Enigmatic and complex, Joe Heaney was one of the greats of traditional Irish singing (sean nós). Shaped by the myths, fables, and songs of his upbringing in the west of Ireland, his emergence as a gifted artist came at a personal cost. Featuring performances from Colm Seoighe, Macdara Ó Fátharta, Jaren Cerf, Lisa O'Neill, Damien Dempsey, and sean nós singers Mícheál Ó Chonfhaola and Pól Ó Ceannabháin, and beautiful black and white cinematography, SONG OF GRANITE is a distinct portrait of Heaney’s life and a marvelous exploration of music and song.
Colm Seoighe - Young Joe Heaney
Colm became an internet sensation in Ireland at just age four, performing traditional Irish songs. He has since had numerous appearances on national television competing in various traditional Irish singing and dancing events. SONG OF GRANITE is Colm’s acting debut, since completing production Colm’s acting career has taken off and he has just wrapped on Lance Daly’s much anticipated film BLACK 47.
Mícheál Ó Chonfhaola - Joe Heaney, 40s
Considered a local hero in his home place of Connemara, Mícheál has become one of Ireland’s highly regarded traditional Sean Nós Singers. In 2013 Mícheál won the Corn Uí Riada, Ireland’s biggest Sean nós singing competition. SONG OF GRANITE is Micheál’s acting debut.
Macdara Ó Fátharta - Joe Heaney, 60s
Macdara Ó Fátharta has been a regular member of the cast of popular Irish Drama Ros na Run since its first season in 1996. Prior to that he had spent two years with an acting school with the Abbey Theatre and subsequently twenty years with the Abbey from 1972-1996, while there he acted in plays by John B. Keane, Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Shakespeare, and Chekov. He has over ten television productions to his credit, and parts in films such as FAR AND AWAY, THE BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP, and the first ever Irish language feature film POITÍN.
Jaren Cerf - Rosie
Jaren Cerf is a recording artist and songwriter most recognized for her work in the trance music with artists like Armin van Buuren, Dash Berlin, and Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren. SONG OF GRANITE was not Jaren’s first screen appearance, having starred in Shaun Ryan Savard’s MUSTANG SALLY: THE FIRE MENACE (2014) and in 2015 Jaren portrayed Joni Mitchell and Celine Dion in Annerin's production of OH CANADA, WHAT A FEELING. As well as music and acting, Jaren also writes books and screenplays.
Jan Bijvoet - Theo
Jan Bijvoet was born in Antwerp in 1966. He has been one of the artistic directors and actors of the Antarctica Theater since 2005. He has also performed in film and television, guest-starring in a number of series. He has starred in the films AD FUNDUM, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (Academy® Award nominee), and BORGMAN (Official Selection – Competition, Cannes 2013). In 2007, he was nominated for the Flemish Culture Award of Scenic Arts. Referring to the German explorer who was the inspiration for his character, he reflects that even though Grünberg tried to integrate with the native people, he could not let go of his white spirit. “He had the western way of thinking, and he wanted to carry hundreds of things to study. Love is possession, too. He is also afraid of death. He doesn’t understand why, but it’s because deep down, he is a materialist since his formation, even though he tries to drift away from it.”
Brionne Davis - Evan
Brionne Davis was born in Texas and started acting at a very early age, playing Tom Sawyer. He has starred and taken leading roles in more than 30 independent feature length and short films and television series, including REST STOP: DON’T LOOK BACK (2008), DOROTHY AND THE WITCHES OF OZ (2012), Pandemic (2007), NARCISSIST (2014), SAVAGED (2013), and HOLIDAYS WITH HEATHER (2006). In New York, Brionne starred in the Theatre Row adaptation of Sam Shepard’s “True West.” He has appeared in many theater productions all across the country, including “Wallenburg” at the Soho Playhouse, “A Noble Exile” in Los Angeles and “Nueva York,” a one-man show that he wrote ￼ and produced, inspired by the writings of Tennessee Williams. Davis’ character “Evan” in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT was inspired by the great botanist and explorer Richard Evans Schultes, and he feels close to him in his love of and search for plants and nature.
Antonio Bolívar Savador - Old Karamakate
Antonio Bolívar Salvador is one of the last survivors of the Ocaina people. He resides near Leticia and has had some previous experiences in filmmaking, but he prefers not to speak about them because he feels that they were disrespectful to his culture. Besides playing one of the main characters, he also served as interpreter for the Tikuna, Cubeo, Huitoto languages and even English, as he became the teacher of the international actors. He represents the best of the Amazonian people: willing to trust foreigners, to transmit their knowledge and thankful to be treated respectfully. That’s the most important aspect of the film to him: “It is a film that shows the Amazon, the lungs of the world, the greater purifying filter and the most valuable of indigenous cultures. That is its greatest achievement.”
Nilbio Torres - Young Karamakate
Nilbio Torres has never set foot in a gym; his amazing physique has been sculpted by the hardships of the jungle and the hard work he’s done since he was little. The 30- year-old has only worked in agriculture and this is his first experience with the cinema. He has a hard time expressing himself in Spanish, as he speaks mostly Cubeo. But he manages to find words to tell what this experience has meant to him. He feels the film is faithful to the story of his ancestors. “What Ciro is doing with this film is an homage to the memory of our elders, in the time before: the way the white men treated the natives, the rubber exploitation. I’ve asked the elders how it was and it is as seen in the film, that’s why we decided to support it. For the elders and myself it is a memory of the ancestors and their knowledge.”
Yauenkü Miguee - Manduca
Yauenkü Miguee was born and raised in Nazareth, a Tikuna community of the Amazon, 26 years ago. He is now a student of physical education in Bogotá and is about to achieve his greatest goal: to become a professional. He defines his participation in the film as a new experience in his life, this time from the field of art and corporal expression, which reinforced his thinking and showed him how to see life from different perspectives. He believes this film should be shared not only with the people of the locations, but all across the country, with all the indigenous peoples in Leticia and the Amazon, with the leaders, in schools and universities. He is the voice of many Manducas, a voice that, far away from the so-called civilization, cries out for a more civilized attitude towards Colombia’s indigenous communities.
Pat Collins - Director
Pat Collins has been making films since 1998 and has directed over 30 films – feature films, documentaries and short experimental works. He has made documentaries on the writers Michael Hartnett, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and John McGahern, and he co-directed a documentary on Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.
In 2012, he completed the feature film SILENCE, which had its international premiere at the London Film Festival and was distributed by Element Films in Ireland and New Wave Films. SONG OF GRANITE is his second drama feature film.
Sharon Whooley - Co-Writer
SONG OF GRANITE is Sharon Whooley’s second film with Pat Collins and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrí de as they collaborated in 2012 on the feature film SILENCE. She has been co-director of Harvest Films since 2001 and she has also directed several short experimental films, which have screened in Ireland and internationally.
Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde - Co-Writer
Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde is an Irish language writer from Donegal. He mainly writes short fiction and screenplays. In 2013 he starred in the award winning SILENCE, which he co-wrote with the director Pat Collins and with Sharon Whooley. Eoghan is currently working on his third collection of short stories.
Richard Kendrick - Cinematographer
Richard has over twenty years’ experience in film and television. And has photographed fifteen IFTA nominated documentaries, eight winners and has been nominated twice in the cinematography category for “Two for the Road” and “In Good Hands.” In recent years, he has have been focusing on Drama & Commercials. In 2016, he directed the photography of three feature films including SONG OF GRANITE, as well as THE LODGERS (Brian O’Malley, Tailored Films) and THE DELINQUENT SEASON (Mark O’Rowe, Parallel Films - starring Cillian Murphy). Currently he is shooting a BBC/RTE Drama for Deadpan Films.