Director Risteárd Ó Domhnaill has been touring West Cork and Kerry in a mobile cinema to bring the documentary, which successfully raised nearly €50,000 in crowdfunding before the Irish Film Board agreed to match what he had raised, to the communities he feels are most affected by the issues in the film.
The film tells the story of fishermen from Ireland, Newfoundland, and Norway as they battle with falling fishing quotas, super-trawlers, oil explorations that jeopardise spawning grounds and indifferent politicians to preserve their way of life.
Gleeson got involved and agreed to narrate the documentary after playing the part of a Newfoundland fisherman in the 2014 Canadian comedy The Grand Seduction. So far, Mr Ó Domhnaill has had screenings in Union Hall and Castletownbere in Co Cork; and Caherciveen and Dingle in Co Kerry.
Mr Ó Domhnaill said the reception for his film had been outstanding, with four screenings at the event in Castletownbere, the largest whitefish port in Ireland, due to the demand. Fish was very much on the menu with local chefs dishing up paella for the occasion.
“It’s fantastic bringing the mobile cinema down on to the pier in fishing villages and showing this film; it’s empowering and it shows people that their story really counts,” said Mr Ó Domhnaill. “Powerful companies are moving in on the fishing resources and the oil resources and the small fishermen are being pushed out and their communities are suffering as a result.”
The Atlantic was Mr Ó Domhnaill’s second feature documentary. He also directed The Pipe, the critically acclaimed film documenting the struggles of local people in Rossport, Co Mayo, against Shell.
Mr Ó Domhnaill said the film was designed to serve as a warning about the health and finite resources of the Atlantic. “We can look at short-term gain or we can look to our future. There’s no quick buck in it but if we have politicians willing to look after the small man these communities can sustain themselves indefinitely.”