Premiere of Git was Here documentary

Photo courtesy of Lorcan Fox.

By David Prendeville

November 2019 saw the premiere of Lorcan Fox’s documentary Git was Here, a tribute to his friend and Ringsend man, the late Christopher “Git” Byrne, who tragically died of cancer in 2016 at the age of only 31.

Lorcan, who hails from Tritonville Avenue, grew up with Christopher. They both went to Marian College together and were both part of the well-known D4 band Satiyrix. A mural was painted in tribute to ‘Git’ in Poolbeg in 2018 by London-based street artist The Artful Dodger, an event which was covered by the paper at the time

As well as being a celebration of Christopher’s life, the film is also an examination of death and our attitudes toward it. Lorcan interviews various people from undertakers to academics to hospice carers to metaphysical healers, in a bid to get a multitude of diverse perspectives on death.

One of the most striking elements of the film is how it manages to balance giving a sense of who Christopher was, while also remaining uncompromising in the questions it asks about mortality and grief. Lorcan tells me it was a challenge sometimes not to “lose sight of some of the more generic details’’ and that he had to be wary to not let the film might slip into being “hagiographic.”

He felt the key in keeping the film grounded in the broader thematic scope was very much focused on his own voice-over. This illustrates Lorcan’s journey, what he learned about the way we approach death while making the film, and also works as a great bridge between the personal and methodical aspects of the project.

Certainly nobody could accuse the film of losing sight of its goals or pulling its punches. One particularly hard-hitting segment focuses on Karen Docherty who lost two sons to suicide. Lorcan tells me how this was the most challenging seque in the film and the “biggest moment outside of Git’s world.”

Lorcan admits that he was advised against it by some people who he showed it to, however he is glad he stuck to his guns: “I stand by that. I just felt you couldn’t do a film about a young man dying, without exploring the fact that young men are dying to suicide on a regular basis in Ireland.” He also beams at the fact that Karen herself was very happy with how she and the subject were treated.

In the documentary, Karen talks about the difficulty in getting the necessary counselling at the outset of her grief. She has since set up a support group called A New Normal. The adult peer-to-peer group is for family, friends and those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

There was a huge turn-out at the Cast and Crew screening of the film in late November. The film received big laughs and a big outpouring of emotion at the screening. As well as friends and family of Christopher’s attending, there were also many people who had never met him, who were all very positive in their responses.

In terms of what his plans are for the film, Lorcan tells me that he would love to sell the documentary to RTE, while he also plans to submit to various festivals throughout 2020.

The recent screening of Git Was Here was followed by a live podcast with Grief Encounters where its presenters, Sasha and Venetia sat down for a discussion with Lorcan and Christopher’s widow Caroline. Here they discussed the impact of his tragic loss on both of them, and how this wonderful tribute came to life. The podcast can be listened to here: