4 December 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network
     
'Clearys' Wins Prix Italia
23 Sep 2008 :
The RTÉ documentary At Home with the Clearys has won a prestigious Prix Italia award in the Documentary category. "The result is a very well composed documentary, gradually revealing the Father’s shocking double life with his son’s destiny as a major component.”
When media student Alison Millar filmed what she considered innocent domestic scenes with Fr. Michael Cleary fifteen years ago, little did she realise that one day her footage of Cleary, housekeeper Phyllis and their son Ross would amount to a hidden video diary of a secret family. Using original footage from her student archive, the documentary explored the essential contradiction in the life of Michael Cleary, and included frank interviews with son Ross.

At Home with the Clearys, which premiered in 2007 on RTÉ One with a 41% audience share, and which was subsequently broadcast by the BBC, is already a multi-award winner for RTÉ, having previously scooped an IFTA Award as well as the Best First Time Director Award at the Celtic Media Festival.

Said the Prix Italia citation: “From a country where the Catholic Church plays a vital role comes this excellent exposition of an extremely popular cleric who hides a dark secret. The image of Father Cleary’ s public life as an unmarried and devoted folksy priest true to the Catholic celibacy rules, abruptly changes after his death. The director uses herself in a clever manner, in her journey to uncover the secrets of Father Cleary’s covered up family life. The result is a very well composed documentary, gradually revealing the Father’s shocking double life with his son’s destiny as a major component.”

The last RTÉ programme to win a Prix Italia television award was Chavez: Inside the Coup in 2003, directed by Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’ Briain for Power Pictures. RTÉ had previously won for A Year in the Life of Martin Cluxton in 1972. A total of 80 public and private television and radio companies from 42 countries take part in the annual awards.

This is the 60th year of the prestigious event, the world’s oldest competition for international radio, television and web programming. Produced and directed by Alison Millar and commissioned from Tern Television by Kevin Dawson, RTÉ’s Commissioning Editor for Factual Programmes, At Home with the Clearys was co-funded by BBCNI, BBC4, NIFTC and IFB. Tern Films, with a base in Belfast, produces specialist factual series, documentaries and drama documentary and has been commissioned by leading UK broadcasters.





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