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Seeking to capture truth of talented tragic Amy

Judy Murphy

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Asif Kapadia discussing his documentaries, Amy and Senna, with fellow director Pat Collins at 'Talking Documentaries', which was organised by Galway Film Centre. PHOTO: MATT KAVANAGH.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

For Oscar nominee, Asif Kapadia, a good documentary is all “about the emotion”.

The director of Amy, about the late singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, and of Senna, about the late Formula One racing driver, Ayrton Senna, wants to attract audiences “who have no interest in motor-racing or who have no interest in Amy”.

He has succeeded spectacularly. Amy, which was released in cinemas last July, became the highest grossing documentary of all times in the UK, surpassing 2010’s Senna, which had held that position previously.  To date, according to Asif, it has earned some £25 million.

Asif’s film about Amy Winehouse, the troubled prodigy and multiple addict, who died in 2011 aged 27, received its Oscar nomination last Thursday, just two days before its director visited Galway to take part in ‘Talking Documentary’, a two-day seminar on documentary-making, organised by Galway Film Centre.

London-born Asif explained that when he started the film about Winehouse, he’d had his own opinions of her based on what he’d seen of her in her later years. Then people began telling him about the young Amy, and his view changed. As the film tracked her story and the choices she made, it also captured the paparazzi which pursued her for five years.

“Amy is about how we live now – about an artist and the paparazzi,” Asif explained. “She became famous when newspapers were going digital and had to feed their websites. She was having her breakdown in public and was an easy subject. “I want people to be angry when they see it. This is the world we live in.”

Even people who don’t buy the Mail or similar tabloids become complicit by sharing or commenting on Facebook, he said.

“We all have an opinion on people we don’t know.”

And, so while Amy is about “art, creativity, songwriting f**ked-up parents”, it also about how she lived in that spotlight.

By using footage of Winehouse, alongside her songs and interviews with friends, family and colleagues, the documentary brings the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster.

“At the beginning of the film, she is happy and alive and has those great eyes and you want to hang out with her,” Asif mused. “And then when it goes black, you feel for her. It was important to have her voice. It’s not me saying those things, it’s her.”

Asif described her songs as being like “pages from her diary”, and said that with a song such as Rehab, “you realise that word for word, she put what happened into the song”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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