody came there. As If I Am not There, from a non-fiction book by Slavenka Drakulic, concerned the sexual abuse of women in the Bosnian war. A year later, her first feature, As If I Am Not There, was the Irish selection for best foreign language film. “There is a one-star or two-star hotel and that was the only bar in town. First choice “Naivety helps you through these things initially,” she says. Morale “You can be lucky and unlucky with that,” she laughs. With these projects, Wilson honed a unique voice that had few obvious predecessors. We should look within ourselves. We ended up in Canada and that contributed greatly to the …