American filmmaker Clint Eastwood has received the inaugural John Ford Award. The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA), in association with the John Ford Estate and the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has officially established the “John Ford Ireland”, an annual symposium celebrating the work and legacy of John Ford.
Each year the John Ford Ireland committee, which consists of leading international experts on John Ford, whose real name was Sean Feeney and whose parents came from Ireland will select one contemporary filmmaker to be presented with the John Ford Award.
The group have stated that the filmmaker will have “learned from the mastery of John Ford and who best represents Ford’s legacy and ideals to the world – an individuality, a uniqueness of vision, an artistic talent that is admired and enjoyed by audiences throughout the world.”
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Upon receiving the award Eastwood said “This is a great privilege for me because any kind of association with John Ford is most Directors’ dream as he was certainly a pioneer of American filmmaking and I grew up on his films.
His Westerns had a great influence on me, as I think they had on everybody. When I worked with Sergio Leone years ago in Italy, his favorite Director was John Ford and he spoke very openly about that influence. I want to thank everybody who is here from the Irish Academy, the John Ford family and thank you to John Ford Ireland.”
The Irish Film & Television Academy plan to lay the foundations for honoring, examining and learning from the work and legacy of legendary filmmaker John Ford, who is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation.
An annual gathering in Dublin will celebrate Ford’s ongoing influence on contemporary Cinema. The Academy is working closely with leading Ford authorities, enthusiasts, experts and Academics throughout the world to bring the legacy of Ford back home to Ireland.
Ford, an Irish-American whose parents were raised in the West coast of Ireland – was a Pioneer of Cinema and created some of the most enduring films in cinematic history, combining exceptional creativity and innovative storytelling genius in a body of work (136 films) which spanned almost 60 years.
Ford’s films are recognized amongst the best films ever made such as “The Grapes of Wrath”, “How Green was my Valley”, “Stagecoach” and “The Searchers” (the greatest American Western of all time says the American Film Institute). Ireland and Irish themes featured heavily in numerous Ford films and he took great pride in employing Irish talent including Ireland’s Abbey players (Sara Allgood, Barry Fitzgerald etc) who went to Hollywood to work with Ford.
The John Ford Ireland symposium will take place in Dublin in June 2012. For further information about John Ford Ireland – firstname.lastname@example.org / + 353 1 6624120
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