Dreams of A Life – the Irish connection

On Friday 6th of January Dreams of a Life, opened at the IFI Dublin. I was interested having heard about the tragic life of Joyce Vincent earlier in the year.

Dreams of a Life, is a documentary drama about the thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above a small shopping mall in North London in 2003. When her skeleton was discovered three years later, her heating and television were still on. Yet it would appear nobody noticed that she was missing, newspaper reports offered few details of Joyce’s life – and there was not even a photograph or even called to her flat. Director Carol Morley’s quest was to discover who Joyce was and how she came to be forgotten. She placed adverts in newspapers, on the Internet and on the side of a London taxi, and discovered Joyce’s former friends, lovers and colleagues the interviews and account became the basis to re-creating who Joyce was and in today’s world how such a tragic event could happen.

My attention to this documentary was surrounds the publicity of Dreams of a Life on the IFI website it says:

‘Dreams of a Life, a new Irish co-production telling the true story of a woman that society tragically forgot opens exclusively at the IFI on 6th January’

It goes on to say – ‘The film’s Irish Producer, James Mitchell said More and more of us live in cities.  In the Facebook age, we think perhaps we’re more connected.  Joyce Vincent’s story, brilliantly told by director Carol Morley, asks us – certainly me – many questions.  I’m delighted that this first project from my new Irish company, Soho Moon, was co-financed by the Irish Film Board and the new Irish film fund Shoot For The Moon.”

And finally a comment from Alan Maher of the Irish Film Board “Dreams of a Life is a brilliant docudrama that came to Ireland to shoot its beautifully realised reconstructions at Hannay Studios, and to finish the film at Egg post production, working with Irish talent led by James Mitchell and Rachel Lysaght.  It represents another successful collaboration with our UK partners at Film 4/Channel 4 and the BFI; Canadian partners at E1; and exciting new partners Dogwoof and Shoot for the Moon.”

To me this is quintessential a British story with no connection to Ireland whatsoever. So why were the IFB involved in this project at all?  Over the years a number of projects in Ireland have had the support of the British Film Council, but all of which were recreating in some way to a British theme.

I don’t claim to understand all the principles on how projects such as this one are financed but on the face of it would appear that it’s not a project that one would expect the Irish Film Board to be involved with.

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) is the national development agency for the Irish film industry investing in talent, creativity and enterprise. The agency supports and promotes the Irish film industry and the use of Ireland as a location for international production. ( as it appears on the IFB website)

A very small Irish crew was attached, but is that sufficient to say it required the support of Irish taxpayer’s money. How does supporting such project help develop the Irish Film Industry? Or are we really saying that the IFB is now a commercial entity looking for any suitable project to invest in, if so what is the difference between it and a producer?

Dreams of a Life will be screened at the IFI Cinema from the 6th to 12th January 2012 and a very limited in Galway and Belfast. I does look like an interesting production and I hope to get along to see it over the next few days.

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Categories: Film and TV

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