Available March 1, 2006 from APT
this press release (MS Word document).
filmmaker biography (MS Word document).
EXPLORES AMERICAN ARTIST'S LIFE-CHANGING JOURNEY
to premiere in March on public television stations…
BALLYCASTLE, a new half-hour
documentary premiering on public television stations
in March 2006, tells the story of Stuart Shils,
a noted Philadelphia-based artist of Jewish heritage,
whose life and work has been forever changed by
his encounter with the remote Irish village Ballycastle.
resident of Manayunk -- an old industrial section
of Philadelphia -- Shils' early paintings captured
the light, color and rough texture of neighborhood
streetscapes. Nearly ten years ago, he received
an unexpected call from a village on Ireland's remote
North Mayo coast inviting him to visit and paint
for as long as he would like to stay. Initially
skeptical, Shils researched the offer, and decided
to travel to Ballycastle.
has never been the same. Beyond the enormous impact
of the experience on his art, his time in Ireland
has also deepened his appreciation of the links
between the Irish and Jewish experience.
tells the story of Shils' relationship with this
Irish village. Moving between the starkly contrasting
landscapes of Philadelphia and Ireland, the documentary
introduces viewers to the village's exquisite light,
dramatic scenery and fierce, ever-changing weather.
The stunning atmosphere attracts an increasing number
of internationally recognized artists who live and
work under the auspices of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation,
a model for arts-led community development founded
by Philadelphia-based art dealers Peter Maxwell
and Margo Dolan. Shils' passionate, colorful and
often amusing reflections form a diary of sensations
about Ballycastle. Drawn from in-depth interviews,
his words provide the primary narrative structure
through which we discover the effect of the village
on the artist. In turn, several villagers are introduced
to provide commentary on the effect of the artists
on the village.
story is approached from the visual and aural perspective
of the artist. An exhibit of Shils' Irish work at
the Philadelphia Art Alliance provides the story's
structure. Scenes in urban Philadelphia of Shils
preparing for his exhibition trigger memories of
the village, which transport viewers to the dramatic,
moody atmosphere of Ballycastle. The shooting and
editing style contrast the slow pace of Irish village
life with the quicker pace of the Philadelphia environments
frequented by Shils. Inspired by what Shils listens
to while in Ballycastle, the music is a mix of traditional
Irish pipes, spiritually evocative choral music
and Beethoven -- whose dark passages capture the
range of mood Shils has encountered in the village.
won a 2004 CINE Golden Eagle Award and First Place
for Documentary from the Society of Professional
Journalists, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. It is
being distributed nationally by American Public
Television and WHYY in Philadelphia.
is a production of Shirley Road Productions, Narberth,
Pennsylvania, and was produced and directed by Frances
McElroy. It was edited by Ann Tegnell. Videographers
were Eric Sennhenn and Tom Gillern. Location sound
recordist was David Rainey. Support is provided
in part by WYBE's Philadelphia Stories
series (The Philadelphia Foundation), the Pennsylvania
Council on the Arts, the 5-County Arts Fund, Tourism
Ireland, the Leeway and Claneil Foundations and
the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick.
WHYY is what
a diverse community has in common. WHYY, through
television, radio and other communications services,
makes our region a better place, connecting each
of us to the world's richest ideas and all of us
to each other.
44 years, American Public Television (APT) has been
a prime source of programming for the nation's public
television stations. APT distributes more than 10,000
hours of programming including JFK: Breaking
the News, Simply Ming, Globe
Trekker, Rick Steves' Europe, Julia
and Jacques Cooking at Home, Battlefield
Britain, Jungle, America's Test
Kitchen, Lidia's Family Table and
classic movies. APT is known for identifying innovative
programs and developing creative distribution techniques
for producers. In four decades, it has established
a tradition of providing public television stations
nationwide with program choices that enable them
to strengthen and customize their schedules. Press
should contact Donna Hardwick at 617-338-4455 ext.
129, or via email to Donna_Hardwick@aptonline.org.
For more information about APT's programs and services
Recent Press Releases
An archive of WHYY press releases.
TV12 Featured Programs
Press releases, photographs, and links to information about television programs.
91FM Featured Programs
Press releases, photographs, and links to information about radio programs.
Programs presented nationally by WHYY