News and Views

UCC documentaries to reach global audience

17 Nov 2021

Two UCC documentaries produced in association with RTÉ will soon be shown to millions across Europe. 

On Tuesday 30th November RTÉ will ‘takeover’ ARTE (The Franco - German European Cultural Television Channel) and ‘The Irish Revolution’ and ‘The Hunger’, both commissioned by RTÉ Cork will be broadcast as part of the channel's 'Ireland-themed' night. The documentaries will be broadcast in prime-time slots with the potential to reach millions of viewers across Germany, France, and Belgium. 

The ‘Irish Revolution’ (2019), narrated by Cillian Murphy, tells the story of the tumultuous events of Irish War of Independence, while ‘The Hunger’ (2020), narrated by Liam Neeson, recounts for the first time, the full story of the Irish Famine - the single most impactful event in Irish history - in its 175th anniversary year. 

Based on major books from UCC’s award-winning Atlas Series, on the 'Irish Revolution' and the 'Great Famine' both documentaries were written and directed by Ruan Magan and executive produced by Head of RTÉ Cork, Colm Crowley, John FitzGerald of University College Cork (UCC) and Patricia Carroll from Tyrone Productions. 

The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (2012) was edited by John Crowley, William J Smyth, and Mike Murphy; and the Atlas of the Irish Revolution (2017) was edited by John Crowley, John Borgonovo, Mike Murphy, Donal Ó Drisceoil, and Nick Hogan, all UCC scholars.

The documentaries are being extensively distributed across the world, with ‘The Hunger’ shortly due for transmission on PBS in the USA, and in China on the Xigua streaming service, which is available to 120 million subscribers. ‘The Hunger’ has just picked up the Best Documentary Award at the Los Angeles Documentary Festival, along with a range of other awards from around the world.

Edel Edwards, Head of Programme Sales, RTÉ said: “Documentaries like The Hunger and The Irish Revolution drive home the privilege of representing the very best of your country’s storytelling.  We are immensely proud to bring both powerful films to the international market.” 

Ruán Magan, Producer/Director of The Hunger and The Irish Revolution said: "When we look at history, we are really looking in a mirror. History reveals who we are and where we came from. While these two documentaries tell stories drawn from recent Irish historical experience, their themes - social injustice, environmental disaster, and the importance of responsible political leadership in the case of The Hunger and the potential of personal and community solidarity to bring about seismic revolutionary change in the case of The Irish Revolution, are universal themes relevant to human societies the world over. We are most grateful to ARTE for the opportunity of sharing these stories." 

John FitzgGerald, Director of Information Services, University College Cork said; ‘’UCC is immensely proud of its work with RTÉ and Tyrone Productions in making these exceptional documentaries. As with the books at their core, they embody our wish to generate a deeper understanding nationally and internationally of important events in Irish history, and to broaden awareness of Irish identity using the best and latest scholarship’’. 

Patricia Carrol, Executive Producer Tyrone Productions said: working with ARTE – the European cultural channel has widened the options for Irish producers in looking at different funding models for making high end documentaries such as The Irish Revolution and The Hunger and these key moments in Irish history being brought to wider audience European audience” 

Colm Crowley, Head of RTÉ Cork said: "Our partnership with University College Cork has already delivered two landmark series, which will have a life far beyond their first broadcast window, telling our nation’s story not just to audiences at home, but to audiences around the world. It is the perfect example of the potential of creative collaboration between two national institutions’’. 

RTÉ Cork and University College Cork have several new films under production and in development, which will air over the next two years, including a three-part series on the Irish Civil War, which will become the definitive documentary on this period, due for transmission in 2022. 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF