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IFTA Focus: Q&A With ‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ Producer Niamh Fagan
17 Jan 2013 : Niamh Fagan was in conversation with Eva Hall
‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ is broadcast on TG4
Nominated for Special Irish Language

‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ has won the IFTA Special Irish Language award once already, in 2010. Are you back to reclaim your crown? Wouldn't that be great!

The series is the only fictional programme nominated in the category, being up against two documentaries and a reality-based TV series. Do you think this makes it stand out among the competition? Obviously we are the 'odd man out' however being of a different genre to the other nominees, I hope, will not take away from any of us - may the best programme win!

as an IFTA winner, what can we expect from the 2013 IFTA Awards, now in its 10th year? A good night out and a chance to catch up with old friends.

‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’s' first series received critical acclaim when it hit TG4 screens back in 2009. The cast and crew alike were praised, by both Irish and non-Irish speakers. It’s now in its second series, what do you think is the secret to its success? Great writing by James Phelan, great directing by Robert Quinn, a brilliant cast in Don Wycherly, Tom O'Suilleabhain, Carrie Crowley, Owen Roe, Eamonn Hunt, and Donncha Crowley amongst a slew of others and of course 'the ring of truth' .

What makes ‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ different to TG4’s other ongoing TV series, ‘Ros na Rún’, which also has a loyal following? ‘Rásaí’ is a drama and ‘Ros na Rún’ is a soap - but they both attract a loyal audience because they are good, fresh and different.

What did you take from the first season of ‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ that was helpful in the production of the second? Did you learn anything that made it easier? We realised what an important character Galway City itself played in the series and used it more in the second series as an integral part of the drama.

The first series aired in 2009, the second in 2012. Why did it take so long for the series to return? We worked particularly hard to avoid 'second album syndrome'. There was no point in rushing it and not making it as good as it could be.

Where does the inspiration for storylines come from? How much of it is based on real life? A lot of it is based on what was happening around us politically and socially - the writer, director and cast were always open to ad-lib and changing as we wrote, shot and edited.

Was it ever a plan to tap into the non-Irish language audience, as it can be difficult for comedy to come across in subtitles? The stories in ‘Rásaí’ have universal appeal, they just happen to be in the Irish language - we were very careful in the translation and the subtitles - making sure that the comedy did come across to the non-Irish speaking viewer.

In your experience, is it more difficult to pitch Irish language projects to the Irish market when seeking funding, compared to English language projects? No, dealing with TG4 is amazing, they are positive and supportive, they are open to new ideas and fresh talent - it is a joy to deal with TG4.

If TG4 didn’t exist, would you have pitched ‘Rásaí na Gaillimhe’ to another Irish broadcaster? It's probably too radical, creative and original in its current shape for other more conservative broadcasters but if you want to do something fresh and different, TG4 is the place to go for the 'súil eile’.

What would winning the IFTA for Special Irish Language for the second time mean? A nice new friend for the first statue.

See more IFTA Focus Q&A's below:

'Congo: 1961'

'Lón sa Spéir'

'Bernard Dunne's Bród Club'

Element Pictures


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