Phil succeeds on small screen

A LURGAN newspaper journalist is switching media this week with the broadcast of a short film he has made on Befast's baseballing history.

Fastball, a short film about Belfast’s baseballing history will be shown on UTV tonight (Thursday) at 11.45pm. Fastball was directed and produced by Phil Crossey from Lurgan and Simon Doyle from South Belfast.

Fastball is the work of two print journalists taking tentative steps into the world of television. Director Phil Crossey is the arts and entertainment correspondent for the News Letter while producer Simon Doyle is the education correspondent for the Irish News.

Of course, Phil is no stranger to the Lurgan Mail with several stints of work experience with us early in his career.

Combining footage of the two Belfast teams in action - the North Stars and the Wolves - Fastball delves into the city's baseballing past. A player called Henry "Irish" McIlveen was the first, and only, player from Northern Ireland to play professionally in the USA. That was more than 100 years ago, and today's players admit they have quite a way to go to reach a professional standard. But the mixture of ex-pat Americans and home-grown players meet to practice and play each week for little more than the love of the game.

Home is a factual television production training and development scheme run by the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and UTV.

Simon said: "We've been baseball fans for ages, both watching and playing - the latter with varying degrees of success. The Home scheme was the perfect opportunity to make a film about the sport in Northern Ireland."

Michael Wilson, Head of Television at UTV, said; “Many people are interested in getting into TV but don’t necessarily know how to go about it. The Home scheme is a great start, giving new talent the perfect platform to showcase their abilities.”

Robert Lamrock, Senior Programme Director at UTV said; “The Home production training scheme has been running for six years in partnership with the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission. During this time the scheme has provided an excellent opportunity for people to learn the skills of factual television production and at the same time provide UTV viewers with interesting programmes. The latest batch of films is no exception; everything from a ghost story in Ballygally to graffiti artists in Belfast.”

Phil Crossey said that telling that story on film wasn't as easy as you'd think;

"It's a hell of a lot more difficult than writing, and it's much more of a team effort that we're used to as print journalists. Fastball was a fun yet challenging film to make and I hope it gives not only a flavour of the game but also an insight into the people who play it here."