How did Ballyvaughan Story come about? What was your interest in this period of history and how did you settle on using charcoal for its creation?
Well, the film came about as a result of direct contact with the real village of Ballyvaughan, Ireland. While I was studying animation as an undergraduate, I decided to take a semester off to study abroad and work on my own film. I don’t know what drew me to Ireland, but it seemed like the best possible place to go for inspiration. Ballyvaughan is located in a part of Western Ireland that’s dubbed “The Burren.” The landscape is incredible and almost otherworldly in nature.
I began studying at the Burren College of Art and met a local man named Jim Hyland, who was a bit like the town historian. He had this deep and vast pool of knowledge about the history of the village and I became interested in his stories immediately. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sitting down for an interview and he agreed. He spoke for almost two hours, but one of the tales that really jumped out at me was a story about his mother and her involvement in the Troubles in 1921. It was then I knew I had my story for the animation. The original recording of Jim’s voice was used as narration for the piece to preserve the feeling of traditional oral storytelling.