Final Cut on Film about Robert Flaherty


Robert Flaherty

Robert Flaherty

‘A Boatload of Wild Irishmen’ about the life and work of filmmaker Robert Flaherty – written by Professor Brian Winston and edited by Chris Hainstock, Senior Lecturer at the LSM – will premiere at the Galway Film Festival on 7th July 2010.  The feature length film will be shown as a shorter Irish language version called The Wandering Irishman’. 


Chris Hainstock

Chris Hainstock in Post-production

Chris Hainstock said the 90 minute film has been in post-production for around six months at the University of Lincoln. There are now two versions, a 90 minute English language version which will be transmitted in various countries over the next year hopefully; and a shorter Irish language version – being premiered at the Galway Film Festival on July 7th re-named ‘The Wandering Irishman’ and there will be a screening with ‘Man of Aran’ [Day 2] at noon. 

Budget was approx £270,000 – The film was funded by the Irish Film Board, TG4 (Irish TV), Irish Broadcasting Commission, emMedia and the European Media Fund. 


Shot in HD in 2008/9 around the world, it features many extracts from Flaherty’s most famous films (‘Man of Aran’, ‘Nanook of the North’, ‘Louisiana Story’, ‘Moana’) as well as lesser known ones (’24 Dollar Island’, and his Oscar winning ‘The Titan’). Locations included Samoa, Los Angeles, New York, Vermont and Hudson Bay. 

 From an editing point of view it was both fascinating and a challenge to cut a documentary about a man who pioneered documentary making. Opportunities arose very quickly for me to use the present day actuality footage of the locations he visited as backdrops in telling the story, and at times intercut these with the archive footage. Themes such as water quickly emerged, echoing Flaherty’s long lens shots on the island of Aran, or the waves of Samoa. I would send the Director, Mac Dara O Curraidhin, versions of the edits via the net to be viewed in his home on the West Coast of Ireland and he came over several times for formal viewings. We decided early on that we would show Flaherty’s films in the correct original aspect ratio within a widescreen frame and with as little re-cutting as possible. This presented certain challenges. 

Graphical Map Animated Sequences for ‘A Boatload of Wild Irishmen’ were created by both Neil Baker & Steven Hatton of Electric Egg the Director over in Ireland, Andrew Deptford [an Associate Producer] at Brightsparkstudios became a vital point of contact and assistance.

The script on its own makes for very fine reading and Professor Winston was on hand to make sure his original script remained true. Professor Brian Winston adds: “At €330,000 this is the most expensive production yet involving the School.  Screenings already secured include Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany and I have hopes that, beyond this, the film will have a longer life in the classroom. I think it is fair to claim that it is both a very interesting story and a useful exploration of current issues in documentary film production.”

5 thoughts on “Final Cut on Film about Robert Flaherty

  1. I’m sure Peter can alter the text in the final paragraph – apologies… Hopefully invites will be out soon for UK Premier, at the Odeon Nov 8th 🙂

  2. [Correction]
    Graphical Map Animated Sequences for ‘A Boatload of Wild Irishmen’ were created by both Neil Baker & Steven Hatton of Electric Egg.

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