Village by the Sea

Filmmaker Michael Heath and cinematographer Stephen Latty follow the footsteps of painter Edith Collier to the southern coast of Ireland.

Director: Michael Heath
Year: 2012
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 61 mins

Screenplay/Narrator: Michael Heath
Producers: Bhim Singh, Krishna Chouhan. Supported by The Edith Collier Trust
Photography: Stephen Latty
Editor: Arunabha Mukherjee
Sound: Tanu Patel
Music: Deirdre Starr, Roy Healy, Aisling Quaid, Andy Kiely, Adil-Prashant

World Premiere

In this gentle documentary Michael Heath follows up his earlier Edith Collier portrait (NZIFF07) to transport us to the Irish fishing village of Bunmahon where the New Zealand artist painted during the summers of 1914 and 1915. The beautifully shot landscapes – silver sea, misty green hills and radiant lilac skies – are interspersed with Collier’s painted versions. The camera leads us down leafy lanes and past derelict farmhouses at a contemplative pace in keeping with the quality of Collier’s work. Scored throughout with traditional Irish folk music, the film is a quiet exploration of the beauty of this seaside town, seen through a brush and a camera lens. Although Collier’s Bunmahon residency was a century ago, interviews with locals reveal a strong connection to this Antipodean painter. To their disappointment, her work has never been exhibited in Ireland: Collier returned to New Zealand with the sketches and paintings, and gradually abandoned her artistic dream. This melancholy-tinged story pays tribute to an under-acknowledged artist and the continued legacy of her work. — JR