An emotional documentary which chronicles how a West of Ireland community was torn apart by the Corrib gas pipeline is available for purchase from this weekend when DVD copies of The Pipe go on sale in shops throughout Ireland.
The feature length documentary, shot over four years by Galway-based film maker Richie O’Donnell, has won a number of awards at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic since its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh last summer.
O’Donnell has just completed a distribution deal for both Ireland and Britain, with the result that DVD copies of the film will be available in shops such as Tesco and HMV from this weekend.
“It is an emotional film which people seem to want to have and I would imagine it will transfer well onto DVD,” said O’Donnell this week. He has been amazed by the standing ovations the film has received in cities such as Toronto, London, and Boston. In the US, the film is seen to be hugely topical following the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.
“People in the United States, the UK, or Germany just seem to ‘get it’. I guess they feel it could be about a community anywhere, dealing with a massive development which is backed by a Government which sides with the developer,” said O’Donnell.
“Energy also seems to be a huge story now, from the Gulf oil spill to the threat of disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. People are acutely aware of how much the price of oil has gone up at the pumps. Here in Ireland, people are becoming more aware of the massive resources we have off the west coast.”
O’Donnell, a news cameraman for TG4, spent four years filming the lives of the ordinary people of Broadhaven Bay who became embroiled in a dispute with Shell over the controversial gas pipeline. As the local residents fought to retain their way of life, O’Donnell realised that he was filming something special and received funding from both TG4 and the Irish Film Board to complete his first feature length documentary.
“Both TG4 and the Irish Film Board showed great trust in me, as I had never made a film before,” he told The Connacht Tribune. “I think we are very lucky to have both organisations here in Galway. They never tried to interfere with the editorial slant of the film.”
A number of international gongs have followed the Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA) for Best Documentary which The Pipe picked up in Dublin in February and O’Donnell felt that producing a DVD of the film was the next logical step after screenings throughout Europe and the United States.
"I didn't set out to make a full-length film in the first place, as I was just working as a news cameraman and living on my uncle’s farm, which overlooks Broadhaven Bay. It happened almost organically,” said O’Donnell.