New feature length documentary, ‘The Boys of St Columb’s’, directed by Tom Collins (Kings) finishes editing this week. The film, which follows the return of remarkable group of boys who went to the school in Derry, is scheduled to screen at summer festivals as well as broadcasting on BBC on 15th August and then on RTÉ in October 5th.
St Columb's College - over looking Derry's Bogside - was unusual for the crop of talented boys attending around the same time: poet and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney; novelist Seamus Deane; author, and political activist - Eamonn McCann; songwriters, Phil Coulter and Paul Brady and Ambassador James Sharkey. It is the only school in the world which can boast two past pupils as Nobel Prize winners: John Hume and Seamus Heaney.
Speaking on how the documentary came about, director Collins said; “I met co producer Maurice Fitzpatrick in Japan when they were showing ‘Kings’ and he suggested that I direct the film. Although I’m from Derry, I wasn't at St Columb's…too thick. I was at the Christies (Christian Brothers) so it was a chance to see how these guys were educated, what made them special. They were the first of their generation to get free education from a British Act of Parliament. Initially the Unionists tried to stall it. My school was tough but the College boys got an old fashioned Irish Catholic education too…if you know what I mean.”
Collins is presently developing Seamus Deane's novel ‘Reading in the Dark’ with Ronan Bennet (Public Enemies).
Cut by Editor Brand Thumin (Death of a President) and produced by Kevin McCann, the doc was supported by RTÉ, BBC with additional support from Northern Ireland Screen and the BCI. DOP’s for the shoot were John T Davis (The Uncle Jack) and Donal Gilligan (Omagh) who shot the film over the month of January this year in Dublin and Derry.