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Forty Foot film causing quite a splash across movie world

AN IRISH documentary team who made a movie about the Forty Foot in Sandycove in just five days have made quite a splash on the international film festival circuit.

The ambitious project was undertaken by directors Paul McGrath, Leticia Agudo and Aoibheann O'Sullivan who were challenged to shoot, edit and print out a non-fiction film within the short period of time.

The Irish team chose to film the swimmers, mostly older groups, at the south Dublin location in March.

The crew said that they had two cameras, a wet suit and a lot of coffee to help them in their task.

"There are mostly older Irish locals who swim there every day; there are some who swim on their own before dawn breaks, in the nude, even though they are not supposed to any more, but that's the way they like it," said director Paul McGrath.

"They arrive at the spot, wait for others, change and brave the water together, afterwards staying for a cup of tea and a chat."

On the morning of March 5, the filmmakers discovered some as old as 89 braving the choppy waters.

And they said that the '11'o'clock group' were the most fun-loving and raucous of all the swimmers, who get together outside and even organise charity events.

"Every year, in November, they do a "mini triathlon", a stroll, a gentle cycle and a dip in the cold waters of the Forty Foot," Paul explained.

"While many people as they get older, protect themselves more, and do less and less outside their homes, these men and women embrace the complete opposite: go out daily, do, enjoy and brave the elements. They are active members of society."

The crew said that critics and audiences alike have been warming to the simple film about the fearless swimmers.

"They also come from different social and economic backgrounds and sometimes they don't even know each other's surnames, even though they have been coming together on this spot for years," he said. "It shows a classless section of older Irish nationals in a refreshing, encouraging and a completely unknown light to foreign eyes."

Forty Foot screened in competition at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and has also made its way to the Busan International Short Film Festival, South Korea.