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Charlie Bird on the Trail of Tom Crean

  • Charlie Bird on the Trail of Tom Crean
  • 2 x 52mins / Format HD/ Funder RTノ

For 20 years Charlie Bird has wanted to travel to the South Pole to tell the story of a remarkable Irishman. In 2011 Charlie's wish came true. Tom Crean is fast becoming an Irish legend and to bring Crean's story to life, Charlie spent two months crisscrossing Antarctica and travelled to the South Pole, completing a journey Crean was denied from making on the very cusp of success. With Crean the official mascot of the Boy Scouts and part of the Primary School curriculum, 'On the Trail of Tom Crean' tells the definitive story of the legendary Kerryman and reveals the crucial role Crean played in some of the most dramatic events in exploration.






Ireland’s Lost Birds Fight Back
4x26 Min Documentary Series / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ, BAI

Wildlife/natural history series following the trials of two men bringing the Wild Eagles back to Ireland after an absence of over 100 years. Their quest is tracked through all weathers and seasons and set against the most striking action of the wildlife year in the mountains of Kerry and Donegal.

It is the most important Irish wildlife story in decades - the return of the two largest birds of prey ever to darken Irish skies - the White Tailed & the Golden Eagle. With countless animals becoming extinct worldwide, the return of these raptors to their natural home in Ireland is a rare environmental triumph and a genuine ‘good news’ story. From scaling cliffs in the wilds of Norway and Scotland on the hunt for new chicks, to hiring planes to fly them home, to nursing them through the first crucial months, Return of the Raptors has powerful wildlife and strong human characters allied to genuine adventure and drama as the story of the bird’s survival in Ireland unfolds.




1x52Min Documentary / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ

In July 2006, an ancient manuscript was recovered from a bog in the midlands of Ireland. After 1200 years submerged, this miracle of archaeological survival is the first early Irish manuscript to come to light in over 200 years.

In this film, the discovery and investigation of this ancient manuscript headlined by The New York Times as ‘Ireland’s Dead Sea Scrolls’ brings viewers on a journey into the world of Ireland’s early Christian monks and how they kept the fires of Christianity burning on the outer limits of the known world when much of Europe languished in the Dark Ages.

The film explores how these monks not only produced some of the greatest works of art in history such as the Book of Kells, but how they also preserved some of the most important texts ever written - books in danger of being lost forever with the sacking of Europe’s most important libraries.




2x52 Min Documentary Series / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ

Series exploring the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people growing up in Ireland.

As recently as 1993, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland. As the first generation born after decriminalisation comes of age, this series seeks to establish how much has changed in the Irish society in the intervening years. For young people, whose lives revolve around school and the family, is it any easier to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender today than it was seventeen years ago? Filmed over eighteen months, ‘Growing Up Gay’ follows the lives of six young people and, in the process, captures the challenging and even hostile experiences which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people face in their everyday lives.

The series also explores the more universal experiences of growing up – from the ups and downs of life at home and at school, to friendships and falling in love. By presenting the human stories behind labels such as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’, the series aims to alleviate the stigma surrounding various expressions of sexual identity.



One man, one animal and a journey into the last days of the wild tiger
1x80 Min Feature Documentary & 1x52 min version / Format: HD
Funders: Irish Film Board, RTÉ, CBC Canada,

One of the world’s leading tiger cameramen travels through India on a personal pilgrimage, piecing together the extraordinary journey of Broken Tail - one of the planet's most famous wild tigers.

Colin Stafford-Johnson spent almost 600 days filming Broken Tail & his family for some of the finest tiger documentaries ever made. Broken Tail was the most flamboyant tiger cub he'd ever seen in Ranthambhore, one of India's premier wild tiger reserves. Impossibly cute, he gambolled and posed for Colin's camera through the first years of his life. But then without warning, Broken Tail disappeared. He abandoned his sanctuary and went on the run, disappearing into the Indian wilderness for almost a year. He was barely three years old.  Why did this young tiger leave Ranthambhore National Park, supposedly one of India’s best-protected tiger reserves?

How could he possibly have survived in rural India for perhaps a year? What does his death reveal of the fate of the world’s last tigers? On a spectacular journey across Rajasthan, Colin will travel by horseback retracing Broken Tail’s last journey, gathering clues as to his route and his behaviour, asking why he abandoned the park and above all – searching for the truth behind the future of the last wild tigers in India. This is not a wildlife film. It is about the obsession of a man who has spent more time filming wild tigers than anyone on the planet. It is about his personal pilgrimage to a tiger that captivated him and the hope that through his journey, Broken Tail may provide some insight into the long-term survival of the tiger.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 2010
Stranger Than Fiction Film Festival, 2010



The stories of Ireland’s most remarkable wildlife travelers

3x52 Min Series / Format: HD
Funders: BCI, RTÉ, ENFO / Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Govt

Tracing the footsteps of Ireland’s migrating wildlife as they travel the earth in a never- ending battle for survival

This series features Ireland’s most heroic wildlife travellers and the incredible journeys they carry out every single year. From the 8,000km flown annually by the Manx Shearwaters to the transatlantic voyages of our eels and salmon, ‘Wild Journeys’ follows these voyagers to the ends of the Earth, showing the extraordinary challenges they meet and revealing the magnificent landscapes they visit en-route. This series publicises the vital work of Irish scientists as they tag and track the animals across the globe and explain how a network of wildlife links all life across the continents; how global warming directly affects our Barnacle Geese as they struggle to cope with a rapidly changing Arctic and the extraordinary distances covered by our marine animals.





Wild Journeys profiles these remarkable animals, following their Irish lives, featuring their preparations and finally their epic journeys to or from their second home. Never again will viewers take for granted an exhausted salmon leaping at a weir or the ragged formations of Geese heading into the Atlantic, for this series will show just how far they travel, where they go and what they’ve been through.



1x75 Min Feature Documentary / Format: HD
Funders: National Geographic International, TG4, Irish Film Board

One family’s nomadic journey through the most hazardous terrain of the Himalaya

The Wind Horse is a mythical Tibetan creature which combines the power of the wind and the strength of the horse to carry prayers from Earth to the Gods. Every year, it is called on by villagers living high on the Tibet-Nepal border to give them the courage and stamina to undertake a journey through some of the wildest mountain terrain in the Himalaya - an odyssey that defines almost every aspect of their earthly existence. Shot over three months in High Definition, filmmaker John Murray follows one family man Kharma Tshering as he guides his wife and children through one of the most hazardous human endeavours on the planet. They must escape their mountain home before the winter snows cut them off without enough food to see them until spring. On foot and yak, their journey is always a race against time and weather. And for Kharma, this year's journey brings unexpected personal tragedy.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 2010
Stranger Than Fiction Film Festival, 2010



2x52 Min / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ

Multi award winning filmmaker Kim Bartley follows Ireland’s best known news
correspondent Charlie Bird behind the scenes through an extraordinary year in American
and Global Politics

January 2009 and the US heads towards its most important presidential inauguration since the 1930’s. Possibly its most important inauguration ever. Against a back drop of economic turmoil, an un-popular war in Iraq and huge uncertainty in the minds of most Americans, Barack Obama faces unprecedented problems. America is at a cross-roads. Rarely in its history has so much been at stake; rarely has so much been riding on the out-come of one election.

This series follows Charlie Bird as he begins his new life in Washington with little time to settle in before the inauguration. Even for an experienced journalist like Charlie, this will be an extraordinary year. He is in at the deep end as Charlie knows this is an assignment more suited to a young reporter keen to make his mark, than a veteran in the closing years of his career. And he’s nervous about it. With unprecedented access to his life in the USA the series follows the ups and downs, frustrations and triumphs as Charlie doggedly pursues his mission across the continent.



1x120 Min & 1x70 Min Feature Documentary / Format: HD
Funders: Irish Film Board, RTÉ

An intimate and deeply personal memoir of legendary folk singer Liam Clancy revealing all sides to his remarkable life, within and without the Clancy brothers. With exclusive access to his private archive film collection, this film will go full circle through his life’s various chapters, from his childhood in Carrick on Suir to an utterly different type of Village life in New York, on tour with his brothers and then back to Ireland where he now resides. His journey down memory lane culminates in a very special concert in Greenwich village with musical legends and contemporary musicians all coming to pay homage to Liam and his legacy.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 2009
Kerry Film Festival, 2009
Chicago Irish Film Festival, 2010
Irish Reels Film Festival, Seattle, 2010
Solas Nua, Washington DC, 2010
The Craic Fest, New York, 2010
Milwaukee Irish Festival, 2010
Boston Irish Film Festival, 2010
Boston College, 2010

Nationwide cinema release, 2009



Today is a good day to come of age. Today is better than two tomorrows.
1x80 Min Feature Documentary / Format: DV
Funders: Irish Film Board, CTL Films

A tale of innocence and experience set in contemporary Laos

Directed by Anna Rodgers, ‘Today is better than two tomorrows’ is a mindful observational film set in Laos, which takes us into the heart of a unique but fading culture, and brings us on a journey in a mysterious country slowly opening to the western world. In a remote and forgotten land, two boys must leave their village to undergo a rite of passage. One will go to school; the other will become a monk. Somewhere between Buddhist wishlessness and western dreams their paths will join again.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 2009
Vancouver International Film Festival, 2009
Byron Bay International Film Festival, 2009
Canberra International Film Festival, 2009
Guth Gafa, 2009
Ireland on Sunday: Irish Film Institute, 2009
Thin Line Film Festival, 2010
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, 2010
Swansea Bay Film Festival, 2010
East End Film Festival, 2010                                                                                                                    

Full Frame Film Festival, 2010
Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2010
Cine Sparks, Australian Film Festival for Young People, 2010
European Spiritual Film Festival, 2010



2x40 Min Series / Format: HD
Funder: RTÉ

Charlie Bird travels to the Arctic on a quest for insights into a region absolutely central to the whole climate change story – a part of the world already changing before our eyes and one now featuring in international headlines on an almost daily basis.

On a 10 day adventure by dog sled through Ellesmere Island with an Inuit guide and a separate journey by Russian icebreaker to the North Pole, he explores the landscape, meets the people and experiences some serious adventures that push his endurance to the limit.



2x52 Min Series / Format: HD
Funders: BCI, RTÉ
Presenter – Diarmuid Gavin.

Who are the Irish and where did they come from? What blood flows in their veins?

The archaeological evidence currently shows that the first human settlement in Ireland was 9,000 years ago, but where did these people come from and are there traces of them still in us today? Going beyond traditional genealogy which can only take us back few hundred years, this series explores the genetic history of Irish going back into our distant past. Using groundbreaking studies from Trinity College Dublin and around the world as well as new research conducted especially for this programme, we follow the remarkable story of modern man who left Africa and the particular strands of humankind which ended up in Ireland. Journeying from Kenyan plains through Ice Age Europe and the remarkable cave art of Northern Spain, we explore the survival, adaptation and tenacity of our ancestors.

What particular genetic traits are Irish? Who are the Irish genetically closest to? Where else does Irish blood flow beyond the shores of this island? 'Blood of the Irish' explores all we want to know about the Irish people and the story of the human colonisation of this island.

Winner Best Documentary Series, Irish Film & Television Awards 2010




4x25 Min Series / Format: HD
Funders: BCI, TG4

The Story of Robert O'Hara Burke, the first white man to cross Australia

He died on his return journey in remarkable and tragic circumstances. His story is one of the truly outstanding dramas from the Great Age of Exploration and exemplifies in so many ways the extraordinary experiences of 19th Century Irish emigrants.This is not a travel series. It is living history - a journey on the trail of an Irish man whose life reveals much of the Irish experience in Australia, their and our attitudes to opportunity, adventure and race issues. Racism is central to Burke's story and ultimately he died because he could not come to terms with the aborigines and their survival skills, regarding these remarkable people with scorn and contempt.



1x90 Min Concert / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ, Culture Ireland

A unique staged event in New York's legendary club The Bitter End. Filmed in July 2008.

Featuring Liam Clancy, Shane McGowan, Tom Paxton, Eric Bibb, Gemma Hayes, Fionn Regan and members of Danú as well as the last filmed performance by the late Odetta.




The quest to solve the greatest mystery in Arctic Exploration

1x80 Min Feature Documentary & 1x47 Min / Format: HD

One of the greatest stories in polar exploration and one of the greatest mysteries in maritime history that spawned the greatest manhunt ever mounted - the story of John Franklin's lost expedition.

A key part of this story is a major international initiative to find one of the world's most important shipwrecks under the ice of the Canadian Arctic. Directed by Emmy-Award winner Peter Bate (King Leopold's Congo, Station X) and shot over two years in the Arctic on High Definition, this film is a major international co-production involving Irish, UK, Australian, German and Canadian broadcasters with support from Media and Irish Film Board.

Funders: TG4, Irish Film Board, ZDF, Five, ARTE, History Canada, History UK, MEDIA




The most daring escape in the history of Convict Australia

1x55 Min Drama Documentary / Format: HD

Funders: BCI, RTÉ, ABC, Thirteen/WNET New York, NSW Film & Television Office

One of the great stories of the high seas - the daring rescue of six Irish rebels from a notoriously brutal penal colony in Fremantle, West Australia in 1876.

The rescue plot took two years to accomplish, required the financial assistance and silence of over 7000 Irish Americans and depended upon the ingenuity of three pivotal characters to pull off one of the greatest propaganda coups in Irish nationalist history.



1x80 min Feature Documentary & 1x47 min TV Version / Format HD

Funders: National Geographic International, TG4, Irish Film Board

A breathtaking journey through the high Himalaya, following a clan of Buddhist yak herders on a two-month odyssey unmatched anywhere on the planet.

Starting from the nomad’s tiny village close to the Tibetan border, viewers will shadow the group through a soaring landscape, traversing the highest mountain passes in the world, until the exhausted caravaneers eventually reach their destination - the lowland valleys of Southern Nepal. Here they trade their goods for supplies to see them through another savage Himalayan winter. The entire existence of the people known as the Dolpo-pa revolves around this journey.

Hugo Television Awards2008
Film Fesival della Lessinia, Audience Award, 2008
International Mountain and Adventure Film Fetsival Graz, 2009



1x70 Min Feature Documentary Version / Format: Digibeta
Funders: Irish Film Board, TG4, National Geographic International

A nomadic odyssey through the mountains of Iran

The Qashqua'i are native Iranian nomadic herders who spend their lives on a gruelling migration across the Zagros mountains. With unprecedented access to one of the world's most insular and secretive countries, this film follows Bezad, a charismatic & highly articulate Qashqa'i shepard on his spectacular 500km migration across the mountains of Iran.

Grand Prize Winner Premio Lessina Festival 2007
Grand Prize Winner Tergensee Mountain Film Festival 2007
Gold Remi Award WorldFest Houston 2006



1x70 min Feature Documentary & 2x52 Min Series / Format: HD
Funders: RTÉ, Irish Film Board

The Legend of Liam Clancy unveils the darker side of the man hailed by Bob Dylan as the greatest ballad singer of all time.

Liam Clancy is an icon. Irish people, thousands of whom pack out every concert he plays, believe they know where Liam has come from, and what he's about… but they don't know the half of it. Directed by acclaimed film-maker Alan Gilsenan, this biographical film reveals the true Liam Clancy and was a landmark programme in RTE's Arts Lives series.

Winner Best Documentary Series, Irish Film & Television Awards 2007



1x70 Min Feature Documentary & 1x52 Min / Format: Digibeta
Funders: RTÉ, History Canada

Adventure/history documentary telling the story of the infamous North East Passage, one of the most challenging maritime journeys in the world.

The film follows the adventures of an Irish crew on their historic attempt to be the first to complete an East West circumnavigation of the Arctic – the last great voyage on Earth.