Blazing the Trail

 

BLAZING THE TRAIL: THE O’KALEMS IN IRELAND (2011, 86 mins)

Directed by Peter Flynn | Produced by Tony Tracy

 

In the early 1910s, the New York based Kalem Film Company made history by sending its leading filmmakers–director Sidney Olcott and screenwriter/lead actress Gene Gauntier–to County Kerry, in Ireland. Known to the public as the “O’Kalems,” Olcott and Gauntier produced a series of ground-breaking films–rebel dramas, folk romances, tales of exile and emigration–celebrated for their authentic Irish settings and unrivaled in their use of scenery. They were the first fiction films to be made in Ireland and were among the first American films to be shot overseas.

 

BLAZING THE TRAIL tells the story of Olcott and Gaunter’s adventures in Ireland: it recounts how they made films without electricity, using locals as actors; how they provoked the condemnation of a local priest and ran afoul of the British authorities. It tells the story of two of the cinema’s earliest mavericks, of the people and culture they immortalized on film–and of the emerging Hollywood system that would ultimately eclipse them.

 

SAMPLE REVIEWS:

 

“first rate, inventive, and fascinating” LA EXAMINER

“comprehensive and compelling” David Robinson

“impressive and sophisticated” CINEASTE

“a delightful piece of work” THE BIOSCOPE

 

SAMPLE CLIPS:

 

The “O’Kalems” returned to Ireland in 1911 for an 18-week stay in Killarney, producing a total of 17 films, 4 of which survive to this day.

 

Muckross Abbey, one of the locations used by the Kalem filmmakers in 1911.

 

IMAGES FROM BLAZING THE TRAIL:

             
CLOSE