I created a series of videos last year for Martinstown House, a beautiful 17th century strawberry gothic manor house in the Curragh. Martinstown House is owned and managed by the Booth family who run the property as a spectacular wedding venue and guest house. I spent three days shooting in the house and gardens, and created these videos interviewing the family and highlighting aspects of the business, from Weddings to fine dining.
I created this series of videos to promote the ecology centre Sonairte. The centre is located less than a mile from the seaside, close to where I grew up in Laytown, Co Meath. Founded in the 1980’s, it was set up to promote hands on learning about the environment, and to exhibit alternative energy, a radical idea at the time. It’s a remarkably tranquil place, where visitors can walk a nature trail or learn sustainable growing techniques in a seizable Victorian market garden.
I shot these videos over two days at the centre, and developed the campaign around promoting the distinct experiences available, from Yoga classes to delicious organic fruit and veg. I may have stolen a few apples, hanging from the heavily laden branches of Sonairte’s twenty-seven distinct species of apple tree.
Sonairte are actively seeking volunteers, especially people with experience in organic horticulture or fundraising at state and European level. You can contact them by phone on 041 982 7572 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everything was shot on the Panasonic G80, with a Sigma 18 – 35 Art lens. Most shots were captured on the Crane 2 gimbal. Editing and grading was done in Da-Vinci Resolve, and titling in Final Cut Pro.
All music is by Alexander Kyd, donated with kind permission, from his records 51 Pegasi and These Waters Remember, which are available to purchase on bandcamp.
Wicklow Sudbury School is an experiment in Irish education. The first curriculum ‘free school’ in the country. A school where students spend all day long, pursuing their real interests. The Sudbury Valley model, pioneered in Massachusetts in the late 1960s, puts children in charge of directing their own education. A few years ago I organised some events along these lines in Dublin. Learning and teaching as self directed fun. Those experiences, and my time volunteering at Exchange Dublin – the democratically organised art space in Temple Bar forcibly shut down by Dublin City Council in 2014 – have shown me the power of learning as play. The importance of genuine ‘third spaces’, where people can explore through play to offer the kind of deep personal enrichment that bureaucratic curricula and educational measures cannot hope to define, let alone measure. These spaces are so rare in our contemporary societies, where every inch is commodified and defined, every intervention tailored, every creative work moulded and marketed to a constructed audience, that they can seem fantastical. They are spaces that literally remind us what it means to be human. Connection, creativity, love in action.
Last year I made a radio documentary, following a year in the life of the school – exploring in a small way the opportunities for more libertine forms of education in Ireland in general. This year, as I moved out of radio and into video production, I offered to head back to the school, to help with their crowd funding campaign. I spent a day at Wicklow Sudbury, shooting interviews and capturing the decidedly unconventional educational environment. I combined short interviews with three staff and five students with footage of the learning through play that makes this place unique. The end results are a ten minute mini-documentary and a two minute promotional video. Unlike the documentary this campaign is decidedly partisan. I’ve worked as hard as I can to convey the enthusiasm of staff and students for this new kind of education.
Hopefully these videos capture a little about what makes this school so different. This really is a place where kids can be themselves. A place to develop the kind of diverse talents that our rigid bureaucratic education system cannot accept, let alone promote. These kids are passionate, creative, and above all independently minded. They give me hope for a future less rigid, heartless and polarised than the present. This is the kind of place that any misunderstood, creative kid might have imagined into existence. It’s the sort of place that makes having kids worth considering. It’s that revolutionary. If you’re interested in learning more, Wicklow Sudbury staff frequently offer talks about setting up your own community school, and you can find information about these, and if you’d like donate towards the school (which naturally receives no government funding), at their website.
Shot and directed this music video for American anti-folk artist Ray Brown recently with the stunning Nicole O’Connor.
Two years back I was visiting New York, and didn’t have anywhere to stay. I put “friends who live in New York City” into facebook, and messaged everyone who came up, asking for a couch. Ray Brown, a guy who I’d met for thirty minutes at a yard party years before, said he couldn’t put me up but offered to take me out on the town. That night we visited the legendary Sidewalk cafe, the East Village anti-folk bar where Ray has been a regular for over thirty years. Ray introduced me to a cute girl and I fell head over heels in love.
Ever since, Ray and I have been friends, and on his most recent trip to Ireland (where I live) to record a record, I did some shooting in the studio, thinking to one day make a documentary about his extraordinary life. Only afterwards, with the album already in pre-production did it occur to me that this footage might make a cool music video. So I’ve been hacking away at this for the past week or so. It’s shot on my humble Panasonic G85, with the Sigma 18 – 35, just in whatever light we had in Alfionn studio – a tiny independent space in Dublin; and graded in DaVinci with Red Giant Universe.
Recorded at Alfionn Studios, May / June / August 2018.
Performing – Ray Brown, Myles Manley, Nick Boon, Chris Barry, Brandon Perdomo, and Ali Byrne.
Producer – Chris Barry.
It’s the eve of the Irish abortion referendum, and Ella returns home to vote. She’s staying with her brother Ger, whom she hasn’t seen for years since their parents break up. Things don’t go easy when Ella discovers Ger is planning to vote a different way.
Starring Nicole O’Connor and Adam Tyrell.
Written by Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal.
Directed by Gareth Stack.
Assistant Director Patrick O’Brien.
Music by Elga Fox.