The story of the controversial Corrib Gas project told through the eyes of locals is expected to reach a world audience thanks to a groundbreaking new documentary.
'The Pipe' follows four protesters as they wage a battle against the Co Mayo refinery through both the courts and the planning process, balanced by the opinions of two locals in favour of the scheme.
It is among several Irish features either in production or ready to hit cinema screens in 2010, including movies with hit stars Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson.
Director Risteard O’Domhnaill, 30, said he hopes the feature will be aired at next year’s Galway and Toronto film festivals, before hitting Irish and European television screens.
“We won’t know really until we get it on to the film festivals what kind of reaction it will get,” Mr O’Domhnaill, a freelance news cameraman said.
“It’s a very powerful story and it’s a very grand story, that may really suit cinema.”
The documentary, supported by the Irish Film Board, focuses on four protesters including fisherman Pat O’Donnell whose boat was sunk last June in Broadhaven Bay.
It also follows farmers Mary and Willy Corduff, resident Monica Muller who fought a legal battle against the refinery and Maura Harrington.
But opinions are also aired by two local men in favour of the project to demonstrate that not all residents are opposed to the Shell scheme.
Mr O’Domhnaill said he felt compelled to make the documentary, which began in October 2006, after spending time covering the news story.
“It’s examining the people who have objected from the start in detail,” he said.
“Some people come out well and some people don’t. It’s a point of view documentary, but my approach is honest.”
Other documentaries include 'Pyjama Girls', telling the story of the phenomenon in Dublin where girls wear their bedclothes as daywear, and 'John Ford – Dreaming the Quiet Man'.
It delves into the story of the iconic film, and includes contributions from commentators and film-makers such as Martin Scorsese, Jim Sheridan and Maureen O’Hara.
The Irish Film Board said a raft of top films are also to be either released or go into production next year, including Neil Jordan’s 'Ondine' in March starring Colin Farrell which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Other features include 'Perrier’s Bounty' with Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent and Emmy Award Winner Brendan Gleeson.
Louise Ryan of the Irish Film Board said the industry in 2009 weathered the financial storm well.
“The film industry and the audio visual sector comes to the end of 2009 experiencing the same difficult conditions as most other businesses, however Irish filmmakers deserve applause for their swift response to a difficult market,” she said.
“They have maintained high production quality with budgets that have shrunk substantially over the last few years.
“Irish audiences will have an opportunity to view a host of Irish films in 2010 starring many of our biggest stars including Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy.”