New film will focus on research into removed blood clots that can lead to a stroke which is currently underway at NUI Galway and the first study of its kind in the world

Wednesday, 4 July, 2018: CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre are delighted to announce A Tiny Spark as the recipient of the 2018 Science on Screen scheme.

The selected film, A Tiny Spark, to be directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, will examine the effect of stroke on people’s lives and will specifically look at research into clots.

This year’s Science on Screen applicants were invited to submit ideas for a documentary that engages with research into cardiovascular illnesses and stroke, currently underway at CÚRAM. A Tiny Spark will focus on research, being led by Dr Karen Doyle from the Discipline of Physiology at NUI Galway, which involves analysis of removed blood clots to see what information they may yield. This is the first study of its kind in the world and is an international collaborative study between NUI Galway, hospital partners in Beaumont Hospital and throughout Europe and the Mayo Clinic in the US.

Contributors to the documentary will include individuals who have had a stroke, as well as the scientists and clinicians who work in the stroke area in Galway and Dublin. Filming will take place in Dublin, Limerick and Galway throughout July 2018.

The Swansong Films team has an adventurous plan to 3-D animate the brain highlighting the functions that the various parts serve such as the Amygdala, which is the emotional part of the brain and is responsible for affection. They will also use this method to highlight the journey of blood clots and their potential for destruction.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said “This year’s film will focus on stroke and clot research which is yet another area which will have a significant impact on audiences all over the country. 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.”

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.”

The Science on Screen scheme has been running since 2016 and has awarded €35,000 each to three documentaries on topics such as Parkinson’s disease (Feats of Modest Valour), tendon injury (Mending Legends) and diabetes (Bittersweet: The Rise of Diabetes). The films have reached audiences of over 0.5 million and have received accolades at festivals internationally.

The 2017 Science on Screen film, Bittersweet: the Rise of Diabetes, directed by Hugh Rodgers and produced by Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic of Invisible Thread films will be screened at the Galway Film Fleadh on Wednesday, 11 July at 11am in the Town Hall Theatre.  

A Tiny Spark will premiere in Galway in November 2018.