Belfast Telegraph

Movie maestro Terry George takes Oscars for a beach stroll

By Anna Maguire

There's no place quite like home. Last week Terry George was in Hollywood enjoying Oscar success and the worldwide attention and acclaim that goes with it.

But yesterday Terry and daughter Oorlagh took a quiet stroll along the beach he grew up on — Oscars in hand.

“When you grow up in a place, sometimes you have to get away to appreciate it,” he said at his Coney Island home.

Terry fulfilled a lifetime dream when he shot short film The Shore in Killough. As a child, the coastal village was light-heartedly dubbed ‘George town’ as his extended family arrived en masse from Belfast for the summers.

“I couldn’t count how many of us came to stay here in the summers. Forty, 50 kids,” he said. “I was always aware — if a kid is ever aware — of its beauty.

“It was the joy of it — seeing the fish and jumping off the pier and picking mussels on the shore. My love of fishing came from here. I’m fanatical (about fishing) now.”

The Shore is the story of a man who emigrated to America 25 years ago to escape the Troubles who returns with his daughter — but harbouring a dark secret.

Terry said: “To come back and get the chance to showcase the beauty of the place, and the humour, that was important.

“The camera man — Michael McDonagh from Glasgow — is extremely talented. The look and the feel and the ruggedness of this place — that you would find both in Northern Ireland and Scotland — he got that right away.”

George returned to his home town this week, and in Killough people are still celebrating his Oscar win.

Thomas Duffy from Killough’s grocery store said: “The way people are, with so few jobs about, this lifted everyone’s spirits.” The comment brought a slow smile to Terry’s face.

“I’m glad it did that,” he said, nodding reflectively. It would be great to see work here. It’s never been an area with a lot of employment. That needs addressed.”

He was tight-lipped about potential offers on the back of his Academy Awards win, preferring to return to the subject of his native Killough.

“I hope in the long-term it encourages people to come here.”

But new faces are already frequenting The Anchor Bar — where a scene was shot in the film.

This week men lined the bar passing a quiet afternoon watching The Shore for the fifth time.

“That’s the best part of the film,” the local gravedigger said without a hint of irony as he watched the scene shot at Killough’s graveyard.

Terry’s daughter Oorlagh, who produced the film, said it was a family project.

“The scene at the graveyard was important. My dad’s mum died the year before last, so my grandad and grandma are buried there,” she said.

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