Debut film from Ballinasloe’s budding Spielberg, student Peter Toplis

Peter Toplis (centre) with fellow students Sinead McGrath and Stevo Timothy who feature in his first ever movie.
Peter Toplis (centre) with fellow students Sinead McGrath and Stevo Timothy who feature in his first ever movie.

Ballinasloe student Peter Toplis is determined to make waves in the Irish film industry after making a comedy show as part of his college course in Dundalk IT.

The 20-year-old Ballinasloe native, who is in his third year of Film and TV Production in Dundalk, has shot a 26-minute long sketch about the topic of political correctness in comedy, which he is now hoping to sell to online to various video platforms.

The show is titled In Focus, and he enlisted the likes of the comedy duo behind the Farmer Michael videos on Facebook, along with a host of Dundalk-area based comedians to discuss the contentious issue. In Focus takes influence from RTÉ’S 2000’s hit The Panel.

Peter’s background is somewhat like that of Trainspotting director Danny Boyle – only in reverse!

Danny Boyle had a Ballinasloe-born mother and grew up in Manchester while Peter has a Manchester-born mother and grew up in Ballinasloe. Being raised in a bi-cultural household has greatly informed his work, he feels.

“I grew up appreciating Irish as well as British culture. I often try to blend different cultural sensibilities when writing, which I don’t think I would have done if I wasn’t exposed to multiple cultures when I was growing up”, he says.

Peter is a graduate of Garbally College, Ballinasloe, where other past-pupils include Newstalk host Seán Moncrieff, RTÉ Sports reporter Darren Frehill and Fergal D’Arcy of Today FM.

“The education that I received in Ballinasloe is why I make films now,” says Peter of his schooling. “I had wonderful teachers in secondary school who didn’t just teach me what I needed to pass exams, but gave me a lifelong interest in the arts”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.