Current Affairs The Irish Language - An Ghaeilge

Irish Language Television – Innovative, Dynamic, Irish…

Irish language television seems to be providing the most dynamic programming in Ireland these days, with the output from independent production companies and TG4 going from strength to strength. 2012 looks like it will be another bumper year of quality TV with a number of new shows in the offing, as well the continuation of several existing ones.

From a report on IFTN:

‘Galway-based production company ROSG are currently in production with 2×52 documentary ‘Scéal na Gaeilge’ (The Story of Irish). Produced by Ciarán Ó Cofaigh and directed by Diarmuid Goggins, the documentary follows the story of the Irish language from the earliest times to the present day.

But it is no ordinary documentary, as producer Ciarán Ó Cofaigh told IFTN: “We want to do something fun and light and entertaining, so we’re using a mixture of media, including animation and dramatic re-enactments.”

Written and presented by Professor Alan Titley, the Head of the Irish Department at University College Cork, the documentary will filmed at various historical locations throughout Ireland and will be interacting with short animation pieces with green screen background.

ROSG are also prepping for the short film scheme Scéal, which will produce 6×25 minute short films. Following on from previous successful schemes Síol and Údar, Scéal is a scheme that gives talented writers/directors opportunity to develop their script form concept stage to broadcast.

Other big projects coming up for ROSG include co-production drama with Defacto Films ‘An Bronntanas’. ‘An Bronntanas’ is a contemporary thriller set against the backdrop of the Connemara Coastline, and the dramatic lives of a local RNLI crew. One stormy night, the crew are called out on a rescue mission on choppy seas. When they come across the endangered boat, they find a single crew member handcuffed to the steering wheel, viciously murdered, and a cargo of €2 million worth of drugs onboard. When they decide to keep the drugs for their own financial gain, their lives spiral into a world of paranoia, violence and tragedy.

The 6×40 series will be directed by Tom Collins (Kings), who will also produced alongside Ciarán O’Cofaigh.

ROSG are the production company behind ‘Na Cloigne’, which was nominated for a whopping six IFTA Awards, as well as beating off stiff competition from the likes of ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Single Dad’ to take home Best Drama Series at the Celtic Media Festival earlier this year. For more information on ROSG, visit their website at www.rosg.ie/en/

Meanwhile TG4 looks set to present a new Hollyoaks-style teen drama, in a web-based spin-off from long-time soap Ros na Rún:

‘TG4 are set to launch their new online teen drama ‘Na Rúin’ this Tuesday September 13th on www.naruin.ie. ‘Na Rúin’ will be in the Irish language with English subtitles, and is a spin-off of TG4 flagship drama ‘Ros na Rún’. The ten part series centres on a group of troubled teens living in a care home in the village and promises to have gritty, edgy storylines, including disappearances, forbidden romance, dangerous jealousy and the discovery of a body.

The ‘Na Rúin’ website will also showcases a number of interactive features such as video diaries and blogs from key characters. The web episodes will be broadcast on Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm on the ‘Na Ruin’ homepage.’

Young adult drama in Ireland came of age with the award-winning series Seacht, broadcast on TG4 and BBC NI, so it is good to see the Irish language continuing in its role as the driving force in TV innovation (the Facebook Page of Na Rúin is here). Irish language program-makers have now proven themselves to be the dominant group for quality, domestically produced television output, recently winning around half of the available financial support from the Sound and Vision Fund run by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI):

‘The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced the latest funding decisions in the twelfth round of the TV Broadcasting Scheme. Grants totaling €7,861,000 have been offered to support the production of 43 television projects, all exploring themes of Irish Culture, Heritage and Experience.

A variety of projects have been offered funding, 16 of which will be broadcast on commercial and community Television. 12 Irish language projects have been granted €2.3 million worth of offers and a further allocation of €680,000 has been allocated to two animated projects.

Projects that received offers of funding include Brendan Gleeson’s feature film ‘At Swim Two Birds’, which received a grant of €500,000; Cartoon Saloon’s animated feature ‘Song of the Sea’/‘Amhrán na Mara’, which was granted €500,000; ROSG’s ‘An Bronntanas’ which has been offered €700,000 and Abú Media Teo have been offered €400,000 for Irish language documentary ‘1916 Seachtar Anaithnid’ and €375,000 for bi-lingual drama ‘Oícheanta Sí’.’

Perhaps it’s time that we revisit the whole set-up of public service broadcasting in this country when the best of what we produce is in a language that is denied the majority of state funding and support?

Perhaps instead of propping up the entrenched, wasteful cartel that is RTÉ, or the supposedly independent British-owned TV3 and 3e (which we help fund both through licence payers money and state advertising), we can turn our back on cheap, English language trash television, imported or otherwise, and strive for something higher? And better.

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