Interview with Chris O’Neill of Triskel Christchurch / God Help The Girl

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in The Evening Echo 2014-8-7

The Triskel Christchurch cinema has long been admired but it has a recently taken another step up, “I think this might be our best months programme to date” said Christopher O’Neill, head of Cinema, in conversation with Ronan Leonard.

August also sees two new additions to the cinema experience in there, including one that people have grumbled about in the past, “we’ve recently upholstered all the seats, it is much more comfortable, they were put in just a week ago and it’s made such a difference. It took some time to do since it’s a listed building so we had to be very exact about getting clearance, there was a lot of going and froing about specifications etc, like we would couldn’t do anything with the pews, but the cinema is now a lot more comfortable but still in keeping with the venue.”

The cinema’s other new addition is the installation of a satellite to receive live events from around the world, “in the last few years live broadcasts into cinemas have become a big thing, everything from Operas direct from Italy; Theatre live from Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon as well as showing concerts as they happen and Q & As with directors and stars – they’ve all become a lot more common place. For instance the final performance by Monty Python a few weeks ago was streamed live from the O2 to cinemas all over the world. It’s to make things special again; one-off events like this can’t be downloaded as a torrent etc. There is a collective feeling of people watching it happen ‘this is happening right now and I am watching it’.”

The first Satellite screening Triskel Christchurch will be showing is ‘God Help The Girl’, written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle And Sebastian, and produced by Barry Mendel, who was responsible for ‘Rushmore’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’. The film which won the special jury prize at Sundance film festival where it was premiered, is a coming of age film set in Glasgow which follows a girl and her friends through one hazy summer with a soundtrack of original Indie Pop songs. It stars Emily Browning (‘Sucker Punch’, ‘Magic Magic’), Olly Alexander (‘Great Expectations’ and forth coming ‘The Riot Club’) and Hannah Murray (‘Skins’, ‘Game Of Thrones’).

Chris explained how the live screening will work, “on Saturday 16 August we will be screening the film at 6pm, which will be followed by a live concert from Belle & Sebastian in The Corn Exchange, as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival. They will be performing songs from the film as well some of their greatest hits. The film isn’t about the band but Stuart Murdoch did write the songs. But them playing it live right there and then give that lives event aspect something special.”

There is a bit of story behind how this project happened at all, “the ‘God Help The Girl’ project has been going on for so long. Several years ago the album was written and recorded as a soundtrack for a film that didn’t exist. That album was released in 2009 and featured mainly a singer many would know in Cork, Catherine Ireton who studied in UCC between 2002 and 2005 and sang with the band Elephant. From that album and set of songs, a script was developed out of that and now there’s a movie, they’ve kind of done it backwards!”

This live event is the first of what will be a very busy programme as far as Chris is concerned, “we’ll be doing these satellite screening regularly but we will programme on a case by case basis as we are offered things, there’d be no point in saying that we’ll do them for instance every month on such a date as something relevant or good enough quality mightn’t be there, in September we will be having a questions and answers session rom London with Al Pacino and Stephen Fry, which will be part of us showing Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a documentary about Al Pacino and Oscar Wilde

Further along the road there is intentions to give other venues in the world the chance to get screenings live from Triskel Christchurch, “as of right now this set up is content coming in not content going out, but over time it’s something we’d love to do from Triskel Christchurch, it’s something we’ve always wanted to do but the technical set up is so huge and there is so much involved with so it’s one step at a time, so we’ll just get it for a start!”

Triskel Christchurch Cinema will host the live screening of ‘God Help The Girl’ on Saturday 16 August and there will then be a run of standard screenings from Sunday 24 – Wednesday 27 August. Tickets: €8 (€7 concession)

For more details on this or any of their programming go to http://www.triskelartscentre.ie

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