The story of 'A Grand Experience' began on water, but from April it's going to take to the skies. It's been confirmed this week that Aer Lingus is to show 'A Grand Experience' on transatlantic flights in April and May.
The journey of Offaly DVD 'A Grand Experience' began on the canal in Shannon Harbour, but when the cameras stopped rolling once the 68M barge reached Edenderry it turns out it was anything but the end of the line for the innovative project.
The artistic response to the Grand Canal that saw writer Eugene O'Brien, musician Wayne Brennan and photographer Veronica Nicholson cruise from Shannon Harbour to Edenderry was premiered in Tullamore Omniplex in June 2012 with the intention of getting it to as wide an audience as possible. In October it was broadcast on RTÉ to some 565,000 viewers, it's since been made available as a DVD and now it's to get another big boost by being added to the line up of shows available to see on Aer Lingus flights.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent this week 'A Grand Experience' director Garret Daly of Mixed Bag Media said he got the call from RTÉ asking if it could offer the show to Aer Lingus just a fortnight ago. "We said 'absolutely'," he laughed.
Offaly arts officer Sinead O'Reilly is just as pleased with the news. She's been involved with the Offaly County Council commissioned film from the off, and said the latest news is testament to its quality.
"When we commissioned the film it was our intention that it would reach audiences to convey both the beauty and inspiration of the Grand Canal in Offaly," she said. "Following its 565,000 reach on RTÉ, news that Aer Lingus has taken it has exceeded expectations."
Offaly County Council's Catriona Hilliard was also involved with the film project, and is currently working on The Gathering 2013. She said having 'A Grand Experience' shown on transatlantic flight offers a wonderful opportunity to promote Offaly tourist attractions in a creative way to an international audience.
"It also shows how important it is for communities to make and shape opportunities for themselves and for tourism in Offaly," she added.
Though Offaly County Council has always been fully behind the project, Garret Daly says success on this scale justifies money being put up for the project.
"I'm glad it has transcended beyond the county and that we were able to make a programme that has national appeal and now even wider appeal," he said. "Showing the county off is an added value."
Mixed Bag Media is currently focused on another community project. Production of the fiction feature film 'A Nightingale Falling' will begin in Daingean in June, with a number of residents from the town and surrounding areas involved.
DVD copies of 'A Grand Experience' are still available in Offaly County Council, Trax in Tullamore and online at www.mixedbagmedia.com.