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Saturday 23 September 2017

Yes, we Cannes -- film on president's Irish roots to be shown at festival

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

A DOCUMENTARY which explores President Barack Obama's Irish links is to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Producer Don McGuinness has agreed a worldwide distribution deal of 'Barack Obama's Irish Roots' with a US distributor which plans to market it to an estimated 44 million Irish Americans.

Made by Irish filmmaker Gabriel Murray, the 90-minute film covers the 8,000km journey from Moneygall, to Hawaii via Maryland, Indiana and Kansas by Obama's relatives from Famine-stricken Ireland.

"This is a simple story of how one Irish family emigrated to America -- one of millions but an Irish family related to the most powerful man now in the western world. I wanted to find out what caused this family to leave Ireland and what drove them to trek across America," Murray told the Irish Independent.

The idea for the documentary -- to be shown at Cannes on May 10, was inspired by the discovery of Mr Obama's Irish heritage by Megan Smolenyak of Ancestry.com and further information uncovered by the Dean of the Templeharry church in Co Offaly, Canon Stephen Neil who was interviewed by film makers.

Along with interviews and archive photographs, the documentary contains re-enactments of important moments in the Dunhan-Kearney (later Obama) family tree.

These include the wedding of Mr Obama's great-great grandfather Joseph Kearney to Phoebe Donovan.

Last night 'Barack Obama's Irish Roots' had its Irish premiere, appropriately in Ollie Hayes' Bar in Moneygall.

"We could have something bigger in Dublin but this is where our story begins and we wanted local people down here to see it first," added Murray.

Irish Independent

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