THE making of a new film has begun in Donegal.
Written and directed by Rathmullan’s Patrick Kearney, Grace Land will be shot principally in Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Fanad, Inishowen and further into west Donegal.
Speaking as the cameras began to roll on the production, Patrick Kearney says he is keen not reveal too much but that he is confident his movie will make it onto at least select large cinema screens both inside and outside of Ireland, television and later prime film outlets on social media.
“In a time when liberal agendas are increasingly driving major social changes globally, which for me, because of my beliefs and faith, are not always for the common good, and go against God’s teaching, Grace Land is intended to serve as a question mark of sorts – to make us stop and think, ‘Hold on a minute, what are we actually doing here…to ourselves, our children and the world in which we all live’.”
Kearney is quick to say that the film will not be moralising to people per se but rather sharing two human experiences of surviving armed conflict, dispossession, forced migration and not least, salvation through God’s grace. On the latter, Kearney draws parallels with the film’s two main characters – one Irish, the other African – with the true story of former slave trader, John Newman, whose storm-battered slave ship made it to safe anchorage in Lough Swilly in 1748, where Newton was inspired to write probably the world’s most famous and favourite hymn, Amazing Grace.
“Today slavery is still very much with us in equal measures of brutality perptrated by what the media describe as ‘people traffickers’ – basically slave traders, trading woman, young girls and boys fleeing war and famine as sex and sweatshop slaves. And we would be fooling ourselves if not believing that such victims are being put to work here in Ireland today.”
Grace Land is intended for cinema release in the autumn of 2019 and is Patrick Kearney’s third play – his first two, I Belong Here (2009) and Wise In The Head (2011), respectively addressing youth suicide and the stigma of mental illness.
Grace Land will, as a two-man play, tour particular communities in Britain next year, including schools, to raise awareness as to the presence of slavery right under the noses of decent people.
“Consumerism is the new slavery,” says the Rathmullan native. “And young people are being consumed by it every hour of every day through their phones. This is leading to dramatic increases in psychotic illnesses, self-harm, and suicide among the youth globally. The pressure of keeping up with certain trends, looks, and other’s expectations, sadly and too often tragically becomes too much to bear for many. We have to encourage our youth to put the phones down, to switch off, and to just read some poetry. Personally, I found the best poetry ever, in the Bible – when Jesus speaks to us.”
As filming of Grace Land continues across Donegal, Patrick Kearney says he welcomes interested folk stopping by for a chat with himself and his crew