This documentary has faced absolute censorship in Ireland. Survivors of Irish institutions are being silenced, if you want to hear them, watch Untold Secrets
THE MAKING OF UNTOLD SECRETS
Over the past four years, I mostly single-handledly crafted a documentary that sheds light on the experiences, life and upbringing of survivors of Irish institutions. The piece particularly focuses on one of those survivors; Anne Silke who was fostered out of the St. Mary, Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam at the age of 9 to the Killileas, a prominent political family from Tuam in Galway, Ireland. Anne recounts her often brutal and abusive treatment at the hands of her foster brothers Jarlath Killilea and Mark Killilea Jr.(TD, Minister and MEP) and reveals never seen before interviews with fellow survivors. Although Silke is now deceased the documentary gives a posthumous voice to Anne and possibly some closure to her family.
The documentary has been widely praised by those who have seen it. It was the closing film at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh and has been selected by very important festivals including Docs Ireland, San Francisco Irish Film Festival, IFI international, Indie Cork and Seminci to name a few.
Following its premiere, the film made front page news in the Irish Examiner newspaper. https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-40344998.html and received excellent reviews in a Galway paper https://www.advertiser.ie/galway/article/123373/film-review-untold-secrets
The day after its premiere the Galway Film Fleadh received a threatening letter from a solicitor instructed by the Killilea family. In response to the letter, the festival decided to take down my interviews, Q and A with the survivors and all promotion of the film aside from articles that involved more than my own movie.
The survivors and Anne’s family felt hurt and left down with this move as some of them including Jude Hughes who is 80 years of age travelled to Galway to participate in the Q and A, Anne Silke’s son travelled from New York and other people travelled from different parts of Ireland.
After this, the film’s progress has been blocked at every turn with every single festival where the documentary was screened receiving the exact same copy of the letter.
Upon receiving the letter, festivals withdraw from promoting the movie which translates in reaching very little audiences and of course no social awareness is created.
As well as this, none of my interviews with different journalists were published, no zoom meetings with festivals have been published, no radio stations have talked about this matter and every article written by journalists including Caelainn Hogan and Alison O’Reilly have been stopped.
The only article which prevails is the first article published by The Examiner.
Following the harassment directed personally to me and my documentary and taking advice from a media solicitor and my own company solicitor I went to the police station to give statement and make an official complaint about the bullying and harassment. The police refused to take statement as they said this was a civil matter and not a criminal act. Finally I proceeded to send a solicitors letter to the family.
My only way of promoting the movie was through my social media as following the letters, the fear created among the festivals prevented them to talk about the production, but anytime I posted in my social media about a new screening that festival would get a threatening letter.
My last resource was to create a private group in Fb and then book cinema screens per request social request. That could not happen either. The first screening supposed to have been in the Mall Theatre and Cinema in Tuam with a special screening requested by Tuam survivors group. The venue refused to screen the movie. Another 5 venues have refused its screening too.
After getting legal advice from a media lawyer who found no legal issues with the distribution of this film, other questions are arising?
Is fear or political interest the real cause of the censorship of this film?
Why the survivors of institutions are lead to think that have been supported somehow when the reality is that the their real stories are being censored, including the commission of investigation report?
How is the system covering the behaviour of a man who became a public representative for decades and how is his family now achieving their attempt to censor the film with no proof of defamation?
Why my reputation as a filmmaker has to be damaged and my movie insulted by these letters and Anne’s testimony is being treated as a lie while there is no proof of her testimony being a lie?
Why so much censorship?
I feel that the basic human right of freedom of speech is being attacked and fear is invading film festivals and that is enabling the truth to be buried further.
Watch the movie and please share your thoughts