Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Risteard O Domhnaill’s Atlantic makes inspiring use of crowd-funding

The director of The Pipe has already raised a bundle for his new documentary, but there’s still time to contribute

Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 19:05


It is now three years since Risteard O Domhnaill’s excellent The Pipe revealed unhappy truths about Shell Oil’s attempts to impose a pipeline on the citizens of Rossport. As anybody who has met him will attest, Richie is not a man to doze lazily on his laurels. Over the last month, the film-maker has been attempting to raise finance to complete work on Atlantic, a study of the conflict between offshore drilling and the fisherman who work the waters. To that end, he and his producers set up a campaign at inviting citizens to make their contribution.

“Initially we were forced down the crowd-funding route because all doors to funding at an official level were shut to us,” Richie explains. “However, the lack of broadcaster or official fund support has been a blessing in disguise, because we have been forced to engage directly with the people whom this documentary will affect, and those who will form its eventual audience. The reaction from around the country has been overwhelming with musicians, artists and ordinary people donating their time and money at a time when they themselves are struggling.”

The target of €25000 has been surpassed, but there is still one day to go and any additional funds received will not go to waste. A new website has helped kick up further interest for a project that speaks to topics not sufficiently addressed in the media. Atlantic follows the fortunes of three fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – as they struggle to maintain their way of life, despite mounting challenges within their own industry, from a dramatically changing environment, and from the lure of more lucrative careers that only the oncoming oil industry can offer.

“Risteard has run a great campaign, and at this moment Atlantic is looking like it will raise over 20% more than our previous highest-pledging campaign, which was the Solar Water
campaign,” Andrew Hetherington of Fund It tells us.  ”Risteard has consolidated the success of his last campaign for ‘On the Horizon’ and has already received pledges 125% above what that project achieved. It’s great to see so many first-time pledgers to the site too.”

The method of funding thus becomes part of the film’s wider story. This is a picture that belongs not just to the citizens it addresses and the film-makers who devoted their labour. It belongs also to the public who want the story to be heard and who articulate that desire by donating either small change or more substantial amounts. You will know how this goes.   Various privileges will be put the way of investors. Donate €10 and you will receive a digital download of the picture on its release. Hand over €10,000 and you will get an all-expenses-paid jaunt to the international premiere (remember that The Pipe debuted in Toronto). All the information is available here: You have until Thursday afternoon to make your own contribution.