Dingle Film Festival, 17-20 March 2011
Right from the opening night I could tell that the 5th Dingle Film Festival was a success. We had established ourselves in our new box office in the warm and friendly staffed Dingle Bay Hotel and everyone involved in the festival had walked earlier in the day in the Paddy’s Day parade.
We were now in The Phoenix cinema with a packed house, it was the world premiere of We’ll Always have Dingle, (a doc about the festival itself), and the newly appointed Minster for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Jimmy Deenahan was about to offically open the festival. Sitting in the audience, among the full house were some wonderful guests already in town including: Jean-Jacques Beineix, (Betty Blue director) Micheal Ryan, (producer The English Patient), Sophie Fiennes, returning for the 4th time, Anthony Wall, (BBC Arena), and our wonderful sponsors Tor Cotton, (Dingle businesswoman) and Kevin Moriarty, (MD of Ardmore Studios). It was simply wonderful to sit and watch We’ll Always Have Dingle sitting beside The Minister and to listen to the positive and very generous responses from the audience.
Following the screening I was invited to the front of house for a Q&A, the film’s Director, Geoff Wonfor; Writer/Producer, Dianne Namme; DOP, Eugene O Connor; Producer, Debbie Vandermullen; Production Manager, Eric Mofford who had all travelled to be there on the night. For Geoff ‘…it was a dream come true’. We all then retired to Lord Baker’s for the after party where the chat and energy was high until the early hours of the morning.
‘It was really wonderful to be in Dingle. SO many thanks. Its a very cool festival that you have going there, and I love the cinemobile!’
The Friday was a full-on day with an end-to-end programme of events. The day began with a cable snapping in the hydrolics system of the Cinemobile down in Caherciveen. An engineer arrived from Galway and the cinemobile was up and running on The Marina in Dingle for Conor Horgan’s excellent The Beholder and award winning short Deep End Dance which Conor introduced. (The IFB Shorts programme was resceduled to Saturday evening).
Meanwhile in The Phoenix Cinema there were great numbers for Eric Mofford’s talk on ‘Creative Producing’ and very stong feedback from Son of Babylon, a film that really moved people and had them talking all weekend. Almost every short in our afternoon programme was represented in The Phoenix and Jimmy Murakami and Sé Merry Doyle were on hand to introduce their feature Non-Alien. Mark O Halloran gave a warm and informative introduction to the retrospective screening of Adam & Paul while the feature Reduce the loss of life which was shot last year on the Dingle Coast Guard played to a full house in The Cinemobile and was followed by a Q&A with the film crew and coast guard. Turtle’s Tail: Sammy’s Adventure had a good family turn out while again Enemies of The People and Howl had people talking later that night.
‘Thanks so much for an amazing three days. it was totally charmed. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.’
Lisa Albert, Mad Men
Following a fun and a real get-to-know-you photo shoot on the pier earlier, Jean-Jacques Beineix received The Gregory Peck Award from Anthony Wall that night in The Phoenix. Jean-Jacques gave such a heartfelt and emotional speech about his life and work, mentioned ‘the intelligent design’ of the award and closed by saying “Tonight I have the illusion that I succeeded. I will belong to the company of people that will say: ‘I Will Always Have Dingle’.” Later the club listened to the very best of traditional music with Tommy O Sullivan and Éilís Kennedy. Arriving at the club people noticed UISCE a visual arts series of projections onto the old ice plant (curated by Chris Hurly, Cork Film Centre).
On Saturday Jean-Jacques joined Sophie Fiennes and Sé Merry Doyle in the most beautiful of venues, An Díseart, surrounded by Harry Clarke Stain Glass Windows in the Chapel and the charismatic Michael Ryan chaired the event. They imparted some highly intelligent information from their experiences in the business. Despite the heating not working and panel members slowly but surely wrapping their coats around themselves, there was nothing but a warm and fun atmosphere in the space, with each and every person riveted to the conversations and experiences being shared. Orla Clancy from Media Desk Ireland, our partner in this event, said a few words to begin the session.
‘The spirit of the festival and the beauty of Dingle itself make it unique and your energy and skill propel it forward brilliantly.’
Michael Ryan, Producer, The English Patient
Michael Ryan also chaired the morning session with Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe; this was a very informative session with an excellent house attending. Along with detailing their history and successes Ed & Andrew talked about their new company VOLTA, Ireland’s first video-on-demand platform and also discussed their latest production The Guard, with accompanying film clips. A little welcome rain on the day pushed the numbers up on the excellent Gasland, In Sunshine or in Shadow, West is West, Client 9, and Littlerock. Sophie Fiennes introduced and gave a Q&A to her exquisite film Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow to an audience almost full of local (many internationally acclaimed) artists. Philip King conducted a Q&A with Anthony Wall following the World Premiere of Produced by George Martin.
And then, drum roll, I had the pleasure of welcoming Maureen O Hara into The Phoenix Cinema again to a packed-out house. We had a chat together with the audience; Maureen told stories of her family and her time on The Quiet Man, renowned jeweller Brian de Staic presented her with a piece of local jewellery and Éilís Kennedy sang ‘Innisfree’ while Maureen sang along. Sé Merry Doyle then joined us to introduce his excellent film Dreaming The Quiet Man and Maureen stayed with everyone to watch the film. The festival club which followed, ‘Havana Night’ in The Dingle Bay hotel, was absolutely brilliant with much dancing to the sounds of DJ Rob and later to the sounds of the morning birds.
‘What a great time we all had. You’d nearly make another film quickly as to have it shown in Dingle 2012.’
Sé Merry Doyle
Ah that Sunday feeling, all is right with the world and everyone is happy and all has gone so smoothly. We opened the day with a full house for the family movie Eleanor’s Secret, a free screening sponsored by Dingle Business Chamber and, what is more, Murphy’s Ice Cream were there giving out free ice cream. This was followed by the very beautiful and extraordinary Beautiful People. The film was introduced by both its Director, Elzbieta Szoka and producer, Sam Adelman who flew in from New York for its European Premiere.
The creative writing panel was chaired by the very talented Conor Horgan, which brought us back to the Chapel in An Díseart. This time the heating was on full blast and the atmosphere electric. The sun streamed in through the work of Harry Clark and all was so right with this time and space, this ‘being here’. The line up on this panel was seriously strong and the information imparted so valuable to any writer. We had both Lisa Albert, (Mad Men) and Marc Flanagan, (back to the festival for the 3rd year) who have both won 2 Emmys and a Writer’s Guild Award each, the highly productive producer Edwinda Forkin, Richard Scobie (who is going into production with his script 66 Degrees North) and 2-time IFTA winner Mark O Halloran. What a workshop! And it was kindly supported by Fás: Screen Training Ireland, Sorcha Loughnane from STI was there.
Chico & Rita got a great house and is such a stunning film. A film that got so much praise on Sunday, What We Leave In Our Wake, was followed by a Q&A chaired by Alan Maher from The Irish Film Board with the film’s Director Pat Collins and Executive Producer, Philip King. This was one of three events supported by The Irish Film Board.
Éamon de Buitléar presented the winner of Físín, Cathal Ó Cuaig, a cheque of €3,000 and Cathal has already begun work on making what I am sure will be a super short film in the Irish language for next year. Comhghairdeachas le Cathal agus go dtí gach éinne den cheathrar eile a chuir isteach ar an gcomórtas.
‘I am privileged to have had an involvement in this excellent festival’
The festival closed with Treacle Jr, an independent film by Jamie Thraves who was there to introduce the film with its star Aidan Gillen. The audience loved this film and stayed some time after with Aidan & Jamie for a Q&A. Tom McCarthy’s was the venue for a well-deserved pint and some great trad music to wind things down and chat to the wonderful Lisa Albert and many other guests still in town.
What is hard to capture is the energy all these guests bring to the town of Dingle. One can have a great conversation with such great filmmakers at any and every minute of the day. There are so many opportunities to have a coffee or a pint or indeed a world-class meal in the company of these great guests. Even a meal with your own friends and family that may be attending the festival with you, in Dingle the food is exceptional and the conversation buzzing. I am delighted to see all this taking place, in parallel with a great festival programme. It is worth noting that the local business community were so delighted with the festival this year, many hotels and restaurants were completely booked out whilst pubs and cafes were packed throughout the weekend. The Cinemobile and Phoenix along with An Díseart were so often at capacity.
‘Film goers punters and business community all impressed!’
John Benny Moriarty, Dingle Business Chamber
Now I hope at this point, that is to say after 5 years hard work, our funders will see us as a serious cultural force/entity on this island; with real ambition and the much needed drive to create and build a true international event that will always hold true to itself and its place. That is not to say we are not thankful to The Arts Council, Ealaín Na Gaeltachta, Fás, Úderas Na Gaeltachta and others already mentioned for their current support. I look forward to meeting new guests and new people along with welcoming back the festivals dear friends who just keep coming back to us – our best and most encouraging endorsement.
Buíochas mór le gach duine a thug tacaíocht dúinn agus a bhí inar measc anseo sa Daingean. Táim ag súil le sibh a fheiscint arís an bhliain seo chugainn. Thank you to all who have supported us and for being here in Dingle.
Maurice Galway CEO/Artistic Director