19 August 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network

Docudrama 'Fág an Bealach' in Post Production
04 Mar 2011 :
Don Wycherley in ‘Fág an Bealach’
Tile Films is currently in post production with a new international two part HD Docudrama, ‘Fág an Bealach’ (Fighting Irish of the Civil War). The drama, written and directed by Keith Farrell (Ireland’s Nazis) for TG4 and Smithsonian Channel USA stars IFTA nominated actor Don Wycherley (Rasaí na Gaillimhe) and is being edited in Dublin post houses Tangerine & Windmill Lane.

‘Fág an Bealach’ (US title: Fighting Irish of the Civil War) looks to reveal the untold story of one of the greatest military units of the American Civil War: The Irish Brigade.

The two part docudrama stars Don Wycherley as the Waterford born, controversial General Thomas Francis Meagher and is presented by Irish-American actor Brian Mallon (Gettysburg). Other cast members in the project include Jonathan Byrne (Primeval) as Irish Brigade soldier James Mackay Rorty and Lesa Thurman (Thor) as American socialite, Maria Lydig Daly. This large scale production was shot over a period of seven months in 25 locations in Ireland and in the U.S. It features over 200 extras and includes in-depth interviews with internationally renowned historians and experts.

Commissioned by Irish broadcaster TG4 and Smithsonian Channel USA, ‘Fág an Bealach’ is produced by Stephen Rooke (Death or Canada) and shot by director of photography Peter Robertson (West is West). Musician and composer Mike McGoldrick (Afro Celt Sound System) composed the original score for the series.

Postproduction is taking place in Tangerine Post Production with 5.1 surround sound mixes created in Windmill Lane. The series is being edited over 12 weeks by Daithi Connaughton (Cé a Chónaigh i mo Theachsa) whilst online editor David Blanc managed the six timelines with material shot on a number of formats including HDCAM, XDCAM, Canon D5 as well as archive film footage. Marc Sherwin created motion graphics, titles and VFX that were added at full HD quality. Colourist Richard Callaghan is responsible for the docudrama’s grading.

Director Keith Farrell has always had an interested in the American Civil War. He tells IFTN that in 2004, while making a documentary on the Battle of Antietam for Granada TV, he “became convinced that the history of the Irish Brigade was a story that needed to be told.” It wasn’t until Keith joined Tile Films that he was able to take the project any further. “The story of the Irish Brigade and in fact the history of Irish participation in American Civil War is fascinating and exciting subject, that had been overlooked by documentary makers,” he explains when asked about the docudrama’s subject. “I wanted to try and get across the importance of the Irish sacrifice in the civil war and the scale of these battles which involved tens and hundreds and thousands of men, but also tell the story of the battles from an individual point of view.”

Almost six years after he first devised the idea for a documentary series on the Irish Brigade, Keith’s ‘Fág an Bealach’ went in to production. He explains his approach to us, saying:”We were fortunate to find first hand accounts of Irish soldiers who had fought in the war and we integrated there stories into the bigger story, personalising the history of the Irish in the Civil War and allowing the audience to relate much more with the narrative.”

Producer Stephen Rooke spent two years raising the finance to bring the two-parter to the screen. He describes the process for IFTN, noting that: “putting co-productions such as this together can be a slow process and you need to strike a balance between finance and the director’s editorial vision for the film. We were lucky that when we started developing the project in 2008 we found two enthusiastic supporters in Mícheál Ó Meallaigh at TG4 and Chris Hoezl at the Smithsonian Channel in Washington DC.” With their support Tile Films got BAI Sound and Vision and Section 481 funding.”

Broadcast dates are TBC.

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