Director John Ford Celebrated with Irish Symposium

John Ford and Maureen O'Hara in Ireland

By Sheila Langan, Deputy Editor
June / July 2012

The inaugural John Ford Ireland Film Symposium will take place in Dublin over four days, June 7-10. The symposium’s screenings, talks and events will center on Ford’s own films, in addition to other films and filmmakers inspired by his work and legacy.

Ford, whose parents were born in the west of Ireland,  directed 137 films throughout his prolific career, including The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How Green Was My Valley, and The Quiet Man, which was said to be his most personal film. He revolutionized the Western genre and provided an important perspective on portraying Ireland in film. He still holds the record for winning the most Oscars work as a director.

Ford was the first recipient of the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his war documentaries during his World War II American Navy service. In conjunction with the John Ford Symposium, the Irish Film and Television Association has founded an award in his name, to honor world-renowned filmmakers who have followed in his footsteps. Clint Eastwood was named as the first recipient.

The program will include public screenings of Ford’s films – both popular and rare. Highlights will include a screening to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Quiet Man, with special guests Maureen O’Hara, John Ford’s grandson Dan Ford, and Redmond Morris, son of Quiet Man producer Lord Killanin; a public interview and master class with legendary Oscar-nominated director Peter Bogdanovich, who knew Ford; a keynote address by film historian Joseph McBride, biographer of Ford, Stephen Spielberg and Orson Welles; and a slew of other screenings and panel discussions.

IFTA Chief Executive Áine Moriarty said, “Ford’s films have always connected with and continue to resonate with ordinary people around the world. He was a great storyteller but moreover he was a master filmmaker who has influenced so many of cinema’s great filmmakers today. The Academy is proud that this annual Ford Film Symposium will now be held in Ireland each year.”

Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said, “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.”

3 Responses to “Director John Ford Celebrated with Irish Symposium”

  1. Looking forward to getting back home and attending this fantastic event in two weeks!

  2. Twould be a dream to be there. Just to meet ms o’hats. My father danced with her during ww2. He was in the US navy.

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