The Underground Cinema Film Festival runs next weekend in Dun Laoghaire, and features a number of great Irish independent features, shorts and documentaries. One of the most intriguing titles is Stephen Corri’s documentary Storm Warning: The Story Of Count Tornado.
Known for his charismatic and enthralling performances, entertaining audiences the length and breadth of Ireland for over twenty-five years, Count Tornado has long dreamed of topping the Irish charts. Having the kind of self-belief other artists can only dream of, wearing a cape and describing himself as the Jimi Hendrix of keyboards (although many question if he even knows how to play one), Count Tornado is known to almost everyone in the Dublin music scene. Stories of his gigs are renowned as legend, and he is known as one of the last great weird and wonderful characters of Dublin.
Filmed over a year of his life this documentary chronicles the career of the enigmatic showman and his perseverance in attaining success in the Irish charts. The film features contributions from a number of leading figures and fans in the Irish music industry, including Mick Pyro (Republic of Loose), Tim Cullen (The Hot Sprockets), Dermot Lambert (Blink), and Aidan Walsh (Master of the Universe).
Storm Warning: The Story Of Count Tornado is a true life document of how the line between fantasy and reality can become easily blurred, whilst also chronicling the entertainers dedication and determination to try make his lifelong dream of having a number one single become a reality.
Speaking about his film, director Stephen Corri said:
I had been hearing stories of Count Tornado for years, he sounded like a character so bizarre it was hard to believe he was real. Many years later when I finally got to witness one of his shows it was the most surreal thing I had ever seen. It was during this gig I thought “someone has to tell this man’s story”.
What started off as a small project to see if this legendary character was real or just an act snowballed in to a story showing many dimensions of a man who is the butt of a lot of jokes.
It took a lot of dedication to stick with this story for two years. it was surreal and uncomfortable at times. The only goal I had for this film was to try and capture who this man really is, stories about his shows have been the stuff of legend for the past 20 years in the Irish music scene. I just wanted to make a movie that people can watch 20 years from now to find out more about these legends as I have no doubt people will still be talking about him.
Making this film I was constantly asked one question by a lot of different people: “are people really cheering for him or laughing at him?” All I know is his shows have caused the kind of crowed reaction other bands can only dream of. If the cheers are what he lives for and he believes them, who else needs to be convinced?
Storm Warning: The Story Of Count Tornado will screen at the Underground Cinema Film Festival on Friday 9th September at 5pm in The Martello Suite of the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire. Tickets are onsale now.
Check out some of Count Tornado’s music videos below: