Chris’s Foyle Hospice return is more a revisit than a remake

Chris Orr
Chris Orr

Derry filmmaker Chris Orr is out to celebrate 25 years of the Foyle Hospice with a new hour-long television programme.

The former UTV news cameraman has a long association with the Hospice, having first trained his cameras on it for a documentary about the work there in 1998.

Now he’s returning with the cameras to tell the entire history of the Hospice from the very beginning.

“I got to know Tom and Ciaran McGinley through making the first documentary and I was aware first hand of the work of the Hospice because of a friend of mine who had died there at quite a young age,” explains Chris.

“I witnessed first hand how her quality of life was drastically improved for her last months by going there. She would not have had that kind of pain relief and care had she been at home.

“That was the original reason behind making the first film and now I want to go back and feel the whole story of the Hospice right from the word go.”

Chris worked as a television news cameraman for UTV for 30 years, covering the worst of the troubles in Derry.

At the same time he has worked as an independent film producer and director. As a producer he was behind the film ‘The Battle of the Atlantic’, the story of Derry during the Second World War.

His second visit to the Hospice is a more personal venture because of his own experiences and his friendship with Tom and Ciaran McGinley.

As well as documenting the history of the Hospice, he intends the venture to help raise funds.

And rather than relying on a couple of majors backers, he hopes to raise the £10,000 required to make the film, by securing small amounts from a larger number of people.

“A businessman I know suggested that instead of asking for thousands of pounds from companies, I should look to find a lot of people who could contribute smaller amounts. Maybe find 100 people to give £100 each or 200 people to give £50,” Chris explains.

“The idea is that people would be willing to help out dealing in smaller amounts like hundreds of pounds.

“ The plan is to make 1000 copies of the DVD which they can sell and I am hoping that the Foyle Hospice can keep all the money from the sale of those and that none of it goes towards the cost of production.

“We are only looking to get the production costs of the film covered and it is a non-profit venture in that respect.

“I know technicians who have agreed to work for a much reduced rate to keep the costs down.

“In television terms a one-hour documentary would be £20,000 or £30,000 to make, so we’ll be doing everything we can to keep costs down to a minimum.

“It takes about four months from start to finish to make a documentary like this one, so time is getting on.

“But it is a very exciting project to be starting on and hopefully one that will also raise a lot of money for the Hospice as well.”

The McGinleys are planning a range of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hospice in June this year.

And Ciaran McGinley says he is delighted that Chris has chosen to revisit the Hospice as part of that celebration.

“Having the film made to coincide with the anniversary is excellent news.

“We are delighted he has chosen the Hospice and anything to help raise money is always gratefully received.”

A special film fund has been set up to accept donations towards the making of the film.

Anyone interested can call 02871 359 888 or Chris can be contacted on 0754 239899.