Skip to main content

Two Irish Films Among the Nominees at the Cinema for Peace Gala

Film Base

Juanita Wilson’s AS IF I AM NOT THERE and the documentary THE PIPE directed by Risteard Ó Domhnaill have both received nominations for the Cinema for Peace Awards which celebrate outstanding cinematic work which highlights the human condition and human values.

AS IF I AM NOT THERE has been nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Movie of the Year for bringing attention to crimes against humanity and particularly women in Bosnia. Other films nominated in this category include The Social Network, The Kings Speech and The Kids Are Alright.

The Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Movie of the Year is selected by an independent international jury comprised of 100 film journalists, humanitarians, directors and other public figures and is bestowed on a production that stands up for basic human values such as freedom and humanity.

THE PIPE has been nominated for the International Green Film Award for depicting the struggle of a small rural community against a powerful corporation. The award is presented to a movie that has shown an outstanding dedication to the protection of the environment.

The Cinema for Peace Awards will take place in Berlin on Monday 14th February.

Juanita Wilson’s critically acclaimed directorial debut AS IF I AM NOT THERE tells the story of a young woman from Sarajevo whose life is shattered the day a young soldier walks into her apartment and tells her to pack her things. Rounded up with the other women from the village and imprisoned in a warehouse in a remote region of Bosnia, she quickly learns the rules of camp life.

Wilson, whose short film THE DOOR was nominated for a Best Short Film Oscar last year has been named as one of Variety’s Ten Directors to Watch in 2011. AS IF I AM NOT THERE which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September has received six IFTA nominations and will screen at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival later this month. The film was produced by Nathalie Lichtenthaler and James Flynn for Octagon Films. It will hit Irish cinemas in March and will be distributed by Element Pictures Distribution.

THE PIPE is a compelling documentary of Rossport’s struggle against the economic might of Shell and the tragic divisions that have split a once-peaceful and close knit community. Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s passionate, brave and beautifully shot documentary, produced by Rachel Lysaght (Underground Films), for Scannáin Inbhear, has already picked up the Best Documentary Award at the Galway Film Fleadh 2010, as well as being highly acclaimed by audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival and receiving an Honourable Mention from the Green Screen Jury at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam last year.

Rossport is a tiny village of farmers and fishermen in north Mayo that has, for years, been resisting Shell’s attempts to install a high-pressure pipeline to transport unprocessed gas from the massive new gas fields off the coast to an inland refinery. The government gave Shell compulsory acquisition powers over farmland in Rossport, and in June 2005, five local men were imprisoned for 94 days for defying a court order allowing Shell workers to enter their land. This set in train a cycle of protests, heavy-handed policing and a legal conflict that continues to this day. Years of protest have left bitter divisions in the community between moderate campaigners, those perceived to have ’sold out’, and hardliners whose tactics have included direct action and a hunger strike.

For four years, Ó Domhnaill’s intimate access allowed him follow three members of the community; Willie Corduff, one of the Rossport Five and his attempts to defend the farm his father reclaimed from the bog; Monica Müller who controversially refused to join protests but whose court action has delivered a major blow to Shell; and Pat ‘The Chief’ O’Donnell, a local fisherman who is repeatedly arrested for daringly sailing his small fishing boat into the path of the gigantic pipe-layer The Solitaire. The film captures the anxiety, anger and disillusionment of years of conflict as well as their passionate connection to the local environment, and the spirit, humour and heroism that sustains them.

THE PIPE is produced by Scannáin Inbhear with funding from Bord Scannán na hEireann / the Irish Film Board and TG4.

The annual Cinema for Peace Awards seek to promote valuable films and attract worldwide attention to important social issues covered in films. The main focus is on the humanitarian value of the films. Cinema for Peace rewards dedicated filmmaking in terms of communicating ethical values, tolerance and intercultural understanding, as well as raising critical awareness for current challenges of our time. Unlike festival awards, the Cinema for Peace Award honours not primarily the quality of the cinematic achievement, but first of all the social idea, the humanitarian dedication of the project as well as the significant contribution to a critical examination of ideal values such as freedom of opinion and democracy.