“Documentary is one of the most vital tools in the fight for social and political change”
Industry Report: Documentary
Roisín Geraghty • Producer, Little Rose Films
The Emerging Producer from Ireland discusses her approach to her favourite story-telling medium
An interview with Roisín Geraghty, producer for Irish company Little Rose Films and selected for the 2023 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Roisín Geraghty: In terms of my experience of cinema, documentaries have always been a great love, and my favourite story-telling medium. Although I work across both fiction and non-fiction, there is something about the power of documentary, which has always attracted me, particularly its ability to reflect humanity, and, in many instances, to change hearts and minds.
It is clear that it is one of the most vital tools in the fight for social and political change. Not only is it an accessible and practical method of disseminating information, but it has the potential to spark empathy in an immediate and compelling way. I always think of the remarks made by film critic Roger Ebert, a man who acknowledged the transcendent power of cinema (including documentary cinema) and described it as ‘the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts’.
This sentiment has always resonated with me, and crystallized the way I feel about non-fiction films in particular. This is exactly what documentary has the ability to do – helping to broaden the mind and to identify with other human beings. It is a hugely liberalizing influence, and one that can be easily used as an instrument of social and political change, enlightening us and making us more compassionate human beings.
Where do you find audiences for your films?
I’m still quite early in my career, so primarily I have found audiences for my films so far at film festivals, both at home in Ireland and internationally. Festivals are such nurturing and supportive environments for filmmakers, and provide a fantastic platform to promote emerging directors and producers.
My first fiction feature will be released in cinemas later this year, so I am looking forward to having a different kind of audience see the work I produce, and to have the opportunity to find audiences through VOD and more traditional terrestrial broadcast mediums.
What films have you seen recently and would recommend watching?
Considering that I am representing Ireland as part of Emerging Producers, I think it would be remiss of me not to champion some Irish documentary films, especially as our indigenous documentary scene here is thriving at the moment.
In particular, I would like to recommend Nothing Compares [+see also:
film profile] from Northern Irish director Kathryn Ferguson, which looks at the life and legacy of Sinead O’Connor, partially framed through the wider context of the repressive regime of the Catholic Church during her youth, and how it affected her and her work.
Other Irish documentaries that I have loved recently were North Circular [+see also:
film profile] by Luke McManus, a musical odyssey around Dublin’s North Inner City, that illustrates the area’s rich history and traditions through music and song; and Young Plato from the wonderful team of director Neasa Ní Chianáin and producer David Rane, a beautiful observatory documentary set in a boys primary school an area of Belfast deeply affected by the Northern Irish conflict, which uses philosophy to help students question narratives of war and violence.
What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
I am currently producing the debut feature from a wonderful Irish artist filmmaker called Myrid Carten titled No Place Like Home, which is funded by Screen Ireland, Doc Society, the New Dawn Fund, and the Netherlands Film Fund.
I am also about to release my first narrative feature Sunlight, directed by Claire Dix. The film is premiering at Dublin International Film Festival and Glasgow Film Festival in the coming weeks, ahead of its cinema release this summer.
In addition to this, I have been developing a slate of fiction and documentary films through my production company, Little Rose Films, including a documentary called Practicing Law, from director Niamh Heery, which is in the early stages of production. The project is supported by Screen Ireland.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024 edition is 31 March 2023.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.