Innovative 360° film explores beauty and loss

‘A Cushla My Own Native Land’, a groundbreaking 360° film inspired by the memory and experiences of people living with dementia in Cavan, was launched at Townhall, Cavan recently.

The short film, which is viewed through special virtual reality headsets, was anchored on interviews with residents of The Sullivan Centre Cavan, and focused on beauty and loss set in the Cavan landscape.

The local artist team on the project comprised Kim Doherty, Raquel Montero Calero and David Grant. Music was specially composed for the film by Martin Donohoe and Fintan McManus.

The film derives its name from a favourite song of one of the Sullivan Centre residents and brought together diverse skill sets using both virtual reality headsets and 360° film technology. The technical team was led by Camille Donegan with Sean Burns and Jennifer Shortall.

In special reminiscence sessions, residents shared with the artists their memories of childhood, learning to swim, and special times in their lives, as well as their upbringing on farms and the beauty of the landscape. Maya Mathew and staff of Sullivan Centre Cavan supported the process. Their voices direct the short 360° film.

“This is new territory for Cavan artists in terms of the technical production values. It was fantastic to see such a beautiful art object created collaboratively by the John Sullivan Centre, local artists, technicians, and producers who work in Virtual and Augmented Reality. Trust, understanding, and respect were integral to the making process,” said Catriona O’Reilly, Cavan Arts Officer.

Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr John Paul Feeley in his welcoming address spoke of his delight to be present for the first 360° film shot in Cavan and complimented the openness of the Sullivan Centre, residents, staff, and families to embrace the arts and new technologies and hailed the innovation of the artists.

The stars of the film, who were present for the screening enjoyed an evening in the spotlight following their film debut.

Maya Mathew and the Sullivan Centre team spoke of the joy and calm residents experienced sharing their work with friends and carers. Representatives from other Nursing Homes have enquired about the possibility of similar arts projects for their residents.