Underground Films will unveil their latest production, One Million Dubliners, at its World Premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday, July 12th. The premiere, attended by the filmmakers, will take place in the Town Hall Theatre at 4pm and is expected to be one of the highlights of the festival. One Million Dubliners is a documentary like no other, touching on stories celebrating life, mourning death, examining belief, and exploring loss. The film introduces the audience to a range of extraordinary characters, both living and dead, and with a firm focus on life, it delves into the business of death.
Glasnevin Cemetery is Ireland’s national necropolis, home to over one million people who by their final resting place, are honorary Dubliners. The cemetery has a remarkable history which makes it one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, along with being a place that evokes profound emotions for its regular visitors. One Million Dubliners reveals the often unspoken stories of ritual, love, loss, redemption, emotion and history.
Above all, it’s the story of an immensely engaging Tour Guide shepherding his charges – and us – through the headstones and monuments, through opinions and beliefs. It’s a documentary film that offers a glimpse into the unknown, a world that we will all come to share, one of the two certain things in life. As we get to know the characters who populate the national necropolis, those people who choose to spend their life among the dead, we will also gain an insight into how we live and die in 21st century Ireland.
Aoife Kelleher, director of One Million Dubliners, noted “Making the film, we developed a strong emotional connection with Glasnevin itself and also with our remarkable tour guide, whose stories about the cemetery ranged from the hilarious to the heart-rending. Glasnevin Cemetery is a magical place, the site where life and death converge and history meets modernity. This film, which began as the story of the characters that inhabit Ireland’s largest non-denominational graveyard, is really about the Irish experience of death, from the rituals in which we find solace at our very darkest moments to our unique views on religion and the life beyond the grave. We’re thrilled to be able to have the world premiere of this really special film at the Galway Film Fleadh.”
Rachel Lysaght, producer and recently appointed Chair of Women in Film and Television Ireland, commented “While One Million Dubliners focuses on the cemetery and bigger questions about death in general, this is really a film about life. Day to day life like the Saint Valentine’s Day rush in the florists at the cemetery, the American visitors who come searching passionately for their Irish ancestors, lost and longed for love, earthy gravediggers and musicians in celebration. We tried to represent some of the more unusual and touching stories which the cemetery holds. We’re delighted we have an opportunity to share this important film with the audience at the Galway Film Fleadh, and we look forward to sharing it with audiences across Ireland when the film is released later in the year.”
Sister of Shane MacThomáis, Melíosa Bracken Ní Thomáis noted that the film is “Beautiful, haunting and deeply moving but also funny and incredibly heart-warming. This wonderful film captures the soul of Glasnevin Cemetery and its chief “caretaker” Shane MacThomáis. We are deeply grateful to have such a wonderful record of Shane doing what he loved doing most in the world.”
Often humorous, always affecting, filled with the familiar and the fascinating, One Million Dubliners explores life, death and the afterlife, and ends in a way that will stay with you forever. Even in a cemetery you never quite get used to death.
The annual Galway Film Fleadh runs at various locations in the city from July 8th – July 13th. See www.galwayfilmfleadh.com for information and tickets.