Exploring brotherly love and healing power of creativity

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

David McDonagh went on a school tour at the age of seven carrying his mother’s camera.

“It had no film in it but I was ‘taking’ photos,” says the Tuam man whose short film, Being Put Back Together, won Best Short Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh. That means it can now be submitted for the Academy Awards longlist.

David’s mother, Helen, died suddenly aged 34, when he was 16 and even now, at 41, it’s clear how much her death broke him. He wasn’t alone in his grief but he still regrets that he didn’t do more then to help his father, also David, and his six younger siblings.

“The process was very redemptive for me” says David of this short, powerful film, in which his younger brother Kaylen learns about filmmaking, while opening up about mental health problems. David knows all about the healing power of creativity and when he realised Kaylen also had a passion for film, he gave his younger brother a camera and began sharing his skills. In the documentary, Kaylen learns his craft and speaks about the difficulties he’s faced in life.

Being Put Back Together is profoundly sad at times, but it’s also hilarious. Kaylen is a funny man and the interaction between the brothers is typically Irish as they communicate mostly by slagging each other. There’s anger from Kaylen too – unsurprising when he’s faced with anti-Traveller graffiti in their hometown of Tuam.

But, above all, this is a film about connection and communication and when it screened at the Fleadh, the audience gave it a rapturous response.

After it won the Best Short Documentary award, other people went to the festival club to celebrate, “and good on them”, but David didn’t. “I went home and had a burger with my brother,” he says. “For me, the reward is the process, the making.”

Pictured: David McDonagh whose short film about his brother Kaylen won best Short Documentary at Galway Film Fleadh.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up