The Silver Branch
2018 Winner of the International spectrum Audience Award at HotDocs, North America’s biggest documentary film festival, The Silver Branch is a philosophical vision-poem about one man’s journey through life which underpins a search to reconnect with nature and culture as primary sources from which we learn a deeper understanding of ourselves and our surroundings.
An uplifting and emotional celebration of people and place, which captures the delicacy of the natural world; the heart and soul of a farmer-poet, Patrick McCormack; and the ancient rural spirit of Ireland which stands behind him. The Story is centred around Patrick and the land, The Burren, Western Ireland. A wild place where Mesolithic tombs, famine villages and present day small rocky fields are like jewels telling of our long human story on these hills. Patrick longs to farm in the quite pace his ascendants did. But his life gains a different momentum when he’s called to Battle in the Supreme courts to decide on the fate of this iconic wilderness
The Silver Branch is a feature length drama documentary funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the Irish Incentive for Film and Television Section 481.
Currently the film is being shown at International Film Festivals and will have a limited theatrical release here in Ireland.
Some media reviews.
Donald Clarke wrote:
“There was another campaign at the heart of Katrina Costello’s breathtakingly lovely The Silver Branch, but her film is first and foremost a character study of a remarkable man. Patrick McCormack has, like generations of antecedents before him, worked a patch of land that rubs against the beautiful, austere Burren. Costello’s rich images offer elegant underscores to the subject’s pastoral verse. A fox lowers itself. A horse makes efforts to care for a calf. The film gains a different momentum when McCormack gets drawn into the campaign against the controversial Burren Interpretive Centre. The film does trust that we share its subject’s passion for nature, but it will win over even those agnostic about the philosophy.” https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/the-best-films-from-this-year-s-galway-film-fleadh-1.3157532#.WWymmpBNJZk.facebook
Irish actor Brendan Gleeson: “Film making as it should be in Ireland, finding the universal in the local – with a sure footedness that is most unusual, magical … a unique and an important cinematic gift”
(The film is beautiful. Stunning visually and the sensibilities are so vividly expressed. A true
gaisce. Amazing work, well done yourself.)
Chris Baldwin, European Capital of Culture 2020 ” While the gentle, enveloping images of this film slow the heart beat the poetry and urgency of the narrative reminds us that some struggles are so continual, so universal, that they are not chosen by us but are a matter of the very meaning of our lives.”
Ruth McNally (Irish Film & TV Network): The film’s great strengths are its endearing characters, poetic narration and sublime imagery… The characters affection for the place is contagious, particularly McCormack’s, who attaches an almost spiritual sense of importance to it.
Louise Roseingrave – The Irish Examiner: “We have educated ourselves out of our landscape,” Katrina Costello says, as we discuss her new documentary, The Silver Branch.
It depicts the life and insights of the inimitable philosopher, poet, and fifth-generation farmer, Patrick McCormack, owner of ‘Fr Ted’s House’ in Co Clare.
The harsh beauty of the landscape has shaped the people that live here. It has taught them a universal wisdom, a philosophy of life, a spirituality that gives them inner strength,” she says. That is something, perhaps, that has been educated out of us.
Running time : 75 min. Creative, feature length documentary
Camera : Katrina Costello / Ken O’Sullivan