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‘The Pipe’ wins best documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh

The Pipe the film

The Pipe premiered to two full houses at the Galway Film Fleadh last Thursday, 8th July. It got an incredible reception, scooping the award for best documentary.


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Nigel O'Regan (editor) Rachel Lysaght (producer) Risteard Ó Domhnaill (director)

At 6 pm, Thursday evening, people began arriving at the exhibition space for John Monaghan’s photographic exhibition ‘Shell in Mayo’, the story of Corrib in pictures. People coming from Erris brought a range of fresh food from the area. Mary O´Donnell, wife of The Chief, donated crab meat from Porturlin. Willie and Mary Corduff brought shellfish, ‘clams’ I think,  just dug that day on Sruthfadaconn strand, while Jay Henehan of Inver kindly donated dilisk (eadible seaweed). Mary Horan, Treasa Ní Ghearraigh  and Winifred Macklin baked scones, bread and cakes, and the girls from the solidarity camp helped lay out the food at the exhibition. By 6:30 the Town Hall was packed with people chatting and eating, amazed by the power of the images and delighted at the tasty seafood – the fact that The Chief was still locked up for opposing an oil company, while his fellow fishermen on the US Gulf Coast watched from land as their livelihood was being decimated by the BP Oil Spill was not lost on those who lapped up his crab meat!

Pat 'The Chief' O'Donnell who missed out on the premiere night due  to his imprisonment

By 7:15 the theatre was packed to the brim for the world premiere of The Pipe – 80 minutes later it was over – relief! The reaction was incredible – people stood up and clapped and cheered all the way to the end of the credits. Finally, the voice of the local people had been heard – without slant or agenda, and despite their weaknesses also being shown on screen, their dignity, humanity, and humour, in times of hardship and despair, shone through.  Lelia Doolin gave it the best compliment, she said it was ’subversive’ – because the real Corrib story had been buried for years under spin, misinformation and manipulation of the media – to quote George Orwell ’speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act’.