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IFTA-nominated documentary The Artist & The Wall of Death currently on exclusive presentation at the IFI
14 Mar 2023 : News Desk
Stephen Skrynka in The Artist & The Wall
The feature documentary, which tells the story of one man’s life-long obsession with the ‘Wall of Death’, is directed by Maurice O’Brien (Buffalo Dreams, Hey Ronnie Reagan), and produced by John Kelleher, David Power, and Grant Keir.

The Artist & The Wall of Death is currently on exclusive release in the Irish Film Institute.
On Friday, the opening night screening was followed by a Q&A with director Maurice O’Brien and producer John Kelleher, hosted by filmmaker Kim Bartley. 

The Artist & The Wall of Death tells the thrilling story of Glaswegian performance artist, Stephen Skrynka, and his life-long obsession with the ‘Wall of Death’. Determined to conquer the Wall, he endures a humiliating experience training with renowned wall rider Ken Fox before discovering the story of Irishmen Michael Donohoe and Connie Kiernan. 

“A wall of death is an old motorcycle, kind of fairground attraction, which involves riding a motorbike around a vertical wall at speed,” director Maurice O’Brien explained at the film’s UK premiere in Glasgow Film Festival. “We won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say things don’t go as planned.

In 1979, Connie and Michael had constructed a ramshackle ‘Wall of Death’ on their farm in rural Granard, inspiring the much-loved feature film Eat the Peach. Forty years on, Stephen appears in town and presents them with an audacious proposal: construct a new ‘Wall of Death’ with him and take it on tour.

Though the wall is painstakingly constructed, a massive argument between the trio brings the endeavour skidding to a halt. Devastated, Stephen returns to Glasgow. However, with a pandemic raging, Stephen somehow finds the heart to try one last time and he begins to build his own Wall from scratch. 

Directed by first time feature documentary filmmaker, Maurice O’Brien, The Artist and the Wall of Death is a story of second chances, of art vanquishing death, of embracing failure and dealing with unfinished business.

Tickets for The Artist & The Wall of Death in the IFI are on sale here.

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