FNI Wrap Chat #179 | Alan Gilsenan | Director (Ghosts of Baggotonia) out now in Irish Cinemas.
Paul Webster hosts this episode with director Alan Gilsenan, one of the most prolific filmmakers working in Ireland, about his fascinating career spanning three decades and an incredibly varied and impressive body of work as well as his latest film, Ghosts of Baggotonia. An evocative film-poem exploring the literary and other ghosts of the bohemian quarter bordering Dublin’s Baggot Street during the mid-20th century where there was a radical flourishing of artistic and intellectual activity.
A screening of ‘Ghosts of Baggotonia’, followed by a Q&A with Alan Gilsenan and poet Seán Hewitt, will be held at the IFI in Dublin on Friday, December 9 and is screening in cinemas around the country.
Alan Gilsenan is an Irish writer, filmmaker and theatre director. His work includes the cinematic documentaries Ghosts of Baggotonia, The Yellow Bittern, Then Meeting and Meetings with Ivor, the feature film Unless, based on a novel by Carol Shields and The Meeting, which he wrote and directed and premiered at the 2018 Dublin Film Festival.
Gilsenan is a former chairperson of the Irish Film Institute. He also served on the Irish Film Board, and on the board of the International Dance Festival Ireland. Between 2009 and 2014, Gilsenan served on the board of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, where he chaired the Editorial and Creative Output Committee. He is currently on the Board of Fighting Words, a creative writing centre for young people founded by Sean Love & novelist Roddy Doyle.
Having made an acclaimed film of Samuel Beckett's TV drama, Eh Joe, Gilsenan came to note with his controversial, award-winning documentary for the U.K.'s Channel 4 The Road to God Knows Where. With producer Martin Mahon, he formed Yellow Asylum Films and made a number of documentaries on challenging aspects of Irish life. These include The Asylum (a four-hour portrait of Portrane Psychiatric Hospital), The Hospice (inside St Francis Hospice), The Home (about old age), I See A Darkness (about suicide in Ireland), and A Time to Die (on euthanasia).
Gilsenan's Other work includes.
Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay, a drama-documentary with Maria Doyle Kennedy in the title role which premiered at the London Film Festival;
God Bless America, a series for ITV in the United Kingdom, six portraits of U.S. cities through the eyes of American authors, including Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Patricia Cornwell and Garrison Keillor;
The Irish Empire, the opening and closing episodes of a five-hour history of Irish emigration;
The Green Fields of France, a poetic meditation on the Irish who died fighting in World War I;
Maura’s Story, the story of a young Irish-American woman who became a Buddhist saint in Japan;
Ó Pheann an Phiarsaigh, a film-poem inspired by the creative writings of Patrick Pearse;
The Ghost of Roger Casement, a feature documentary.
His latest film, Ghosts of Baggotonia, is out this weekend.
Watch the trailer below.