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Film Takes Centre Stage at Fringe Theatre Festival
09 Sep 1999 :
It is sometimes hard to see the revolution Ali Curran has brought to the Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival. Three years ago she took the helm as Festival Director and calmly introduced dance to Dublin’s theatre audiences. A year later comedy was drawn onboard and now, with more than a little excitement, she has announced that 1999 sees film finally take centre stage. “I have been hoping to introduce film ever since I took over the festival. It’s a multi-disciplinary approach. So much of what we see on screen is influenced by the theatre through writers and directors and equally today’s theatre is strongly influenced by film”, she explained.

Curran is quick to dispel any ideas that she is trying to compete with existing festivals in Dublin, “The Film Fringe ’99 is designed to complement existing festivals and reach out to what is traditionally a theatre audience with film and, hopefully, cross fertilise audiences from both genres."

The Film Fringe ’99 is a two-day event, billed as “an intensive celebration of alternative, cutting edge and independent film-making”. It opens on Saturday 2nd October with Buster Keaton’s silent comedy , Sherlock Junior. Marking the festival’s territory, the film will be accompanied by an improvised musical soundtrack performed live by the Dublin band, The Jazz Underdogs. This musical motif is echoed at the closing film, Robert Weines 1919 horror, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with a newly composed score from Dublin band Decal.

Between these two films the official programme offers a host of Irish and foreign films. “I think it’s a close to perfect line-up. We have had great fun choosing the films, especially the shorts. We wanted as diverse a programme as possible and I think we have got that.” Ali Curran explained. Films such as Nicola Bruce’s I Could Read the Sky; John Carney and Tom Hall’s, Park; and Werner Hertzog’s, My Best Fiend, lead the features. The Shorts selection includes a retrospective of Irish short filmmaking of the past decade, including works by Damian O’Donnell and Enda Hughes.

The shorts programme was selected by Ted Sheehy, Film Ireland, Pat Collins, Film West, with Derek O’Connor as overall main curator. Curran admits that she also relied heavily on the advice of Mark Webber for the official programme. Best known for his work with the band Pulp, Webber has programmed a mini-selection entitled, Avant/Garde. He has previously worked with the Barbican Centre, London as curator of the film exhibition Underground America and is currently guest curator of the film and video programmes for the Whitney museums American Century Part 2 exhibition in New York.

There will also be a series of free, open-access workshops devoted to various aspects of film production including participants such as writer and director team John Carney and Tom Hall, cinematographer John T. Davis and scriptwriting agency Script to Screen.

Further information and the full programme will be available soon on the Fringe Web-site at www.fringefest.com

-GQ 9/9/99



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