17 October 2018 The Irish Film & Television Network
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Bob Quinn - Director
Bob Quinn was born in Dublin. He is an independent film-maker. His career as a film-maker began after a wide variety of jobs, including teacher and commercial representative, and a period in RTE. In 1975 he made 'Lament for Art O'Leary' and soon after continued to establish his reputation with 'Poitin' (1978) and the multi-part 'Atlantean' (1984), which explores the relationship between the Gaelic and Arab worlds. One of his most acclaimed films to date is 'Budawanny', which was made in 1987 with the assistance of the Irish Film Board. Quinn adapted the script from a book by Padraig Standun, 'Suil le Breith'. He also directed 'The Bishop's Story' (1994) - a completed version of 'Budawanny'.

The bishop of 'The Bishop's Story' is the priest in 'Budawanny', played by the great Donal McCann, and the 'Bishop's' story is told in flashbacks and uses material from 'Budawanny'. Under the title 'Cinegael', and for three decades in words and images he has recorded life in the West of Ireland, especially in the Conamara Gaeltacht. He has been called, and is regarded in centrist circles, as a 'talented eccentric' (Ken Gray, Irish Times) and ageing 'maverick' (corporate RTE & Jim Kemmy). This is as good a way as any to approach him and his work.

He has filmed and photographed from Tatarstan to Morocco, from India to the United States. His work has been exhibited from Galway to Los Angeles, from Moscow to Missouri. Apart from his film work, he has been published by Quartet Books (London & New York), O'Brien Press, (Dublin), Brandon Press, (Kerry) and Cló Iar-Chonnacht, (Galway). Yet he has always remained on the periphery of mainstream critical consideration in Ireland itself.

Born in Dublin in 1935 and after seventeen different careers he became a television producer at the age of 27. After a successful career in Irish public broadcasting Bob Quinn opted in 1969 for the James Joyce tactic of silence, exile and cunning. He succeeded in only one of these tactics - exile in Conamara. But in the process he has produced an impressive body of cinematic, literary and photographic work.

The film and video company, Cinegael, which with Seosamh Ó Cuaig and Toni Cristofides he founded in 1973, concentrated on the Gaeltacht of Conamara. Quinn still sees this Irish-speaking area in the West of Ireland as the grain of sand which, in the William Morris sense, contains and illuminates the world. Cinegael's original intention was to reinforce the identity of this threatened linguistic minority: the group realised that in modern times man's destiny was stated in political terms. Inspired by the National Film Board of Canada's Challenge for Change programme and using pioneering closed-circuit TV techniques it recorded local events and controversies. It mediated successfully between local opinion and public bodies.

Gradually Cinegael began to engage with the larger polity of Ireland. It evolved into a maker of one-off film documentaries and dramas which were all screened on RTE, the Irish Public broadcaster, all well as on BBC, Channel Four, SBC etc. and which achieved other international recognition.

Bob Quinn still lives and works in Conamara, still in collaboration with Seosamh Ó Cuaig and others. In 1985 he was the first film maker to be elected member of Aosdána, the Irish Parliament of Artists. In 1995 he was surprisingly appointed a member of the RTE Authority (Board of Governors), from which position he resigned in 1999 and wrote 'Maverick', the first intimately-informed account of Irish Public Broadcasting.

In 2001 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Film Institute.

Note: Most 3rd level Irish courses in film and media use Bob Quinn's work as subject matter or, depending on one's perspective, suitable cases for treatment. Several degree theses (including one earned at the Sorbonne) have been exclusively based on Bob Quinn's work; the latest (2002) a Ph.D from the University of Milan.


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Filmography
 Film Name  Director  Year
-  Vox Humana  Bob Quinn  2008
-  Damhsa an Deoray - The Immigrant Dance  Bob Quinn  2003
-  It must be Done Right  Bob Quinn  1999
-  Graceville  Bob Quinn  1996
-  Bishop's Story, The  Bob Quinn  1994
-  Budawanny  Bob Quinn  1987
-  PoitÌn  Bob Quinn  1978
-  Self portrait with Red Car  Bob Quinn  1977
-  Caoineadh Airt Ui Laoire  Bob Quinn  1975
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01 Jul 2014 Film Fleadh Screens Films Made About/In/By Galway
21 Jun 2012 Special Feature: Galway Film Centre Keeping The West Awake
25 Oct 2011 IFTA to Honour Irish Screen Legend Niall Tóibín
14 Sep 2011 Bob Quinn 13 Week Retrospective On TG4
14 Jul 2010 Lelia Doolan Talks a Lifetime of Irish TV & Film

 



 
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