Oonagh Kearney on directing Ghosts and Past Tundra the films

The two videos for Ghosts and Past Tundra, composed by Valgeir Sigurðsson and performed by Crash Ensemble, were directly inspired by the music. Listening to both pieces, my imagination was brought to the sea: to the struggle between a young sailor and the sea in Ghosts, and to the struggle between a group of beached sailors and the land in Past Tundra. In this way, the films are linked thematically and geographically, but also stand alone as two individual works. Picking up on the poignant and political theme of contemporary migration, there is no canvas more dramatic than the sea. For me, it responds to the structural qualities in Valgeir's music: tension, release, mystery, drama, fear and hope. 
With the support of the Arts Office at Cork County Council, I researched the possibility of working with old wooden boats this spring. Given the timeline and scale, we opted instead to work with a team of young female sailors at the Fastnet Marine Centre in Schull. We received incredible local support from talent, friends and family in West Cork. Led by our small but dedicated creative team.

– Oonagh Kearney

See Ghosts and Past Tundra, directed by Oonagh Kearney, performed by Crash Ensemble, composed by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Saturday 14th April, 12:00pm | Irish Film Institute6 Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 
€6.00 BOOK NOW


Oonagh Kearney is an award-winning writer and director based in Cork. She has written and directed one full-length documentary and nine short films with the support of the Irish Arts Council, Irish Film Board, RTE, TG4, BRITDOC and The Wellcome Trust. Her work has screened at film festivals around the world, at institutes like the ICA, BFI, IFI and as part of the 2014 Art on the London Underground Series. Her work has been broadcast on TV and online platforms such as the RTE and TG4 iplayers, and distributed via dvd distribution with Aesthetica magazine.
As a director of screendance, Oonagh's short film Her Mother’s Daughters screened at over seventy international festivals and won seven awards. Her 2012 documentary Wonder House took an experimental approach to the exploration of art and science by combining choreographic sequences with documentary interviews. Nominated for Best Emerging International Filmmaker, Oonagh was awarded special mention at The London Open City Docs Festival in 2013. Oonagh's film The Wake premiered at the Dublin International Film Festival in February 2016, and picked up five international awards. Her latest short film Women's Christmas Night was commissioned by the Irish Arts Council and TG4 for a special season to celebrate a centenary of Irish art. It has won six awards since it premiered at the IFI and was broadcast on TG4.
Oonagh first cut her teeth in the film industry in 2005 as casting director to Ken Loach on his Palm d’Or winning film The Wind That Shakes the Barley. She trained at the National Film and Television School in London before casting another five feature films. Since 2010, she has focused on writing and directing. She holds a 1st class honours BA in English and Philosophy from University College Cork and a 1st class honours M.Phil in Irish Theatre from Trinity College Dublin. 
Oonagh’s interest in the politics of representation can be traced back to her 2010 Irish Film Board short The Christening that tells the personal story of an Irish teenager travelling to London for an abortion. Her work takes a playful approach towards the impact of family, growing up and the tensions between our private and public selves. In her films, women often experience emotional or ethical conflicts connected to rites of passage.
Selected as a director on the UK talent scheme Guiding Lights in 2011, Oonagh was mentored by Clio Barnard. In 2013, Oonagh received a John Brabourne Award for emerging professionals in the British film and television industry. In November 2014, she was selected for the Puglia Experience, a workshop for sixteen international screenwriters in southern Italy. An alumna of She Writes, a Script Factory initiative to support female screenwriters, and Berlinale Talent Campus, Oonagh most recently took part in the IRIS Screenwriting Lab in New York.
Oonagh's next project is an original online drama for RTE called On The Hemline. Commissioned as part of the Storyland scheme, was broadcast in September 2017.




Sailors Gabrielle Hogan, Sarah Donovan, Tarah Fleming, Aoife Nash, Lucy Robinson

Writer and Director Oonagh Kearney

Cinematographer Miguel Angel

Choreographer Helga Deasy

Editor Mick Mahon

Grader and Compositor Dan Cullen

Production Manager Sinead Barry

Producer Oonagh Kearney

Executive Producers Neva Elliot McGinley and Kate Ellis

Sound Recordist Danny Crowley

Additional Camera Oonagh Kearney

Safety Instructor Mark McCarthy

Safety Assistant Aaron Daly

Insurance Aon Insurance

Camera courtesy of ARRI & Vast Valley Ltd