A border filmmaker and producer is to launch an ambitious ‘crowdfunding’ drive to finance a feature-length movie about the life of Leitrim revolutionary Seán MacDiarmada, considered by many to be the mastermind of the 1916 Easter Rising. Maccana Teoranta’s Kevin McCann is to travel to the US later this month where he hopes to kickstart his bid to secure the estimated €4 million needed to realise the big screen project in time for the centenary commemorations in just over two-years time.
Noted for his work in both television and radio, in particular for ‘The Boys of St.Columbs’ documentary for BBC and RTÉ featuring John Hume and the late Séamus Heaney, and more recently his successful production of half-hour border drama ‘Volkswagen Joe’, Kevin from Belturbet told The Anglo-Celt he is excited by the prospect of attempting to develop the MacDiarmada story for cinema.
With support from Leitrim County Library, and working closely with historical writer and lecturer Dr Gerard MacAtasney, Kevin has written ‘The Rising Mastermind’, a story based on the life of Seán MacDiarmada (1883–1916), a key, but often overlooked figure in history books when the 1916 Rising is discussed.
Exploring how a young man from near Kiltyclogher became the ‘mastermind’ of the Irish revolution, there is already growing support here in Ireland for the film project, particularly in MacDiarmada’s native Leitrim, and Kevin believes finance could be sourced privately on both sides of the Atlantic.
Crowdfunding is the concept of collecting funds through small contributions from many parties in order to finance particular projects, an activity which has worked to great effect in bringing major ventures, including films through to fruition in recent times.
“Rather than action or explosives, the angle I’ve taken with the story is more of a thinking-persons film. Without Seán MacDiarmada there would not have been a revolution in Ireland. The Easter Rising is the most important event in our recent history and this project requires a dedicated network of people to help complete a compelling film in memory of a forgotten hero,” says Kevin.
While in the US, Kevin, who just completed work on the Belturbet Dramatic Society’s ‘Volkswagen Joe’, will meet with the Leitrim Society of New York, and also meet with other interested parties in Boston.
‘Volkswagen Joe’ was filmed predominantly in the west Cavan village of Swanlinbar, and Kevin is hopeful, if the MacDiarmada’s story can be brought to production, it would be shot locally and involve local actors.
“Many of those involved in the Easter Rising have said Seán MacDiarmada was the mastermind of the revolution that led to the freedom of Ireland”, Kevin says. Among those were Dennis McCullough, president of the IRB who called MacDiarmada “the common multiple” of all the organisations who engineered the Rising, and Michael Collins who stated: “If I had one quarter the strength of Seán Mac Diarmada, I am satisfied”.
‘The Rising Mastermind’ will look at MacDiarmada’s vision, his friendships with people like the Quaker Bulmer Hobson, and explore his motivations to see an independent Ireland.
“It’s a big task” Kevin acknowledged, “but something I think can be done, and done in time for the centenary commemorations. MacDiarmada’s not the most know when it comes to discussing the Rising, but that’s the very reason to make it. To tell this man’s story, a man who dedicated his life to freeing Ireland from Imperial rule, and save the people of this country from what he considered slavery.”
Anyone interested in seeing ‘The Rising Mastermind’ film being made is invited to join the ‘Sean MacDiarmada film network’ , or contact Kevin on 086 245 9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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