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Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland 181

Posted by timothy
from the but-midichlorians-are-totally-safe dept.
First time accepted submitter wijnands (874114) writes Star Wars crews have started filming on the small Irish Island of Skellig Michael. This island, listed as a Unesco world heritage site, features the remains of a 6th century monastery as well as breeding populations of puffins, manx shearwaters, storm petrels, guillemots and kittiwakes. Currently the Irish navy has deployed one vessel to maintain a two-mile exclusion zone around the island. Unesco is now concerned about what is going on the island, which is only visited 13 times a year by tourist groups, and has asked the Irish government for an explanation.
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Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

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  • "... puffins, manx shearwaters, storm petrels, guillemots and kittiwakes" are NOT from a Harry Potter novel but real world animals. I am going to have a lot of fun looking them up.
    • by just_another_sean (919159) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:18AM (#47574141) Homepage Journal

      Seems to me that they have a nice cache of Star Wars alien/animal names all provided free of charge by the nice folks in Ireland...

      A herd of guillemots sure sounds scarier to me than a herd of nerfs. And I'm sure it's a total pain when your inside an asteroid and a bunch of filthy kittiwakes start chewing on your power system. And of course storm troopers riding around on storm petrels is too obvious to pass up!

      • by itsdapead (734413) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:28AM (#47574617)

        Many puffins died to bring us this information...

    • What you should have learnt is that Starwars is now part of Disney, and Disney does whatever the hell Disney wants. They have already clearly stated that Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution does not apply to them, they clearly are not going to be inconvenienced by a Unesco world heritage site and the laws of a land of potato eaters.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by oldmac31310 (1845668)
        I take umbrage at you slur on my people, douchebag.
        • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @02:53PM (#47576145)
          I'm not clear on who your people are. Are they the ones who boil food until it is completely bland and tasteless, or are they the ones who buy politicians every time one comes up on the market? I hope that you do understand that the reference to not being bound by the laws of a land of potato eaters was intended to reflect the view taken by the corporation that feels it can do anything it wants.
          • Really? Calling Irish people 'potato eaters' is not an insult? Again, you are a douchebag.
            • OK, you win. I'll admit that saying someone may eat a potato is a very derogatory thing. Just thinking of all the negative connotations that the concept of eating an over boiled spud brings to mind turns my stomach about any any false connotations people might have about a population of people on a certain Western European island. You are completely correct that any reference to a well know behavior pattern for such a group of people could in some way be derogatory. Lets just be thankful that this has now
      • Wouldn't it be more accurate to define the Irish of a land of people who aspire to eat potatoes, sometimes unsuccessfully?

  • Good... (Score:5, Funny)

    by chinton (151403) <chinton001-slashdot@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:16AM (#47574121) Journal
    Keep an eye on them so they don't do something stupid... Like Jar Jar. Or Hayden Christensen.
    • by halivar (535827)

      The sad thing is that Hayden Christensen was actually an upgrade. :/

      • by NotDrWho (3543773)

        So true. As much as people rag on Christensen, it sure beat the shit out of casting an 8-year-old in the role. The second film in that trilogy was no masterpiece compared to the originals, but it was compared to the abomination that was The Phantom Menace.

        • by wiggles (30088)

          People bag on Christensen without remembering how terrible Mark Hamill was.

          We used to play a Star Wars drinking game in college - one of the items was to take a shot every time Luke whines.

          • Re:Good... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:51AM (#47574791)
            When I re-watched Star Wars for the first time as an adult, I was shocked at how whiney Luke was. As a child I didn't notice how unlikable the character is.
            • Yeah cuz the part where Christensen says "I hate you" wasn't whiny or pure crap.
            • Dissatisfaction with the world and the choices it hands to you can often be interpreted as whiney.

              I saw Anakin in II and III as whiney and Luke as an individual.
            • Powwwer converrrters!

            • by pscottdv (676889)

              I have a t-shirt that says "Skywalker, when you want your heroes with a little whine."

              • by NotDrWho (3543773)

                I think he was meant to be a little unlikeable in the first two movies (certainly in the Dagobah scenes in Empire, without a doubt). He's the hot-headed kid with a lot of enthusiasm and idealism, but with little experience or sense. Han Solo is meant to be his literary foil, the cynical scoundrel with no idealism or enthusiasm, but a lot of experience and sense. Both are meant to have both unlikeable qualities, and admirable ones.

          • Wait Mark Hamill was worse than Christensen? How much dope were you smoking.
      • by chinton (151403)
        I will say, in Christensen's defense, by the end of the prequel trilogy he had mastered the chin-down-eyes-up menacing glower.
    • Re:Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by creimer (824291) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:11AM (#47574455) Homepage
      It's the perfect place to bury Jar Jar and Hayden Christensen in a peat bog.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:22AM (#47574157)

    There are 13 tour companies one can take to visit the island. The tours run each day during the summer but only once per day. So there are 13 boats of visitors per day for 5 months out of the year, not 13 visits per year total.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)
      Get out of here with your opinions.
    • by Muros (1167213) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @03:04PM (#47576275)

      There are 13 tour companies one can take to visit the island. The tours run each day during the summer but only once per day. So there are 13 boats of visitors per day for 5 months out of the year, not 13 visits per year total.

      In a really good year here, we get about 10 days of summer.

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:24AM (#47574177)

    "We can't tell what the filming of Star Wars on the site will do to the wildlife."

    I can see a whole lot of lawsuits from all of the puffins, manx shearwaters, storm petrels, guillemots, and kittiwakes who don't want to appear in a modern Star Wars film. Can't say I blame them, not after Episodes 1 through 3.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @12:10PM (#47574895)

      "We can't tell what the filming of Star Wars on the site will do to the wildlife."

      I'm pretty sure I can tell you. Not a fucking thing. Nature is not so fragile that a film crew will destroy an ecosystem just by walking around and filming a few scenes. They're under restrictions on what they can do (i.e. they're not going to be blowing up the island), and they've got an ecologist on the set at all times. This is all about a local jackass getting his nose in a snit.

      Stephen Newton, a seabirds expert with Birdwatch Ireland, said he could not get onto the island to check the important colony.

      Mr Newton said he was asked by the film producers only days before shooting was to begin if he would help them with an impact assessment to secure permits for filming.

      He refused, arguing it would take several weeks to assess, as many of the species breed underground or in rocky crevices where it would be difficult to see what damage is being done.

      Are you kidding me? Several weeks for an impact assessment? Does that strike anyone else as a bit over the top?

      Likely translation: He tried to shake the movie company down for a few weeks worth of work rather than a day or two, and they told him to piss off, then contacted someone more reasonably inclined. They obviously got the permits, meaning that someone was able to do the work in just a few days. And why the hell should he be allowed on the island after what he tried to pull? The fact that he's blabbing to the press and causing trouble for them now shows they were probably right to snub him.

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Thursday July 31, 2014 @01:10PM (#47575357) Homepage Journal

        Film crews can be pretty destructive.

        This is about people wanting what is happening on the island to be transparent, like it should be.

        "Are you kidding me?"

        No.
        " Several weeks for an impact assessment?"
        Yes.
        " Does that strike anyone else as a bit over the top?"
        Not really. OTOH, I know what is involved in an impact assessment, where you clearly do not.
        I will note that I've never been to this island. So maybe there is some geological reason you are aware of when you where surveying the island...?

        He is an expert in the species, and wants to be sure their disturbance is a minimal one.

        ob. Star Wars joke:
        Bleep, booop beedadbee blooeeeuuup.

        That really cracked them up in the droid factory.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        No, this is about a jackass deciding to break the law because his films are more important than anything else. The movie company has no right to be on the island and all, they are the foreign invaders. The question is which corrupt politician signed the papers allowing them to break the law?

        • by Muros (1167213)
          From what I read, the main driver for the filming happening during the birds' breeding season was filming being re-scheduled around Harrison Ford's broken leg. It was originally supposed to happen later in the year. I don't think there were any excessively greased palms, more a culture of accommodation to corporate demands framed in a seemingly reasonable way. I'm not saying I agree with it, but the best laid plans are subject to change, and politicians and bureaucrats are nearly always going to think with
      • by Muros (1167213) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @03:54PM (#47576717)

        Nature is not so fragile that a film crew will destroy an ecosystem just by walking around and filming a few scenes. They're under restrictions on what they can do (i.e. they're not going to be blowing up the island)

        No point in watching this in the cinema then.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Likely translation: He tried to shake the movie company down for a few weeks worth of work rather than a day or two, and they told him to piss off, then contacted someone more reasonably inclined. They obviously got the permits, meaning that someone was able to do the work in just a few days.

        Or someone pulled the assessment from their ass for quick cash.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:47AM (#47574333)
    They can go about their business. Move along...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:49AM (#47574337)

    Of course they're filming in Ireland, its the worlds largest green screen.

  • They must prevent the return of Jar Jar and his people. Unless he dies by being consumed alive by a horde of ravenous genetically designed piranha puffins.
  • Episode VII (Score:3, Funny)

    by Foundling (1856832) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:09AM (#47574445)
    What I get from this is that Episode VII is basically going to be a documentary about puffins.
    • by Yunzil (181064)

      Well, that's an improvement. Episodes 1, 2 and 3 were documentaries on how not to make a movie.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:25AM (#47574585)
    ~ They ate all the lobster salad and the chocolate chip power bars. Look at the feathers and tracks. It's just I never heard of them hitting anything this big before.

    ~ They didn't. But we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side by side. Puffins always march single file to hide their numbers.

    .
  • On one side, we have UNESCO which is charted by a shadow government with designating and protecting what are considered world cultural sites. On the other we have the dark empire of Disney, another shadow that influences government in terms of Copyright and other legislation that it deems necessary to keep the Mouse protected. Any takers on which side will win this battle? I'm betting on the Mouse.

  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @11:32AM (#47574649)

    The power to destroy a habitat is nothing next to the power of Money.

    One must really wonder what is so special about this location, that they A) feel the need to risk damage to the habitats to film, and B) could not be reproduced in a green screen environment like they do everything else.

    • by dfenstrate (202098) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `etartsnefd'> on Thursday July 31, 2014 @01:04PM (#47575311)

      The power to destroy a habitat is nothing next to the power of Money.

      One must really wonder what is so special about this location, that they A) feel the need to risk damage to the habitats to film, and B) could not be reproduced in a green screen environment like they do everything else.

      Excessive use of green screen likely helped Episodes 1-3 be so terrible- wooden acting being one of the many problems. An actor's performance can only be improved by actually being in the environment their character is supposed to be in.

      • If I had seen this comment 2 months ago I would agree completely. However, I have recently seen this clip www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_VnHAy1Vdc which highlights that if you are just good at your job, you can act without any help from being in the correct setting.

  • Looking at the pictures of Skellig Michael [aside: didn't Michael Skelling used to be an NPR reporter?] it seems very likely that the stacked-stone huts [google.com] will be used in the new films.

    If this is a sign that there's no nexus around Tatooine, this thing might actually have legs!

  • Currently the Irish navy has deployed one vessel to maintain a 2 mile exclusion zone around the island.

    I hope, for all our sakes, that the U.S. military does the same thing around movie theaters after the film is released.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday July 31, 2014 @12:19PM (#47574939) Journal

    If there was really such a major conservationalist issue with them filming there at this time, how did they get the permits to film there in the first place?

    If it was just as a result of miscommunication, then it would seem that the permits should probably be revoked (and fees for them refunded, obviously), unless those making the movie can show that film crew's activities will not introduce things to the environment there which may damage the ecosystem.

    I'm as big a Star Wars fan as anybody else that I know, but it's still just a movie, for chissakes. It's not worth harming wildlife over, even if it's only accidentally.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      how did they get the permits to film there in the first place?

      Money talks.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Perhaps you didn't read the entire sentence that you only quoted the question from. If money can buy permission to destroy an environment, then the environment isn't really that important in the first place.
        • by vux984 (928602)

          If money can buy permission to destroy an environment, then the environment isn't really that important in the first place.

          That doesn't follow, you just shop "environmental impact statement companies" until you find one willing to take your money in exchange for permission.

          That says nothing about the importance of anything, merely that one can usually find someone who is corrupt.

          • by mark-t (151149)
            If the organizations that grant such permission are corrupt enough to accept a fee in exchange for ignoring the environment, then again., as I said, the environment isn't actually that important to them to begin with. Certainly the groups that would be concerned about the environmental impact at that location ought to know whether or not they really have any government backing behind their concerns. If they don't actually know, then there's no reason for them to think that the Irish government would have
            • by vux984 (928602)

              If the organizations that grant such permission are corrupt enough to accept a fee in exchange for ignoring the environment, then again., as I said, the environment isn't actually that important to them to begin with.

              That's like saying the IRS is corrupt if it accepts even a single tax return prepared by a corrupt tax preparing accountant.

              That's not really a fair standard by which to judge the organization.

              Everything else you wrote i agree with though.

              • by mark-t (151149)
                I'm not sure I follow your analogy... if somebody is willing to ignore what might be seen as legitimate environmental concerns in exchange for money, then the organization that is accepting that money is not giving due consideration to the environmental impact that might arise... this would usally be because thee environment wasn't important enough to them in the first place. It may arise simply because they have not adequately assessed the enviromental risks involved, but that still reflects an underlying
                • by vux984 (928602)

                  I'm not sure I follow your analogy

                  I'll clarify. Suppose a city has ordinances requiring certain building codes be followed for new construction.

                  In some cities the city employs all its own inspectors. If just one of those inspectors can be bribed, does that really mean the organization (city) is not serious about the codes being followed? That seems a stretch.

                  In other cities, in addition to city employees, there are 3rd party consulting companies that can perform inspections, prepare reports, and submit them

                  • by mark-t (151149)

                    In some cities the city employs all its own inspectors. If just one of those inspectors can be bribed, does that really mean the organization (city) is not serious about the codes being followed? That seems a stretch.

                    It means that the inspector that can be bribed doesn't place much importance on what they are being bribed to ignore... I was assuming, perhaps erroneously, that any agency which is supposedly acting on behalf of the government in granting filming permits would also act in accordance with the

      • by mark-t (151149)

        Not to sound like a mastercard commercial, but in this world there really are things that absolutely no amount of money can buy.

        The only reason money would ever be able to buy ignoring legitimate environmental concerns is because somebody isn't actually realizing how important the environment (or that aspect of the environment) might be in the first place, or perhaps putting it another way, they have simply not accurately assessed the environmental risks which may be involved.

  • So typical of the BBC to anglicise the name of the island. It is correctly Sceilig Mhichíl. Brit arseholes.
  • The obvious solution? Just make a rule: "No Blasters."

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