Wandering Aengus

New online film featuring Michael Gambon launched to celebrate Yeats2015

Film highlights Sligo and its connection with Nobel Prize-winning poet WB Yeats to potential visitors around the world.

A new online film, specially created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats, was unveiled at the launch of the Yeats Day programme for 2015.

Tourism Ireland supported the production of the short film featuring Irish-born actor Sir Michael Gambon reading Yeats’ poem The Song of Wandering Aengus.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “The events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats provide a wonderful hook for Tourism Ireland to highlight Sligo and Ireland around the world. Our world-renowned literature excites many of our potential visitors who want to experience something of Ireland’s culture while they are here. We are therefore taking every opportunity to shine a spotlight on the Yeats2015 programme – leveraging the tourism benefits of the anniversary and showcasing the island of Ireland and the North West as a destination with a rich literary heritage.”

Ian Brannigan, CEO and head of regional development, Western Development Commission: From the hazel wood to Hollywood we think WB would have been pleased to see his words accompanied in such a sympathetic manner. Our hope is that this piece provides a gateway to the great man’s work for a whole new generation. As such, the WDC is proud to be associated with the Yeats2015 commemoration.”

Senator Susan O’Keeffe, chair of Yeats2015, said: “Michael Gambon and Thaddeus O’ Sullivan have given a great gift to the celebration of Yeats2015. It is a beautiful piece of work and brings a new joy to poetry for the public.”

The short film highlights Yeats’ special connection with Sligo and features wonderful images of this part of Ireland – including the spectacular Ben Bulben – giving people everywhere a flavour of what to expect when they visit. It is directed by well-known Irish director Thaddeus O’Sullivan.

Film Credits:

Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan

Thaddeus was born in Dublin and received an M.A. in film and television from the Royal College of Art, London. He worked throughout the 1970’s and ’80s as a cinematographer and made his feature directorial debut with December Bride (1990), which won the Special Jury prize at the European Film Awards. His next feature Nothing Personal (1995), was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. In 1998 he directed the NBC mini-series, Witness to the Mob and in 2000, returned to Dublin to make the gangster caper Ordinary Decent Criminal starring Kevin Spacey. In 2002, he directed the British heritage film, The Heart of Me, based on the novel by Rosamund Lehman. Since then he has worked extensively across British and Irish television on award winning series such as Into the Storm, Singled-Handed, Silent Witness, Amber, Vera, The Crimson Field and Call the Midwife. In 2009, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in Outstanding Director for Into The Storm. In 2010 he directed the multi-award winning Stella Days, which was nominated for nine Irish Film & Television Awards and winner of Best Feature at Celtic Media Festival.

O’Sullivan is currently filming Shetland – a six-part TV series for ITV / BBC Scotland starring Ciaran Hinds, Archie Panjabi and Anna Chancellor.

Actor: Sir Michael Gambon

Production Company: Newgrange Pictures

Newgrange Pictures is one of Ireland’s leading production companies, producing distinctive, innovative and high quality feature films, documentaries and TV drama for the international marketplace. Founded in 2005 it is run by Lesley McKimm & Jackie Larkin, the producing team behind an array of critically acclaimed and award-winning film and television programmes including Stella Days, Happy Ever Afters, Kings, Whistleblower, Any Time Now and No Tears.

Score: Nicholas Hooper.

‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’
BY W.B. Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)