The locally produced Wild Goose Lodge Movie won Best Feature Film at Sunday evening’s Cardiff International Film Festival awards and after picking up the award, producer Willie Martin paid tribute once again to the people who made it happen.
The film was broadcast at the Odeon Cinema in the city’s Red Dragon Centre on Saturday as part of the festival. On Sunday evening, it was announced that the movie had been named the ‘Best Feature Film’ at the festival, which saw 100 films screened across four venues over the three days.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie today, “There were 1,700 films entered for the festival but they screened around 90 only. We won Best Feature Film and it’s unbelievable. The judges loved the way we done it – how it was filmed, the true story, everything.
“It was like the Oscars. We were in the last three of the shake up and they opened the envelope. I couldn’t believe it. We’ve won this award and it has given the film an international base. We won it on merit. They thought it was fascinating how a community could make such a movie and bring it up to such standard and bring it all the way,” he continued.
“It’s a compliment to all the people who did it. People loved it here in Wales. It’s great to get the recognition for the people who have done this. That’s the beauty of this story.”
“To bring out a film on the 200th anniversary of the Wild Goose Lodge burning and then win this award – it’s a dream come true,” Martin said. “I’d like to thank everyone who helped us, there’s so many people. Lots of people in Cardiff were asking where it was filmed and said they would come to visit. It will bring people to the area. I was like an ambassador for Ireland! There were guys there from the US, Mexico and elsewhere. It’s unreal,” he added. “It’s great for everybody.”
Former Eastenders actor John Altman – known to most as Nick Cotton – presented Willie with the award (below).
Willie quickly passed on news of the victory to those back home. With most of Reaghstown were at the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Westerns GFC last Junior Championship win, compere for the night Hughie O’Neill passed on the news to the assembled crowd. It received a rapturous applause.
One of two special guests on the night, RTE GAA commentator and friend of the club Brian Carthy, also a moment from his speaking time to pay tribute to all involved with the production of the film, a mammoth community effort.
The Wild Goose Lodge Movie was produced by local man Martin and Paul McArdle and is based on the Wild Goose Lodge burning in Reaghstown in Ardee in the 19th century. It was filmed around Reaghstown, elsewhere in Louth, Meath and in Carrickmacross also.
As well as featuring established stars such as Dave Duffy in the lead role of Father McCann, much of the cast is made of people local to the Reaghstown area. Familiar faces such as James Kearney, Mary Kearney, Catherine Scriven, Hughie O’Neill and Steven Campbell have significant roles in the feature, with virtually the entire support cast made up of locals – and the occasional cameo from well known faces like Finbar Furey, John Connors and Joe Rooney.
The late Jimmy Drumgoole, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also was among the main cast – playing the part of Covey.
The film was first premiered in New York in March 2016 and before a glitzy red carpet Irish premiere at the Savoy Cinema in Dublin. It was then shown in cinemas nationwide, including the IMC in Dundalk and The Arc in Drogheda.