3 December 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Ní Chianáin Scoops Best Director Award at Spanish Fest
22 Oct 2008 :
Fairytale of Kathmandu
Director Neasa Ní Chianáin took the Best Director (Documentary) prize at the Ourense International Film Festival in Spain for her work on the film, ‘Fairytale of Kathmandu’, the controversial documentary focusing on the poet Cathal O Searcaigh’s life in Nepal.

When it was shown on RTÉ television in Ireland, the film ignited a firestorm with prominent Irish artists, writers, Gaelic speakers and gay activists coming out to defend O Searcaigh and attack Ní Chianáin. Ní Chianáin has maintained that the film is about Western exploitation and the rights of vulnerable young people worldwide.

‘Fairytale of Kathmandu’, which was funded by RTÉ, The Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen, had its World premiere at IDFA in November 2007, followed by an Irish premiere in Dublin, a USA premiere in Seattle and a UK premiere at The Edinburgh International Film Festival in June.

As well as Ourense, last week the film also aired on national television in Finland, at the Document Festival in Glasgow, Washington DC, and this week will screen at the Barcelona Gay & Lesbian Festival. The Barcelona GLBT Festival was the 7th Gay Festival that the film has been selected for, including San Francisco, New York, Turin, Washington and Sydney, and next up on the gay circuit will be the 2nd oldest gay Festival in the world, the Reeling Festival in Chicago in November.

In addition The Vinegar Hill NI doc recently received funding from the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, through their Culture Ireland initiative, set up to promote the best of Ireland’s arts and culture internationally and to assist in the development of Ireland’s international cultural relations. This funding will enable Ní Chianáin to take her film to an event in Taiwan in December this year, and to the Adelaide International Film Festival in Australia in February 2009.

Ourense was the 16th international film festival to screen ‘Fairytale of Kathmandu’. The jury citation at Ourense stated that Ní Chianáin was given the Best Director award for her courage in putting herself into the film and confronting her subject.

In her acceptance speech, Ní Chianáin said:

“I’d like to thank the jury here for recognizing how difficult a film this was to make. The film addresses a controversial issue – the continuous growing abuse of Westerners’ power in poorer countries. I could not have achieved tackling this sensitive subject without the help and support of a team of colleagues and friends who believed in the importance of breaking the silence. It is not an easy film to watch, but I hope that it will become part of the global effort to make a difference.”

‘Fairytale of Kathmandu’ was chosen for Ourense Festival from over 500 entries, with a final competition selection of only 11 films.

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