The Rising Gets a Kickstart(er)

The General Post Office in Dublin.

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
November 13, 2014

A new Kickstarter campaign aims to raise money for an upcoming film about the Easter Rising, produced by Irish filmmaker Kevin McCann.

I feel happiness the likes of which I have never experienced.
I might die so that the Irish nation might live.

Those were some of the final words written by 33 year old Sean MacDiarmada right before his execution in 1916. He is one of the unsung heroes of the 1916 Uprising in Ireland, overshadowed by other great Irishman like Michael Collins and James Connolly. Collins once said of him “he did not seek glory as a personal investment but as a National investment. He was not Sean MacDiarmada, he was Ireland.”

With the preparations for the upcoming 1916 Commemorations underway in Ireland, it marks the perfect opportunity to revisit the men and women of 1916 like Sean MacDiarmada. This is the aim of filmmaker Kevin McCann. Since 2012 he has been working tirelessly to bring the story of Sean MacDiarmada to the big screen as previous filmmakers had done with other Irish leaders in Michael Collins and The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Its tentative title is “The Rising” and it is a true indie story in every sense of the word. The story itself was inspired by Dr. Gerard MacAtasney’s biography: Seán MacDiarmada: The Mind of the Revolution. McCann envisions it as the completion of a trilogy of films about the birth of modern Ireland – a prequel to both Michael Collins and The Wind that Shakes the Barley – deeming it “not just an Irish story,” but “ a human story about fighting for freedom from oppression that will resonate with people worldwide.”

McCann began his journey in Northern Ireland where he received support from the Leitrim County Council and the influential Belfast agency Northern Ireland Screen which has backed the popular Game of Thrones. McCann is currently at the halfway point of production which he hopes to finish by 2016 and premiere on St. Patrick’s Day of that year.

Besides agencies in Northern Ireland, McCann also has the backing of many relatives of MacDiarmada including his grandniece Mauara Grant and his great grand niece Rosa Mylonas. McCann has also done a lot of press for the project in Ireland and America with articles in Boston, New York, and Chicago. Social media has also spread word of mouth with over 11,000 likes on Facebook, 4,000 Twitter followers, and a Kickstarter pledge campaign that is currently accepting donations.

Those who donate to the Kickstarter campaign, McCann notes, will receive credit as part of the team behind “The Rising,” and there are special souvenirs and gifts in exchange for pledges of all amounts. The campaign has until December 10th to raise €73,000.

Cast and crew are slowly taking shape, but many Irish and American actors and actresses have expressed interest in the film. Much has been done to get this project going and much more still needs to be completed, but the passion and support backing the film will carry it through to a resounding success.

To see more, visit The Rising’s Kickstarter page here, or email Kevin McCann at kevin@maccana.ie.

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