Ifta demands written apology over awards ceremony jibe
Published 09/03/2011 | 10:58
The film-maker behind an award-winning documentary on the Corrib gas project has been told to apologise for a joke he cracked at the expense of the Irish Film and Television Awards (Ifta).
Risteard O Domhnaill has been asked to retract a quip about the €300-a-head price tag for tickets for family and crew to attend last month's bash.
Amid the fall-out, Ifta chiefs accused him of abusing his time on stage, branded the remark annoying and then listed what nominees get in return, including make-up, red carpet treatment, promotional and media work.
After accepting his award, Mr O Domhnaill said he was deeply honoured and joked: "Thank you, Ifta. Although, at €300 a ticket, there'll probably be one for everyone in the audience."
The joke went down well on the night with the crowd but the organisers, who have refused to explain why they have demanded an apology, failed to see the funny side.
Mr O Domhnaill said: "I fully appreciate the support Ifta has given me and the team, and I've thanked them for everything they have done for the film.
"But I don't understand why an apology and retraction is needed?
"The tickets were €300 and we did have to buy them on behalf of family and crew members who I strongly felt deserved to be there."
Mr O Domhnaill, a news cameraman, received a complimentary ticket for himself and a producer after being nominated for the George Morrison Feature Documentary Award.
They paid for four other tickets including for Mr O Domhnaill's father Pat, his sister, editor Nigel O'Regan and a contract adviser.
Mr O Domhnaill has not apologised.
The Pipe, on which the film-maker spent four years, was described as "startlingly honest" by Time Out magazine.
As the row runs on, Ifta has also noted the amount of support it gives to develop talent in the industry. It said the joke was completely incorrect and unfair, and it wants a written apology and comments about the cost of tickets retracted.
Mr O Domhnaill entered The Pipe in only one category because there were no funds to pay for additional entries - up to €100 a time - and the prohibitive cost of running off up to 200 DVDs per entry.
The team behind the film are expected to be busy over the next month with trips to film festivals in major US cities including Washington, New York, Boston, Dallas and then on to London to promote the documentary.
Channel 4 is understood to be interested in the film.