#127 | Kieron J. Walsh | Director (The Racer)


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Ahead of the Irish cinema release this weekend of the highly anticipated cycling movie, The Racer, Paul Webster spoke to the film's director, Kieron J. Walsh.
Kieron is a hugely experienced Irish director who has had a rich and varied career working in Film, TV and Advertising. He is well known as one of the founders of Blinder Films, the Irish company that has brought us some of the coolest projects of the last decade.
The Racer is a technical marvel, an engrossing portrayal of a fictionalised version the Irish stages of the 1998 Tour De France. This tour was seen as a low point as regards drug cheats in cycling and became known as the Tour du Dopage and the Tour of Shame. The film is completely immersive with its awe-inspiring race sequences and the amazing, pulsing techno soundtrack that drives them along. In this conversation, Kieron details how they managed to pull this off with only 28 days of filming.
This film was due to premiere at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas but unfortunately, it was pulled because of Covid. This film deserves to be seen on the big screen, go see it and support your local cinema this weekend.
Screen Daily review: As James Mather’s camera delves into the peloton, flying above and amongst the swarm of riders while they battle for position, it’s also clear that this is also part of the addiction. Close-ups of gritted teeth and sweat-drenched bodies are markers of considerable stress, but they pale in comparison with the sheer elation felt at the podium. That’s underscored by Hannes De Maeyer’s excellent, nuanced score, which mixes frantic beats and gentler Irish strings. And, in the background, there’s often the relentless tick of bicycle spokes which act as an effective metronome for Dom’s narrowing chances of glory.
Kieron J. Walsh
In 2005, Kieron set up Bl!nder Ltd, a commercials production company and in 2006 he founded Bl!nder Films to develop and produce Irish drama and documentary for a domestic and international audience. For Bl!nder Films, Kieron directed The Savage Eye, Series 1 & 2, a comedy sketch show for RTÉ starring David McSavage. The show was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Entertainment Series and for won a Celtic Media Award in 2012 for Best Entertainment Series. It continues to be one of the most successful comedy shows on Irish domestic TV. With his business partner Katie Holly, Kieron has also produced two features: Sensation directed by Tom Hall and Come on Eileen – both films have been screened globally at film festivals; Sensation had a cinema, DVD and VOD release and Come on Eileen was released on DVD in late 2011.
Kieron recently finished Vexed, a television series for BBC and completed his latest feature film Jump, a Hotshot/Bl!nder Films production, starring Nichola Burley and Martin McCann. This saw him return once again to the Toronto International Film Festival where Jump had its International Premiere, and later to Palm Springs International Film Festival where it picked up the Bridging The Borders award. Jump was released in 2013.


Irish audiences can look forward to an eclectic mix of fresh Irish film highlights for December and beyond including Cartoon Saloon’s critically acclaimed Wolfwalkers, Phil Lynott documentary Songs For While I’m Away, Sundance debut Herself from Mamma Mia director Phyllida Lloyd and Arracht, Ireland’s official Irish-language entry for next year’s Academy Awards. Please give these films your support.
Join us on the 21st of December for FNI meets. A free online event.
To round off the year we're chatting to arguably Ireland's best Director Lenny Abrahamson. We'll chat all things Normal People, Room and his early work, Adam & Paul and his journey from Advertising to Features.
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177 episodes