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Armada Film Shows We Can Work In Isolation

In a few more days, we are set to launch a new film about the Spanish Armada and its close connections to Sligo. In September of 1588, 3 Armada ships were wrecked during terrible storms at Streedagh Beach in Sligo, resulting in the deaths of up to 1,000 Spanish soldiers and sailors. Incredibly, one survivor, Francisco de Cuéllar, managed not only to escape death from drowning, or at the hands of the English who lay in wait on the beach, finishing the Spaniards off as they dragged themselves ashore - he wrote about the whole event.

'Armada 1588 : Shipwreck & Survival' tells this story. It's a half hour docu-drama produced by the creative team at Mediacoop in Dublin, directed by Al Butler and produced for Spanish Armada Ireland by Micheál Ó Domhnaill of Omedia. While the scenes were filmed in the weeks just before Covid-19 restrictions were brought into place, since then all of the post production elements have been put in place by people working mainly from home and in isolation from other members of the production. Normally the edit process takes place with people working together and sharing the same space, the director, for example, looking over the shoulder of the editor and making tweaks and amendments to the timeline in real time.

While the luxury of co-working was lost to our production team, this didn't stop all of the post production process to continue, and with only very minor delays the film has come in on time. Of course this doesn't mean that things were straightforward. For starters, we had people working on various aspects of the film in different places around the world. So we had an editor working in Dublin, graphic designers in Canada and Barcelona, a director in Enniscorthy, producer in Sligo, and so on.

And while it may have been a more complicated process than usual, this doesn't mean that the quality of the work was diminished in any way. Al the director ensured that everyone was clear on the tasks required and he mapped out, along with his colleague Colin, all of the technical and production aspects to ensure that things moved along swiftly. Micheál, the producer in Sligo, was kept in the loop on progress, and this enabled him to work on script changes and any other aspects of the film that needed work. And finally, our lead actor Fernando, who lives in Cavan, was sent a voice recorder which enabled him to record a guide track of the script for the editor Mark to work to. And finally, when all of the components were in place, the recording of the voiceover was done with a minimal amount of crew involvement.

The results of this new work environment are now to be seen with the impending delivery of the final tx film of 'Armada 1588 : Shipwreck & Survival' which will be available in both English and Spanish in the coming weeks. For those interested in quirky tales of Irish and Spanish history, we probably don't need to sell the idea of downloading the film to you, but for anyone interested in a swashbuckling tale of adventure and tragedy, escape and redemption, based on the words of the central character written more than 400 years ago, this is likely to be a worthwhile watch too.

'Armada 1588 : Shipwreck & Survival', available as a digital download from

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