About

Film Ireland began publication in 1987 under the title Filmbase News. The magazine was initially a photocopied newsletter distributed to members of the organisation. The first issue contained news about current short and feature film productions, information on funding schemes, and film festival reports.[2] According to the magazine’s first editor, Johnny Gogan (who shared the credit “compiled by” with Mike Collins and John Gormley in early issues): “The 1987 Film Base AGM had called for a better distribution of information to the growing membership. Ireland was a word-of-mouth culture where information was guarded and opinions often verbalised on bar-stools but less often committed to print. The film scene was no exception. Vinny McCabe and Mike Collins had taken up the cause of a newsletter after the AGM and I was dragged in to assist their information sub-committee, joined by John Gormley (now TD)”.[3]

In 1992, after thirty issues, Filmbase News changed its name to Film Ireland. Editor Patrick Barrett explained that the change of name was intended to reflect the magazine’s widening audience,[4] but former editor Johnny Gogan later stated that “the name change [was] presented as a fait accompli to the board and the organisation”.[5] Gogan opposed the move to make the publication into a national magazine “out of a belief in the parochial which has endured”, while later editor Hugh Linehan considered it “a progressive and ambitious move, but one which threw up its own challenges”.[6]

Other editors of the magazine included Paul Power, who maintained the magazine’s status as a journal of record by keeping “local writers, directors, and producers in the frame of almost every story”;[7] Hugh Linehan, who went on to edit The Ticket, the weekly entertainment supplement of The Irish Times;[8] Ted Sheehy, Ireland correspondent of Screen International, “who was often critical of the lack of a professional film grammar within much Irish film production”;[9] and Tony Keily, who believed that film criticism and publication “should be radicated in a common film culture. And the job of a publication like Film Ireland is to provide a small space for that culture to grow. A pluralist space that doesn’t obviously belong to anybody”.[10] The Film Ireland website, FilmIreland.net, was established in 2002.