THE story of Cork's Over 60's Talent Competition is set to hit the silver screen, with a documentary film on the popular contest currently in the works.
Writer and producer John Delaney is leading the project, provisionally titled “Life Begins at 60”, and says that he hopes the film will bring the contest, and the work of organiser Paddy O'Brien, to a wider audience.
Dublin-based Delaney stumbled upon the Over 60's by “happy circumstance” while he and his wife were in Cork visiting her family last year.
“My wife was going to the local heat in Redmond's GAA club with her mother and aunt and I said I'd go along.
“I didn't know what to expect really but I could see how excited everyone was and within five minutes I was fascinated.
“As an actor, director and producer I am always on the look out for new material and I immediately thought that this was fantastic.
“I introduced myself to Paddy and wasted no time in telling him that I could see there was a documentary in this. It's a story worth telling.” The crew filmed last year's semi-final and final and have been attending to some of this season's heats to gather more material. In the film, Mr Delaney hopes to convey the energy and optimism of the competition, and the impact that it has on people's lives across Cork.
“As we go along we have been gathering nice stories from contestants and it has become apparent for many of them the importance of the competition in their lives," he says.
“For some, it is a social highlight of the year and gives participants something to look forward to.
“There are some who admit that they aren't singers, but they come back year after year because they enjoy taking part.
“Others may have never been involved in music when they were younger but feel like now is as good a time as any to begin. “ The crew have also visited Marymount Hospice, where Mr Delaney says he was touched by the joy on the patients faces when they were visited by past winners.
“That was a very moving day. There is a great sense of community and nostalgia as they are recalling the music of their youth.” Mr Delaney has been impressed by Paddy O'Brien's commitment to the Over 60's Talent Competition, which is now in its 41st year.
“He runs things with an iron fist but he needs to.
“Without someone like Paddy involved it wouldn't have survived 40 plus years. He has that energy about him.
“Our focus at the moment is to make the film and represent what Paddy does and who he is but also to inspire people around the country to run similar events in their communities."
The film is expected to be released in 2018.