The Bass Player: A Song For Dad

By October 15, 2009Documentary, Featured

This is the short trailer for the the Bass Player, a film that was nominated for the 2009 Independent Film and Television Academy Award in Ireland, played at the Mill Valley, Nashville, and Dublin International Film Festivals and aired on RTE (Irish TV) in August 2009.

“Masterfully Told.” – The Irish Times “Outstanding film.” – Sunday World “Heartwarming.” – The Sun

The Bass Player has been nominated for an Irish Film and Television Academy Award

“The Bass Player: A Song for Dad” was the critics choice in the Irish Times, The Irish Sunday Independent, the Sunday Business Post, and the Sun.

In this eloquent, witty homage to his father, filmmaker Niall McKay wrestles with his family’s unsettling past to overcome his fear of commitment. As Niall helps his elderly father Jim, a jazz bass player, return home to Ireland, father and son revisit Niall’s tumultuous childhood with an abusive, unpredictable mother and a musician father who was often on the road. It’s a parallel journey into Niall’s admiration for his father and his innermost doubts about love, and their conversations take on a confessional quality as they reveal their darkest moments. But the film lyrically (and sometimes limerickly) takes us full circle, capturing joyous moments of healing and celebration. Shot in Switzerland, France, Ireland and the US, geography and the idea of home play prominent roles. Scored with Irish jazz and, particularly, Jim’s bass, the music is much more than a soundtrack, and the film is not unlike the tunes Jim strums as it explores and captures the nuances, tones and oscillations of life and relationships. Striking many poignant chords, the filmmaker’s evolving notions of family and commitment will charm and amuse. — Carrie Lozano

The Irish Times
Download Irish Times Review PDF
Film Ireland Review

McKay’s “tender, deeply personal film … illuminated the summertime schedule…”

The Sunday Independent
“Niall McKay has made an absorbing, charming and deeply moving documentary.”

Film Ireland Magazine
Tue Steen Müller

In this gem, director Niall Mckay gently takes us into the world of his family, creating a deeply human portrait of his father…” Indianapolis Business Journal

“Not many films of any kind achieve insights of such clarity told by someone so appealing…” String Theory

RTE Radio One: The Tubridy Show
An extraordinary journey of emotion” – Dave Fanning RTE Radio One (REAL Audio REQUIRED)

The Bass Player

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Viewer Reviews
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Film Festivals
The Mill Valley Film Festival
The Dublin Film Festival
The Dingle Film Festival
Jornada Culturales con Irlanda, La Habana, Cuba
The Bass Player opened the Jornada Culturalas con Irlanda in Cuba on March 6th. Jim McKay and Niall McKay will be there in person to open the film.
Irish Times: The Greening of Havana

The Nashville Film Festival

The Boston Irish Film Festival

The Seattle Irish Reels Film Festival

Cultural Român

The Nashville Film Festival

The Boston Irish Film Festival

The Seattle Irish Reels Film Festival

Cultural Român

National Broadcast on RTE Television (Ireland’s PBS) under the title “A Song for Dad”

Press Photos


Irish Film Board
2007 Arts fellowship from the Irish Arts Council
This film has been commissioned by RTE – Ireland’s National Broadcaster – under the title “A Song for Dad”