Mrs. M.T. Pender
Mrs. M. T. Pender was a prolific Ulster fiction writer and outspoken nationalist whose serialized novel, O’Neill of the Glen (1891), was the source for the Film Company of Ireland’s (FCOI) first indigenous Irish feature, O’Neil of the Glen (1916). The FCOI was incorporated in March 1916 with the goal of producing Irish films with Irish themes and an all-Irish cast and crew, according to “Irish Film Production” (1916, 6). The Irish Limelight reports in “What the Irish Film Co. is Doing,” however, that never-released work was destroyed in the Dame Street office fires during the Easter Rising in April: “… the first three months work was wiped out in a week” (1917, 3). The FCOI immediately resumed production and O’Neil of the Glen was released to censors and the press in June, exhibitors in July, and the public in August. It is widely regarded, then, as the company’s first production. Founded and managed by Jim Sullivan and Ellen O’Mara Sullivan, the FCOI went on to produce highly nationalist films until 1920 when O’Mara Sullivan died. Pender’s writing, which promoted Irish culture and advocated a free and united Ireland, appealed to the company’s nationalist leanings.
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