Science on the big screen, CÚRAM commissions documentary about stroke research

Galway Daily Arts & culture submissions open for 25th Junior Film Fleadh

‘A Tiny Spark’, a documentary about the impact of strokes on victims lives and cutting edge research into them has been chosen for CÚRAM’s 2018 Science on Screen scheme.

The documentary will focus on research being done by Dr. Karen Doyle from NUI Galway’s a school of Physiology into blood clots in the brain which can cause a stroke.

‘A Tiny Spark’ will be directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, an independent Irish production company founded in 2005.

As well as just looking at research underway at CÚRAM, Heery and Kealy reached out to people who have suffered through a stroke, to tell their stories about the effect that can have on someone’s life even when you survive.

Galway Film Centre Manager, Alan Duggan, said: “The Science on Screen commission scheme shows the real human side of the application of science.”

“We are delighted to continue working with CÚRAM on this scheme and we will be supporting Niamh, Caroline and the filmmaking team in bringing ‘A Tiny Spark’ to the screen this year.”

Filming for ‘A Tiny Spark’ will take place in Galway throughout July, with shooting also happening in Dublin and Limerick. The documentary will premiere in Galway this November.

Dr. Doyle’s research involves studying blood clots removed from the brains of people who have suffered a stroke to see if there is anything we can learn from them.

This is the first ever study of its kind any involves collaboration with Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, the Mayo Clinic in the United States, and researchers throughout Europe.

CÚRAM, a medical devices research centre based out of NUIG, has run the Science on Screen scheme since 2016 to fund documentaries that can bring information about complex medical issues and research to a wider audience.

Since then, Science on Screen has backed three movies, on topics such as Parkinson’s disease (Feats of Modest Valour), tendon injury (Mending Legends) and diabetes (Bittersweet: The Rise of Diabetes).

Applicants for Science on Screen this year were asked to submit a proposal for a documentary that engages with research currently being done at CÚRAM, either into cardiovascular disease or strokes.

The team from Swansong Films plan to 3-D animate the human brain for the documentary, highlighting the function of different sections, and the destructive impact a clot can have on it.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM said it’s important for people to see the impact chronic conditions can have on people’s lives.

“These stories, narrated through our Science on Screen documentaries, show the real challenges that people face when living with chronic illness but also how we are trying to address them here at CÚRAM, to improve quality of life for all.”

Last year’s film ‘Bittersweet: The Rise of Diabetes’ by director Hugh Rogers and Invisible Thread Films will be screened next Wednesday, July 11 at the Town Hall Theatre at 11am for the Galway Film Fleadh.