Oscar-nominated directors Peter Bogdanovich, Jim Sheridan and John Boorman, as well as Oscar-winning editor Joel Cox (Unforgiven, Mystic River), are amongst the influential filmmakers who will gather in Dublin to honour and celebrate the legacy of legendary Irish-American John Ford as part of the inaugural John Ford Ireland Film Symposium over June 7-10.
The four-day focus on film and filmmaking - inspired and informed by Ford’s work – is being hosted by IFTA, the John Ford Estate and the Dept. of Arts and will feature a diverse programme of events designed to entertain, inform and educate delegates and movie fans gathering to celebrate the man who continues to hold the Oscars record in the best director category with four wins.
Highlights of the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium include a public interview and masterclass with ‘The Last Picture Show’ director Bogdanovich; a gala screening of Ford’s silent epic ‘The Iron Horse’ with the RTE Concert Orchestra; and a 60th anniversary screening of ‘The Quiet Man’, with special guests Dan Ford (grandson of John Ford), actress Maureen O’Hara and Oscar-nominated producer Redmond Morris (son of Lord Killanin, Ford's producing partner at Four Provinces), plus a screening of Se Merry Doyle's documentary 'John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man'.
Alongside that screening, a number of public screenings of Ford’s work will also take place, including a free outdoor screening of ‘The Searchers,’ the 1956 classic John Wayne western.
Acclaimed Irish filmmakers will also take part in the Ford Industry Hub, a host of talks and panel discussions in which they will discuss Ford’s influence on their work. Participants include directors Jim Sheridan (Into the West); John Boorman (Deliverance); BAFTA nominee Brian Kirk (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones); Emmy-nominated Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Into the Storm); IFTA-winning screenwriter Pat McCabe (The Butcher Boy); Colin Bateman (Divorcing Jack) and Paul Fraser (Once Upon a Time in the Midlands).
Oscar winning editor Joel Cox (Unforgiven, Mystic River) will also host a masterclass, while a 20th anniversary screening of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winning ‘Unforgiven,’ will also be held with Empire Magazine’s Kim Newman reflecting on Eastwood’s work as the recipient of the inaugural John Ford Award.
Last December, Eastwood accepted the first John Ford Award in California, saying: “This is a great privilege for me because any kind of association with John Ford is most directors’ dream as he was certainly a pioneer of American filmmaking and I grew up on his films. His Westerns had a great influence on me, as I think they had on everybody.”
Eastwood’s son and Golden Globe-nominated composer and musician Kyle Eastwood (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino) will also perform as part of the symposium.
The keynote address and Ford Lecture will be delivered by world-renowned biographer and film historian Joseph McBride (biographer for Ford, Spielberg and Orson Welles amongst others).
Other highlights include Ford panel discussions with leading international film experts including Charles Barr (University of East Anglia), Gaylyn Studlar (Washington University), Kevin Rockett (Trinity), Luke Gibbons (NUI Maynooth) and Waylon White Deer (Choctaw Nation); an exploration of Ford’s relationship with the actors of the Abbey Theatre; and an exhibition of rarely seen Ford papers and correspondence.
Speaking about the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium programme, IFTA chief executive Áine Moriarty called Ford “a great storyteller but moreover he was a master-filmmaker who has influenced so many of cinema’s great filmmakers today.”
She added: “The Academy is proud that this annual Ford Film Symposium will now be held in Ireland each year, where film fans, ford enthusiasts and filmmakers can gather to examine and learn from Ford’s work and legacy.”
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD added:
“What a perfect setting to study this legendary filmmaker's work in the land of his beloved ancestors at the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium… I anticipate a tremendous excitement within Ireland's film industry with the establishment of this initiative – and I look forward to welcoming film communities and the extensive Irish diaspora across the globe who have been inspired by the incredible work of John Ford.”
John Ford directed 137 films as well as working on more than 80 other projects, documentaries and short films. The director, whose parents were born in the west of Ireland, was the first recipient of the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and received the American Presidential Medal of Freedom for his important war documentaries during his World War II American Navy service.
His work continues to be much loved by audiences around the world, with favourites including the big screen classics such as ‘The Searchers,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ ‘Fort Apache,’ ‘Rio Grande,’ ‘She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,’ ‘Stagecoach,’ ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ and ‘How Green Was My Valley.’
Ford kept strong connections with Ireland, where he made a number of films, the most important of which was ‘The Quiet Man,’ considered his most personal film.
For the full Symposium lineup and information about season passes, visit the John Ford Ireland website.