You've made my day: Clint's joy as movie icons are honoured
HOLLYWOOD director John Ford will be celebrated at an annual gathering to be held in Dublin each year.
Starting next June, the 'John Ford Ireland' will be an annual symposium celebrating the work and legacy of the famous Irish-American film director (1894-1973) responsible for such classic as 'The Quiet Man', 'The Grapes of Wrath', 'How Green Was My Valley', and 'The Searchers', hailed as the greatest Western of all time by the American Film Institute.
Aine Moriarty, chief executive of the Irish Film & Television Academy and Mr Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the US, unveiled the plans for the project at a reception in California last week attended by members of Ford's family.
Guest of honour at the function was actor and director Clint Eastwood, who was presented with the inaugural John Ford Award, an honour to be bestowed on film-makers who best represent Ford's legacy.
Receiving the award, Eastwood (81) 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 US film-making.
Presenting him with the award, Ambassador Michael Collins said the selection of Eastwood "drew a direct line between two of Hollywood's greatest and most inspirational figures.
Scheduled to take place in Dublin in June 2012, the 'John Ford Ireland' symposium will include a series of screenings, exhibitions, discussions, master classes, lectures and public interviews designed to educate, inform and inspire participants by providing insight into the experiences of specially invited guest speakers.
In addition, a film school and scholarship programme will be established in the symposium's second year for new film-makers to visit Ireland and attend the John Ford Film School, a film course run during the proposed annual three-day weekend event.
Speaking about the establishment of 'John Ford Ireland', Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said: "John Ford is one of Ireland's most renowned emigrant sons, and what a perfect setting to study this legendary film-maker's work in the land of his beloved ancestors.
"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."
Eastwood's presence at the first symposium next June is yet to be confirmed.