Film looks at journey from Ardfield to India

April 1st, 2023 11:30 PM

Producer Ian Michael and Tim Feen making the documentary.

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AN award-winning documentary film that was shot in and around Clonakilty and Ardfield will be premiered at the local cinema this month. 

An Gorta Mór: Passage to India, directed by Fokiya Akhtar and co-produced with Ian Michael, has drawn awards at film festivals and rave reviews by audiences since its release in 2019. 

Dr Ian Michael, the producer of the film spent some years researching his ancestor John Footman who left Ardfield during the famine years to emigrate to India.

Using dramatic reconstruction and including interviews with local historians Tim Feen, Michael O’Mahony (genealogist), Father Patrick McCarthy, members of the Footman family and others, this film traces the journey John Footman embarked on, his subsequent marriage to an Indian lady and how he eventually settled into a happy life in India.

Director of photography and creative editor Michael Ogden, and cinematographer Fred Louradour (who tragically died before the film was finished) capture the rich tapestry of India woven with the Irish landscape revealing the essence of the story. 

‘This film is a realisation of a longing to understand, not only the Irish-Indian culture that I grew up in, but also to appreciate the richness of the Irish roots that I learned from my great-grandmother, Agnes Footman. This took me on a journey to explore my Irish roots culminating in an emotional discovery of the original home where John Footman was born, and no doubt departed for India, a journey from which he would probably never return,’ said Ian. 

Producer–director Fokiya Akhtar added: ‘Looking back at the journey of Irish roots and talking with Footman descendants all over the world, I never would have thought that the historical events in Ireland that prompted John Footman to leave everything he ever knew and loved to seek a better life in India would find its analog in the contemporary stories of migration today.’

The trailer can be seen at .

• ‘An Gorta Mór: Passage to India’ will be screened Monday, April 3rd at 7pm, at Clonakilty Park Cinema.

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