RTS Republic of Ireland

RTS Republic of Ireland, RTS Scotland and RTS East appoint new centre chairs

Charles Byrne

He has served on the RoI committee since the centre launched in 1996 and took over from founding Chair Al Lennon in 2000. “Al was the inspiration for the RoI centre and it’s been a great honour to continue his work,” said Byrne.

He is proud that the centre’s Student Television Awards have grown over the past decade: “I’ve been delighted that jury chair Marie Penston and I have been able to build up the awards. For a small centre, we have enjoyed great success at the national awards in London.”

Winners of RTS Republic of Ireland Student Awards announced

Alan Esslemont presenting the Short Form award to Jack Desmond and Philip Emo (Credit: George Adjaye)

The National Film School’s Éabha Bortolozza and Jack Kirwin took home the Animation award for their film about alcoholism, The Usual. “The composition and flow of the imagery is creative and demonstrates a high standard of animation direction,” said the judges.

Brendan McCallion and Frank O’Malley’s farm-set film, Backwater, won the Drama award and featured “a strong acting cast”, with “good scripting, detailed camera shots and set design [making] this a decidedly powerful production”.

Republic of Ireland centre hit the dance floor

Dancing with the Stars (Credit: RTÉ)

The show, the international version of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, began its third series at the beginning of the year. It is made by ShinAwiL for RTÉ, and hosted by Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne.

A team of 120-150 people are involved in the production of the two-hour live broadcast, which has been compared to “producing a Eurovision Song Contest every week for 12 weeks”.

Executive producer and ShinAwiL CEO Larry Bass said that the dance floor was bigger than the area used in the original BBC version of the show.

RTS ROI commemorate the life and works of Patrick Kavanagh

Art Agnew and Dr Una Agnew and Peter Murphy gave the Presentation (Credit: George Adjaye)

Dr Una Agnew, the author of The Mystical Imagination of Patrick Kavanagh, gave a fascinating insight into the life and works of the poet with her brother Art Agnew and Peter Murphy.

Kavanagh wrote of everyday Irish life and his best-known works include the poems On Raglan Road and The Great Hunger, and the novel Tarry Flynn.

RTS ROI holds a special screening of A Jar with Brendan Behan

Godfrey Graham and Alan Esslemont at the RTS ROI Student Awards (Credit: Charles Byrne)

The film was shot and produced by Godfrey Graham, who revealed at the RoI event that, at the time, Pierre had been a Swedish researcher working at RTÉ Television. She was fascinated with the Irish writer and approached Graham, who took on the challenge of producing the tribute to Behan.

A Jar with Brendan Behan features Níall Tóibín as Behan, who died in 1964. Tóibín also appeared in a stage adaptation of Behan’s Borstal Boy on Broadway, as well as acting in the movies Ryan’s Daughter and Veronica Guerin.

Peter McEvoy sheds light on documentary filmmaking from the 1960s

In his presentation at RTÉ Television Centre, Dublin, Peter McEvoy explained how the Radharc – Gaelic for vision – films started in the early 1960s. They are not religious programmes as such, but reflect a spiritual ethos.  

McEvoy, a former RTÉ producer, used excerpts from the films to illustrate Radharc’s remarkably broad reach, both geographically and thematically.

The first Radharc programme was aired in January 1962 and over the next 34 years RTÉ broadcast more than 400 from Ireland and around the world.

Christopher Fitz-Simon delivers presentation at RTÉ in Dublin

Christopher and Anne Fitz-Simon

In “How not to train for drama ­– Hamlet without the prince”, Fitz-Simon recalled his life as a stage-struck teenager, including a visit to a 1950 production of Hamlet by the legendary director Tyrone Guthrie at the Gate Theatre.

The production had been announced as being “in modern dress”, which the Dublin theatre critics snidely attributed to the management’s desire to save money on costumes. In the event, the cast was sumptuously dressed in Schiaparelli and Chanel.

The filming of Ryan's Daughter remembered

The arrival of Oscar-winning director David Lean – who had already made the revered epics The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia – in Dingle, Co Kerry in 1970 to make Ryan’s Daughter was big news.

The movie, set in the years after the Easter Rising, starred Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sarah Miles, with an original screenplay from Robert Bolt and cinematography by Freddie Young.