Sonairte in Winter is a short educational film presented by climate activist and nature educator Nicola Winters. The 30 minute film is available for private showings at schools and conferences, online and off.
“Sonairte [pronounced SON-ART-A] is an interactive visitor centre, located on the coast off Meath, promoting ecological awareness and sustainable living. The name Sonairte is derived from a middle Irish word meaning “positive strength”.
Sonairte was established as a charity in 1988 by members of the local community and concerned environmentalists to promote environmental awareness and education. At Sonairte we work with groups from all backgrounds, ages and abilities, including pre-schools, primary schools, post primary schools, third level institutions, tour groups and youth groups. We also provide facilities and programmes for the general public, community groups and interested individuals.
Our courses aim to provide information, education and practical skills on a range of topics, such as biodiversity, organic gardening and sustainable living. Our approach is holistic, and with small numbers on each course, learner focused.”
I spent the second half of December shooting these nine short plays for DU Conservatoire (DIT Drama Department to you and me). They’re an interesting bunch, with some genuinely great performances amongst them. Shot in hopefully a more cinematic way than most ‘zoom theatre’.
I built a custom shoulder rig to shoot these plays, and alternated between shoulder mounted, handheld, gimbal and tripod shooting, throughout.
Another video long held back by the pandemic, is finally here. It’s my music video for Crumlin based hiphop trio ‘Powerful Creative Minds‘. This is the first single off their upcoming EP. This video was a bit of a family project as not only did I work with long term collaborators James Van De Waal, and Greg O’Reilly, my girlfriend Nicole O’Connor stars and helped out with the animation.
Credits – courtesy PCM.
This is our first single of our upcoming EP ‘39’ 3️⃣9️⃣
This song is inspired by some of the relationship and friendship problems some people close to us have faced over time.
‼️All video content was shot prior to lockdown‼️
Director / Editor – Gareth Stack Camera – James Van De Waal / Greg O’Reilly Animation – Nicole O’Connor
Starring – Nicole O’Connor + Daniel Hanks Extras – Fadgie Alan , Woolfie O’Brien , Doug O’Sullivan , Markel Hendrix , Snoozie Byrne, Ross Mooney , Nicole Kelly Special Thanks to me Ma and Da and Gareth and his fantastic team for all their work
Early this year I was approached by Professor Richard Roche of Maynooth University, and musicians Aural Air (Dr. Laura Rai) & Patrick McEleney. Laura & Patrick had written a song articulating the experience of living with Alzheimer’s disease. The song was a fundraiser for the incredible Alzheimer’s Ireland, and was intended to be released during the ‘Brain Awareness Week‘ event run by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland.
Inspired by a beautiful episode of ‘The Truth’ podcast, called ‘Can You Help Me Find My Mom‘ by Diana McCorry, I developed the concept of a young girl lost in the city, who doesn’t know who or where she is, until love helps her recover her memory.
We filmed the video over a week in Dublin, with incredible help from Patricia Pierce of Our Lady’s Hospice, and all the staff at the National Botanic Gardens. Professor Roche himself produced the video and even has a cameo as a put upon doctor! Laura (a neuroscientist herself) starred, alongside veteran actor and retired psychologist Professor Emeritus Mike Timms (who previously cameo’d in my video for Chris Wilson’s ‘Now I See You‘. Finally we had the immense privilege of working with renowned Irish actress Rosemary Henderson who in addition to touring with her own show about dementia, based on her experience caring for her father, is well known at home and abroad for her work on shows like Fair City and of course Father Ted.
Our director of photography was the incredible Siobhán Rose Madden, who previously worked with me on the epic video ‘Pardon Me‘ for Shy Mascot. And our gaffer was Paul Lynch of Studio 4, without who’s help we could not have pulled this together.
The video (like everything else it seems) was delayed due to the pandemic, but we’re delighted to be able to release it today. Thanks again to everyone who gave so generously of their time. Please donate to Alzheimer’s Ireland if you can. Times are hard, but this is a brilliant charity, helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Alzheimer’s and dementia in general affect everyone – whether directly or through their impact on fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues. Right now my own family help care for our eldest living relative, my great aunty Anna, who’s battling dementia. With luck, and the help of organisations like Alzheimer’s Ireland, research can defeat this cruel disease.
My partner, artist and graphic designer Nicole O’Connor was award a commission to paint an electrical box in Dublin. The Dublin Canvas initiative offers artists from around the city the opportunity to create an officially sanctioned piece of urban art. Adding a splash of colour to these otherwise unslightly pieces of street furniture. In this short doc, Nicole describes her connection to the city and the process involving carrying her digital design to the streets.
If you’d like to see the box in person, head on down to Island Bridge in Dublin 8. The box is just a few feet down the street from the Storyboard Cafe.
Last year my friend Shane Connelly approached me with a proposal to create some short documentaries for the Velo City festival. Velo City is a huge cycling transport policy event that happens in a different city each year. Last year Dublin played host. Shane and I are both avid cyclists. Both intensely disturbed by our cities laggardly pace in creating a usable cycling infrastructure. And by the casualties of drunk and wreckless drivers are poorly adapted roads, and lax driver safety enforcement create. We’d been bothered too by research evidencing what we as cyclists had gradually become aware of. An attitude amongst an enormous number of drivers that cyclists aren’t quite human. We wanted to emphasise the individuality of bike users. Cutting across every demographic of Dublin’s vibrant multicultural community. The organised cycling groups can at times convey the image of a helmeted, lycra clad, hyper fit faceless cyclist, unintentionally feeding into the idea of the cyclist as an obstruction, rather than a vulnerable person sharing the road with potentially lethal machines. We were lucky enough to obtain funding for the project from Dublin City Council’s Arts Office and the Velo City conference itself. We put the call out to the cycling community and found an incredible and varied bunch of Dubliners to take part. The films were finished just in time for the conference and screened at a one off event in a city centre arts space.
Covid has given me the time to return to the project, re-editing and grading each short, and adding music. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting each of the seven final ‘micro documentaries’ to the website http://wellspuntales.com/
Here’s the first one, featuring the delightful Irish writer Lucille Redmond, introducing us to the Dodder Park in Dartry.
My youtube review show ‘Hot Lunch’ took a look at the Zeiss CP.3 range of compact prime lenses, testing them out on both the Black Magic Pocket 4K and 6K. These cinema primes are a filmmakers dream, offering beautiful skin tones, silky smooth aperture and focus, and full frame coverage over the whole range. We put them through their paces in a variety of setting as Covid-19 lockdown eased up in Ireland. Thanks as always to channel sponsor http://camerakit.ie for supplying the glass (and Pocket 6K) used in this review.
I created this ad for the new glamping facilities at Martinstown House. Martinstown is a beautiful Strawberry Gothic great house located near the Curragh in County Kildare. They have a new glamping setup that puts you to sleep right amidst the trees.
In association with Maynooth University Dept of Psychology, we’re creating a music video to support the single Memory by Aural Air & Patrick McEleney. All funds raised through sales of this single will be donated directly to the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. Our production team are donating their time and use of equipment for this great cause. Our goal is to finish the video by March 12, to coincide with the launch of National Brain Awareness Week.
We’re looking for a hospital / elder care facility, ideally in the North East of Ireland – Dublin / Wicklow / Meath / Louth etc.
We would ideally film over one evening / night in the coming two weeks. Our camera setup will be minimal and will not create any disruption to the normal functioning of the facility. Below I’ve included some information on Brain Awareness Week and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.
Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Currently there are almost 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland. 4,000 of these people are under 65 and are classified as having younger onset dementia. It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia will rise to 153,157 by 2046 due to population ageing. Approximately 4,000 cases of dementia are identified in Ireland each year. There are approximately 50,000 family carers caring for someone with dementia. For each person diagnosed with dementia there at least three family members directly affected.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland works across the country in the heart of local communities providing dementia specific services and supports and advocating for the rights and needs of all people living with dementia and their carers. Our vision is an Ireland where no one goes through dementia alone and where policies and services respond appropriately to the person with dementia and their carers, at the times they need support.
Love your Brain is an awareness campaign led by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland to coincide with National Brain Awareness Week March 16th to 22nd 2020. The campaign aims to promote greater awareness and understanding of the brain and brain conditions as well as the need for more investment in services, research and prevention. Love your Brain is supported by nearly 30 patient organisations and research groups which will be involved in organising events for Brain Awareness Week throughout the country.
There are 4 parts to the Campaign:
1. Understand your Brain: Promoting greater understanding and knowledge about our brains and how they work
2. Keeping Your Brain Healthy: Raising awareness of brain health and how you can protect and strengthen your brain
3. Living with a Neurological Condition: Calling for more investment in services for the 800,000 Irish people living with neurological conditions
4. Promoting Brain Research: Highlighting the need to support research into the brain and brain conditions