Film on Armada captain released
A film on the adventures of a Spanish Armada soldier shipwrecked on the Sligo coast in 1588 could present a huge opportunity for Sligo, post lockdown.
The film, titled Armada 1588:Shipwreck & Survival was released last Friday and is now available for digital download from SpanishArmadaIreland.com.
It tells the story of how on September 21st 1588, three Armada ships were wrecked during storms at Streedagh Beach in Sligo, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Spaniards.
In the resulting chaos, a small number of Spaniards managed to escape, and one of those, Captain Francisco de Cuéllar, wrote a full account both of the shipwrecks and the subsequent months he spent desperately trying to avoid the English army sent to hunt him, before his ultimate escape from Ireland.
“It’s an incredible story,” says Eddie O’Gorman, Chair of Spanish Armada Ireland, the local voluntary group who were behind the idea for the film.
“The written record he left behind is a hugely significant part of the history of the Spanish Armada, and was the basis for the production of this film.”
A Spanish fleet of 26 ships encountered storms resulting in shipwrecks off the northern and western coasts, including the three at Streedagh.
“The film is a mix of live action, computer generated imagery and graphical animations,” says director Al Butler of production company, Mediacoop.
“Producing a maritime film is a major challenge in itself, not to mention that we wanted to make the storm and beach scenes as realistic as possible. So we filmed in real West of Ireland weather, with gales and hail, and everyone, from the actors to the production and technical teams, did an amazing job.”
Lucky to have completed filming before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down everything, including the film industry, Micheál Ó Domhnaill, one of the film’s producers, says the team working on the film doubled their efforts to ensure the film was produced to the highest standards.
“We filmed the live action scenes two weeks before lockdown and then the CGI work was done from people’s homes.”
One of the CGI team has worked on films including, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, giving a sense of the type of quality viewers can expect from the film.
The film stars Spanish actor Fernando Corral in the role of Captain Francisco de Cuéllar. He re-lives the Spanish soldier’s adventures through a constant series of life-threatening situations. Washed ashore in a foreign land, unable to speak the language, his life threatened both by the English and the locals, De Cuéllar manages somehow to make his way cross country to find refuge.
The film was supported by the Town & Village Renewal Scheme of the Department of Rural & Community Development, and by Sligo County Council and cost €100,000 to produce.
“This support enabled us to bring a story, while well known locally, to a much wider audience,” says Ó Domhnaill.
“De Cuéllar’s story has everything you would want in an adventure film.
“The financial support we received, and the enthusiasm shown for the project locally, means that we now have a film which has been produced to the very highest standards.
“The film will help bring this unique story to many more people, and should also put Sligo firmly on the Wild Atlantic Way map for visitors who want to find out more about the county’s links with the Spanish Armada.”
He adds, “I hope when this [Covid-19] is all over the Spanish will come.”
The film, 27 minutes long, is now available for digital download at SpanishArmadaIreland.com at a cost of €4.99. All proceeds from the film will be invested in the development of the Spanish Armada Visitor Centre in Grange.
Spanish actor Fernando Corral in the role of Captain Francisco de Cuéllar during filming at Streedagh last year.