CEALLAIGH AT KILMAINHAM; (2013); Kelly Gallagher; TRT: 7.00
Found family footage collaged and handcrafted: An exploration of land, roots, radical history, and the strength of the women who came before me.
Q: What was your creative process with this film? (Ceallaigh at Kilmainham)
I took a trip to Ireland a few years ago and learned about some familial roots in Donegal, where my great grandparents and their families were born and raised. When I came home from the trip I knew I wanted to make a film that explored family lineage (and sometimes the gaps we have in our family trees), the strength of women in my family, and the radical history of Ireland and all the struggle that its’ landscape represents. I did some research and found some found footage home movies on 16mm from the 1950s which I then spliced together with an educational 16mm film I found about Ireland’s landscape. Using a simple light table and some permanent ink, I colored on the film in certain spaces, leaving my literal fingerprints and marks on the celluloid and therefore also on the landscape.
Tactile methods of filmmaking are very important to me, and so my hope is that my film form and filmmaking processes make the already-personal content in this film become ever more visceral and tangible.
Q: What does the title “Ceallaigh at Kilmainham” mean?
“Ceallaigh” is my name “Kelly” in Gaelic which is the original Irish language which some parts of the country still speak today. The language was almost wiped out by the British government which discouraged its’ use as it sought to control Ireland during Ireland’s fight for independence. Kilmainham is the name of the gaol (jail) in Dublin where many Irish revolutionaries were tried and killed for their participation in the Easter Uprising and their fight for Irish independence. I learned the Irish origins of my name right outside of the Kilmainham Gaol, which greatly affected me and which I explore through connections between family, strength, and perseverance in the film.
I was born in the United States, and my ancestral roots and great grandparents are from Donegal, Ireland.
“Ceallaigh at Kilmainham” is my personal essay short film set against the backdrop of Ireland’s radical history. It touches upon the politics of language and colonialism while simultaneously exploring ancestry, endurance, and preservation.