Earlier this year Rory O’Neill, also known as Panti Bliss, Ireland’s most celebrated drag queen and accidental activist, stole the hearts of the nation and captured international media attention after her famous impassioned speech on homophobia went viral online. Panti’s Noble Call clocked up over 600,000 views within a few days, and was translated into almost twenty different languages. Panti quickly became, in her own words, “a court jester, whose duty is to say the un-sayable”.
The Queen of Ireland is a documentary film that follows Rory’s journey from the small Mayo town of Ballinrobe to striding the world stage. Directed by filmmaker and photographer Conor Horgan (One Hundred Mornings, Deep End Dance, The Beholder) and produced by Blinder Films (The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Citadel, One Hundred Mornings). The film builds up a multi-faceted picture of a complex and compelling character through behind the scenes footage, archive, music and interviews with friends, peers and protégés. This entertaining and downright fabulous documentary will be made through sheer dedication and commitment to a greater change in the Equal Rights movement in Ireland and abroad.
The team have been filming with O’Neill intermittently over the last few years on a shoestring budget and plan to continue filming and supporting him right up to the marriage equality referendum. In order to do this, they need to raise money for equipment, license music and archive footage, interview additional contributors, post production and promotion of the final film. Their first step towards reaching this goal is through a crowdfunding campaign, with Indiegogo. They have set a target of fifty thousand euro on indiegogo.com to see the completion of this film and in return are offering some truly unique perks. These include a once off opportunity to see Panti perform in her hometown of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, and the chance to be wined and dined in Dublin by the filmmaking team before a Show in Panti Bar.
Capturing Panti’s sell out stage shows over the year while getting to know the character behind the public persona, the turning point for the documentary was Pantigate, when impassioned speech on homophobia reached global recognition in February, 2014. Within a few days, Panti’s Noble call caught the attention of celebrities such as Madonna, Stephen Fry, The Pet Shop Boys (who released a track and video on this ground-breaking event), Ru Paul and Martina Navratilova, to name but a few. Panti quickly became, in her own words, “A national fucking treasure!”
The filmmakers launched the campaign in style last weekend, by teaming up with GAZE International LGBT Film Festival to host an exclusive teaser screening of the documentary, followed by a Q&A session with director Conor Horgan and one of the producers Ailish Bracken.
The Queen of Ireland funding campaign went live on Saturday 2nd August on indiegogo.com. It will run for 45 days until September 12th 2014. The film is due to be finished in Spring 2015, following the referendum on Marriage Equality. For updates on the progress of the documentary, check it out on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Scannain has donated, and we firmly believe that (if you can) you should too.