Old Tonbridgian and documentary maker, Jonny Madderson's (PH 93-98) witty and endearing portrait of unlikely Olympic champions, Gary and Paul O'Donovan has been nominated for the Grierson British Documentary award.
The O'Donovan brothers became a global phenomenon during Rio 2016 when they won Ireland's first ever rowing medal. Madderson’s documentary is an uplifting and comedic underdog story of how the boys and the community of Skibereen took on the elite sport of rowing.
Madderson said: “Right now we live in uncertain times, and so this story of community spirit and togetherness seemed almost nostalgic, from another age… which is absurd! So, it felt like an essential film to be making now – because right there in tiny Skibbereen you can see the extraordinary, glorious things that can happen when people work together and care for each other.
With the natural charisma and sense of humour of the boys, and a rich cast of characters who live in the village, we had the ingredients for something special. We set out to make an uplifting comedy that was full of heart and might even make you cry.”
The documentary is part of Madderson and co-director Jono Stevens’ ‘The Way Of The Wildcard’ series of short films. The series tells the story of unexpected athletes succeeding in the most unlikely circumstances, from John McAvoy, the ex-armed robber turned world-record holding triathlete, pro mountain biker, Casey Brown, a.k.a. ‘the barefoot biker.’ The Wildcard series hopes to empower young by showing that sporting success can come from all backgrounds.