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St Patrick's Day Online Film Festival
by Wyllie O Hagan
2009-03-17 08:38:29
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Question 1: – Clare O Hagan -  Tell us about what inspired you to make a film festival in the first place?

Carricklee Races © 2009 WyllieOHaganI am Irish, as youngsters St Patrick’s Day was a very special day for us. Nowadays St Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide. the nature of the day has changed, and most of the activities are sponsored by the global alcohol and entertainment industry.

We started our festival three years ago when we looked at over 3000 videos about St Patrick’s Day over that holiday weekend on Youtube.

We looked for uplifting and insightful films that did not denigrade our culture. So we did not select contain caterwauling drunks in oversize hats in the shape of a pint of Guinness, leprechauns having sex, painted green bosoms or big green bottoms.

The little film gems we found we showcased on our Youtube channel. We really founded our festival to mark the day in a creative way. It is a quest really is to bring some magic back into St Patrick’s Day.

Question 2: - Clare O Hagan – Where does the magic come from and how do you bring it back?

Carricklee Races © 2009 WyllieOHaganI come from people who could sing, and recite poetry, and who could celebrate with great gusto in poetry and song.

We want to pass that magical legacy on.

So we look for and showcase films that are imaginative, that show traditional and non-traditional aspects of Ireland's culture; its inclusiveness, its changes, natural beauty, fiction, fact or legend - our festival embraces all interpretations..

We have only one rule and that is:

No racist stereotypes. We don’t show films that celebrate binge drinking.

Question 3 : Denise Wyllie – Where do the films come from?

Films are contributed from all over the world. We have a good support from the USA and some plucky Americans have even visited us for our annual screening event in London. We also have a good response from Ireland and the UK of course plus  Poland, France, Australia and Japan.    We get a varied mix of films – funny and serious that range from music videos, travelogues, celebrations with food, animations, short dramas and even a weather report!

Question 4 : Denise Wyllie – Tell us about the gems

Wyllie O Hagan at the Cannes Film Festival with American film director Spike Lee. Photo: Andrew RossWe have lots of gems - last year, one of our festival films gems, won a major award at the Cannes Film Festival. A young Irish film-maker called Brian Deane, made a powerful film called “Without Words” The film is about suicide within his peer group. Clare, Brian and I went to Cannes to accept the award which was presented by Spike Lee. That was unexpected and exciting, and endorsed the value of the work we put into the festival.

We are still gathering in films for  this year’s festival. We have great Irish-made film called ‘Badly drawn Roy’ that’s superbly observed and inventive in its concept,  plus a lyrical animation from the US called “Eve of Ireland”. The film-maker says that though he is an Irish American he has not yet been to Ireland and  has this romantic idea of what Ireland will be like. His work is a playful experiment showing objects such as clocks and vintage buttons with images of writers of famous Irish literature.

We are delighted to share all the film gems online.

Question 5: You two have made a film called Carricklee for this years festival. Can you tell us about that, Clare O Hagan:

Carricklee Races © 2009 WyllieOHaganYes, this is a short digital mixed media work we’ve just completed. In the film we use still photography, moving image, archive visual and audio material, with narration and music to tell the story of why we founded the festival. Carricklee Races is a film about love and loss and the film looks forward with hope.

I was born on the Tyrone, Donegal border in the North West of Ireland. On St Patrick’s Day, as children we would go to the Carricklee horse races and it was just a magical day for us.  The races stopped in the early 70’s at the start of the troubles in Northern Ireland, and we had little to celebrate for a long time. When it was all over, we found that the day had changed utterly. The harp, a musical instrument, and the symbol of Ireland is now a registered trademark of a multi- national company with a portfolio of world-famous drinks brands.

We are taking our harp back to mark our day and celebrate it within our film festival, and we invite you to join us on the Wyllie O Hagan YouTube channel.

We wish you all a very Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Wyllie O Hagan Youtube Channel

* * * * * *

About Wyllie O Hagan

Wyllie O Hagan, that is - Denise Wyllie and Clare O'Hagan, are visual artists and activists, who live and work in London, England. They are painters, and printmakers, and they make digital films as part of their art practice.

The artists founded the Wyllie O Hagan St Patrick’s Day Online Film Festival 3 years ago.

 For the festival they invite filmmakers professional, students and non-professional to make a short digital film reflecting the richness and generosity of the spirit of the Ireland and the Irish people.

Their  festival is hosted online on the Wyllie O Hagan Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/wyllieohagan

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Wyllie O Hagan2009-03-21 14:34:03
Thanks OVI for featuring our work. We are delighted to tell you that the Wyllie O Hagan St Patrick's Day Online film festival formed the backbone of featured videos on YouTube on March 17 2009.

Eight films from the festival were promoted on Youtube's home page attracting over 800,000 viewers

All the films are online on Wyllie O Hagan's YouTube channel.

Wyllie O Hagan YouTube Featured Films 2009:

Carricklee Races
An Irish weaver's rugged remote life
The Hill of Slane
The tree of knowledge
Dear little shamrock
Eve of Ireland
Happy St Patrick's Day from my cat!
The Mountains of Mourne

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