Behind the Scenes
Maurice Sweeney graduated from Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design with a BA Hons Degree in Film Direction. His graduate film won him awards both in Ireland and Europe. Initially directing commercials, Sweeney was the first Irish director to win a Gold Shark at the International Advertising Festival in Kinsale 1999, for a series of commercials on Deaf awareness. He worked for a time in West Africa, as a developer and trainer of local television directors and cameramen. He then went on to direct the first Meet the Family series and the highly acclaimed nine part series on disability in Ireland, Three 60. Sweeney directed the That Was Then, This is Now, a ninety minute documentary specially commissioned commissioned as part of RTÉ’s celebrated Time of Our Lives season. In 2006, Sweeney won the IFTA for Best Sports Feature for RTÉ’s Micheál: The Sound of Sunday and that same year he also won the IFTA for Best Single Documentary for Flann O’Brien: The Lives of Brian, also for RTÉ. Cromwell in Ireland is Sweeney’s most impressive and challenging work to date. The high-end two-part series highlights his skills as writer and as a talented drama and documentary director. He is now co-directing a ten-part series for TG4 on the social history of the GAA.
Head of Production for Tile Films, Rachel runs their prolific production department. Working with a crew of twenty, featured cast of ten and over one hundred extras, cavalry, musketeers, a skilled CGI team, Cromwell in Ireland was her most challenging and exciting role as producer to date. Her credits include the RTÉ / Tile Films IFTA nominated documentaries Ireland’s Nazis and The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut for RTE. She production managed the Tile Films internationally acclaimed and award winning six part HD series The Lost Gods (for TG4, S4C, Vision TV, Suisse TV, YLE Finland). Rachel is currently completing Tile Films latest two part HD docu-drama on the Irish Famine called Death or Canada for RTÉ, The History Channel UK and History Television Canada.
Steve Lynch, composer and producer from Stellarsound, joined forces with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra to record the soundtrack to Cromwell in Ireland. Lynch travelled to Slovakia to record the documentary score at Bratislava Radio Studios. The score for Cromwell in Ireland is haunting, an attempt to draw as much emotion as possible out of the subject matter, to emphasise the sorrow as well as the darkness of Cromwell. The title theme was composed using the letters of his name and their alphabetic position to generate the musical phrase, literally spelling out ‘Cromwell’ through music. While in Slovakia, Lynch also recruited the orchestra to record the score for Brian Durnin’s short film Of Best Intentions, which explores broken hearts, shattered dreams and the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer. The short premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh. Lynch is currently working on the soundtrack for Mint Productions documentary on the History of the Irish Horse, also for RTÉ.
Cromwell in Ireland recreates one of the most bleak, brutal and war-torn eras in history. Large-scale dramatic reconstructions are combined with ground-breaking CGI to recreate the set piece sieges and battles that shaped Irish history for centuries to come. The CGI scenes were created by the BAFTA Award winning company Red Vision, a Manchester-based company who created the award winning Ai characters for the BBC series Battlefield Britain. Technical and creative experts Sue Land and Warren Osbourne from Red Vision were on location with the crew when filming took place in Richmond and Middleham Castles in North Yorkshire in December last year. The Red Vision team worked closely with director Maurice Sweeney and DOP Richard Kendrick and 35 re-enactors (including cavalry) from The Sealed Knot Living History Group to create the CGI scenes.
WARDROBE AND PRODUCTION DESIGN
Lynne Williams and Boyd Rankin set up their Living History Re-enactment company Irish Arms in 1996. The company has expanded to encompass all areas of Irish and worldwide historical reproduction for museums, heritage centres, re-enactors, film and TV production companies and history enthusiasts. Creating the costumes for Cromwell in Ireland involved producing over 160 sets of clothing covering several distinct and disparate populations, military and civilian, urban and rural. Each of these groups needed to be recognizable as different, and yet be true to the time period and fit the overall “look” of the production. Perhaps the most straightforward set of characters were the most prominent, namely Oliver Cromwell himself and the other well-known historical characters that were to carry the action along with spoken dialogue. These costumes were produced using original portraits as reference and largely cut and assembled using period techniques (no Velcro! Ever!). The native Irish clothing posed the greatest challenge and was based on a very small amount of archeological evidence (namely the Dungiven costume, Ulster Museum and the Killery coat, Shinrone gown, etc., National Museum of Ireland), and very sketchy contemporary descriptions.
ABOUT TILE FILMS
Tile Films is a leading factual documentary production company, specialising in high end, High Definition local and international documentaries for RTE and international broadcasters. Tile Films productions have won numerous awards and honours for their work. The production team are an eclectic mix of creative, technical and business people, guaranteeing the delivery of compelling factual documentaries. Tile Films most recent productions for RTÉ include Cromwell in Ireland, Death or Canada (2 x 52 min HD docu-drama. RTE, History Channel UK, History Television Canada - 2008), Ireland’s Nazis (2 x 52 min HD documentary series. RTE, History Channel UK - 2007), and The Ghost’s of Duffy’s Cut (1 x 52 min HD documentary. RTE - 2006).