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Blazing the Trail

Director: Peter Flynn


The ‘O’Kalems’ was the affectionate nickname given to members of New York’s Kalem Film Company, primarily Gene Gauntier and Sidney Olcott, who between 1910-1915 produced almost thirty films dealing with Ireland and Irish subjects. The Kalem Company made history by producing not only the earliest series of fiction films made in Ireland, but also the first films to be shot on both sides of the Atlantic. The majority of these were filmed in and around Killarney, Co. Kerry, making extensive use of the dramatic landscape and using locals as extras. Blazing the Trail: The O’Kalem’s in Ireland, directed by Peter Flynn and produced by Tony Tracy, offers an in-depth and authoritative exploration of the making of these films and their place in American and Irish film history. It is an invaluable record of the earliest images of Ireland on the American screen and is essential viewing for all those passionate about silent cinema and Irish culture.

Notes by Tony Tracy.

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