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“The Pipe” filmmaker falls out with Ifta

By: 
The Irish Emigrant

The filmmaker behind an award-winning documentary on Ireland’s infamous Corrib gas project has been asked to apologize for a crack he made at the expense of the Irish Film and Television Awards (Ifta).

Risteard O’Domhnaill’s stunning new documentary The Pipe, which comes to local screens this month as part of the Irish Film Festival, Boston, follows the plight of the people of the Erris Peninsula, Co. Mayo as they have battled the oil giant Shell’s encroachment into their local area.

Filming key players in the struggle over four years, The Pipe premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in the summer of 2010 and has since won acclaim at film festivals worldwide.

As if the subject matter wasn’t controversial enough, O’Domhnaill has now been asked to retract a jibe he made about the 300 euro-a-head he had to spend on tickets for his family and crew to attend last month's Ifta ceremony, at which The Pipe claimed the George Morrison Feature Documentary Award.

After accepting his award, O’Domhnaill said he was honored, before joking:

"Thank you, Ifta. Although, at 300 euro a ticket, there'll probably be one for everyone in the audience."

The film body has accused him of abusing his stage time, branding the remark incorrect and unfair. It wants a written apology and the comments about the cost of tickets retracted.

Ifta appear to be the only ones who didn’t like the joke, with the crowd by all accounts having responded with loud laughter. Mr. O’Domhnaill has not apologized.

On the flare-up, the filmmaker remarked: "I fully appreciate the support Ifta has given me and the team, and I've thanked them for everything they have done for the film. But I don't understand why an apology and retraction is needed?

"The tickets were 300 euro and we did have to buy them on behalf of family and crew members who I strongly felt deserved to be there."

O’Domhnaill explained that he entered The Pipe in just one category because there were no funds available to pay for additional entries, which cost 100 euros and required the running off up to 200 DVDs per category.

To see what all the fuss is about, you can catch The Pipe at the Irish Film Festival, Boston, which runs this month as part of Culture Ireland’s “Imagine Ireland” initiative.

The action opens at Stuart Street Playhouse in Boston’s Theater District on Thursday, March 24th, and from Friday March 25th through Sunday March 27th screenings will take place at the historic Somerville Theater in Davis Square, Somerville.

Tickets for the weekend event cost $9, while receptions are free. For access to all of the screenings and receptions, a $75 All Access Festival Pass can be purchased. For more details, including schedules and how to purchase tickets, see irishfilmfestival.com.