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FILM Community embraced Clare Island Film Festival

Going Out


Community embraced Clare Island Film Festival

Áine Ryan

THE success of the inaugural Clare Island Film Festival, a retrospective on the work of acclaimed independent film-maker Bob Quinn, has ensured a repeat weekend on the Clew Bay outpost next year.
Attended by Quinn – whose filmography includes ‘Poitín’ (1977), The Atlantean Trilogy (1981/1984), ‘Budawanny’ (1987), ‘The Bishops Story’ (1994) and ‘Splanc Deireadh na Gaeltachta’ (2004) – the festival took place from Friday, October 4 to Sunday, October 6.
Organiser, Bjorn MacGiolla, an islander studying film and TV production at the National Film School, IADT, told The Mayo News that the inaugural festival was underpinned by Quinn’s artistic legacy to the island. “Throughout his career Bob Quinn [who attended the festival] has democratised the process of filmmaking and  brought it to areas that would never before have been the subjects of film. He demystified the magic of cinema, involving remote communities in the process and thus provided an important record of a changing Ireland,” McGiolla said.
Breton filmmaker Sylvain Marmugi also took part in the festival. He made a film with the local primary-school children, which was shown to a packed audience in the community centre – a project that perfectly encapsulated the island’s strong community spirit and creativity.
The weekend’s busy programme included a screening of ‘Budawanny’, which starred the late Donal McCann and was set on Clare Island, with many islanders featuring, as well as Quinn’s 1966 Horizon documentary, ‘The Island’, made about island craftsmanship – the latter heralding the beginning of the filmmaker’s long relationship with Clare Island.  
Bjorn McGiolla observes: “This record of the lives of the west of Ireland becomes more important as time goes by. As Bob said at the weekend, ‘Every photograph becomes a piece of art with time’.
“In keeping with this tradition, one of the highlights of the festival was the children’s film produced by Sylvain Marmugi. We hope that this will in time become its own piece of art and that future generations of islanders will be able to see their parents captured as they were at a specific moment of time, much like the children of Clare Island watched their parents and grandparents in Bob’s films during the festival,” he continued.
Bjorn McGiolla said that the spirit and support of the community for this nascent event would ensure its future, contribute to the recognition of the importance of independent film-making and, because of the community’s natural theatrical talent, undoubtedly increase the island’s film archive.”

For more information, contact www.clareislandfilmfestival.com.