#IrishAbroad: Two Irish documentaries selected for the 2019 Berlinale

Two new feature documentaries supported by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Seamus Murphy’s A Dog Called Money and Kim Longinotto’s Shooting the Mafia, have been selected for the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). Both documentaries will screen in the Panorama strand of the festival, which showcases titles that are “new, daring, unconventional and wild”.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both teams on their selections for the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. The Berlinale is one of the world’s leading film festivals and the selection process is highly competitive. The festival will provide an influential and important platform to launch these films into the marketplace, alongside the European Film Market, which takes place each year during the Berlinale.
James Hickey, Chief Executive – Screen Ireland

As imaginative as the creative process it documents, A Dog Called Money which will receive its world premiere at the Berlinale, is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record.

Writer and musician Harvey and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy, hatched a collaboration. Seeking first-hand experience of the countries she wanted to write about, Harvey accompanied Murphy on some of his worldwide reporting trips, joining him in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington DC.  Harvey collected words, Murphy collected images.

Back home, the words become poems, songs, then an album, which is recorded in an unprecedented art experiment in Somerset House, London. In a specially constructed room behind one-way glass, the public – all cameras surrendered – are invited to watch the five-week process as a live sound-sculpture.  Murphy exclusively documents the experiment with the same forensic vision and private access as their travels.

By capturing the immediacy of their encounters with the people and places they visited, Murphy shows the humanity at the heart of the work, tracing the sources of the songs, their special metamorphosis into recorded music, and, ultimately, cinema.

A Dog Called Money
A Dog Called Money

A Dog Called Money is produced by Pulse Films’ Isabel Davis, JW Films’ James Wilson, Blinder Films’ Katie Holly and Seamus Murphy. Thomas Benski, Marisa Clifford, Tim O’Shea, Jim Reeves, Laura Macara, Brian Message, Sumit Bothra, Celine Haddad, Sebastian Gollek, Kieron J. Walsh are attached as Executive Producers. Evan Horan of Blinder Films will act as Co-Producer.

Shooting the Mafia
Shooting the Mafia

In sharp contrast to the all-pervasive romanticised and glamorised media image of the Sicilian Mafia, Kim Longinotto’s feature documentary Shooting the Mafia, unflinchingly explores the stark reality of life, and death, under the oppressive yoke of the Corleonesi Mafia. Photographer Letizia Battaglia stood up to the Mafia and it is through her lens that we enter this world of ritualised slaughter, omertà, semi-religious oppression and feudal control.

The scale of the mafia’s brutality and power is revealed through a combination of rare archive footage, newsreel and personal photographs and memories. The power of Letizia’s photography and the bravery and dedication of people like her helped to finally bring to an end the brutal reign of a bunch of small town thugs who’s reign of fear reached as far as the Italian presidency.

The documentary is directed by Kim Longinotto and produced by Niamh Fagan for Lunar Pictures.

The 2019 Berlinale will take place 7 – 17 February.