Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Makem and Spain Brothers concert film to screen at 8th annual New Hampshire Film Festival

[Received this press release from Michael Gillis at Roundtable Pictures in Portsmouth.]

PORTSMOUTH — Roundtable Pictures is proud to announce its concert film, "Home Away from Home: The Makem and Spain Brothers Live from the Mother Lode Theatre in Butte, Montana" is an official selection of the 8th annual New Hampshire Film Festival.

"Home Away from Home" showcases a rousing Makem and Spain Brothers concert filmed in Butte, Montana and chronicles in interviews and other footage the brothers' devotion to their tradition. The three Makem brothers, Conor, Shane and Rory, have strong New Hampshire roots: They are the sons of legendary Irish folk musician Tommy Makem, who lived in Dover for much of his life. Shane and Conor still live in Dover and the Spain brothers live in Manchester .

Although it's tough to make a living carrying on a song tradition hundreds of years old, the Makem and Spain Brothers still do so before rapt audiences across the globe. The brothers’ songs tell the stories of Irish history, of the working people, of a land whose people have built much of the world and captured all of it in verse. The brothers tap centuries old narratives and craft poignant originals to tell those stories during a time when the tradition is vanishing or being repackaged as disposable entertainment. "Home Away from Home" captures the The Makem and Spain Brothers at their best: on stage before a live audience.

The film was directed by Mike Gillis of Rollinsford. Gillis said the brothers’ story has intrigued him for years.

"I've watched with some displeasure this tendency in modern music to fuse genres and package it as high entertainment," Gillis said. "Very few artists are willing to carry on musical traditions because their audiences are vanishing. I admire that the Makem and Spain brothers are devoted to their craft yet are still able to entertain audiences with songs old and new. They put on a great show."

Gillis and Director of Photography Jonathon Millman of Dover flew with the band from New Hampshire — where four of the brothers live — to Montana in October 2007 to film the concert at the historic Mother Lode Theatre in Butte , Montana . In addition to the concert footage, which was shot in high definition and makes up most of the film, "Home Away from Home" also includes interviews and traditional Irish session footage shot in Montana and New Hampshire.

"We were hoping to give people a chance to bring our live show home,” said Conor Makem. “And with the beautiful camera shots, behind the scenes footage and the session, I think we did that and a lot more. There really has never been a good representation of our live show until now. Even a live CD can only give you so much."

The film was edited by Scott Kraushaar and David Steffen, both of Manchester .

The project was funded by the An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival, the Montana Gaelic Cultural Society, Red Biddy Records and Roundtable Pictures.

"Home Away from Home" will screen at Muddy River Smokehouse on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 9:05 p.m.

Roundtable Pictures, based in Rollinsford, was founded by filmmakers Gillis and Lars Trodson in 2007. Roundtable Pictures' short film "Elevation" will also screen at this year's New Hampshire Film Festival. Gillis and Trodson's film "The Listeners" won Best Short Drama at the New Hampshire Film Festival in 2005. The company's musical comedy, "A Bootful of Fish" screened at the festival in 2006.

The NHFF is begins Oct. 16 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. A complete schedule of dates and times for the 2008 N.H. Film Festival can be found at For more information on "Home Away from Home" visit or