15 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Mike Hannon's 'The Cloud of Unknowing' Nominated for London Film Critics' Circle Awards
19 Dec 2017 : Nathan Griffin
Mike Hannon’s cinematic documentary ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ has been shortlisted as one of the nominees at the 38th London Film Critics’ Circle Awards.

The five films vying for Best British/Irish Short Film were announced by actors Thomas Brodie-Sangster (‘Game of Thrones’) and Morfydd Clark (‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’) at the May Fair Hotel, London, on Tuesday 19th of December. Mr Hannon flew to London to attend a screening, where he introduced his film to critics who will vote on the winning short.

‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ is a documentary on a modern day hermit who dedicated his life to the mystical tradition of contemplative prayer. Rodney Thompson, a Cork man, spent almost thirty years in an isolated cottage in Connemara in pursuit of solitude, silence and prayer. Without electricity or running water, Mr Thompson lived simply, prayed ceaselessly and welcomed visitors to his hermitage close to Roundstone, Galway.

Filled with majestic vistas and robust Connemara weather, the film allows the viewer to step into the mind of a hermit, as the natural world unfolds at an unhurried pace.

 Speaking about the films focus, Mr Hannon said:

“When I was introduced to Rodney I was struck by his graceful and calm benevolence. I wanted to communicate something of this in the film. He has followed an ancient mystical tradition, dating back to the third century Desert Fathers and Mothers. And his way of being in the world is a blissful respite from the ever increasing hectic pace of contemporary life. As a documentary film maker, I’m perhaps more motivated by questions of form than content. So the film that I made is not a conventional biography of Rodney Thompson. Instead, it’s oriented towards the experience of the viewer. It tries to move beyond words and images, much like contemplative prayer itself. It’s a very relaxing film.”

The eighteen and a half minute documentary has screened at a number of film festivals in Ireland including IFI DocFest, Still Voices and IndieCork, where it was awarded Best Irish Short Film. The London Film Critics’ Circle asked Irish festivals to suggest potential candidates for the nomination, settling on IndieCork’s choice.

Mick Hannigan of IndieCork said:

“With the beautiful cinematic style perfectly complimenting the meditative content of the film, Mike Hannon’s The Cloud Of Unknowing confirms cinema’s capacity to enable us to experience the world through other eyes, in this case those of a contemporary hermit.”

The winner of the 38th London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best British /Irish Short Film will be announced at a red carpet awards ceremony on January 28th. Previous Irish winners have included Saoirse Ronan (British/Irish Actor of 2015), Michael Fassbender (British/Irish Actor of 2008 and 2011, British/Irish Supporting Actor of 2009), Colin Farrell (British/Irish Newcomer of 2001), Ben Cleary (British/Irish Short Film of 2015), Neil Jordan (British/Irish Director and British/Irish Screenwriter of 1992) and Roddy Doyle (British/Irish Screenwriter of 1992).

Mike Hannon’s previous award winning work includes the half hour TV documentary ‘My Beamish Boy’, and the observational film ‘Rats Island’.

IFTA Q&A Series: Darach McGarrigle on Writing
IFTA Q&A Series: Kate Dolan on Directing
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