Saturday 24 March 2018

'Dear Daughter' filmmaker Lentin leaves 'truly impressive legacy'

Louis Lentin looks through the viewfinder of a 16mm film camera while directing RTE series 'Kino' 1963. Pic courtesy of RTE.
Louis Lentin looks through the viewfinder of a 16mm film camera while directing RTE series 'Kino' 1963. Pic courtesy of RTE.
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The son of abuse campaigner Christine Buckley has paid tribute to the work of artist and filmmaker Louis Lentin, who has died aged 81.

Lentin was best known for directing the acclaimed documentary 'Dear Daughter', the story of Buckley's childhood in institutional care.

He was remembered by the arts community as a "brave man of great integrity and passion."

Buckley's son, Conor, said he was deeply saddened to hear of Lentin's passing.

"He was a brave man to take on such controversial projects. He believed in my mum when a lot of people didn't. Although working with a small budget on 'Dear Daughter', he delivered a powerful piece of television which profoundly affected the nation," Mr Buckley added.

Born in Limerick in 1933, Lentin graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts and quickly began his professional career as a theatre director.

In 1961, Hilton Edwards, the then head of drama in RTE, invited Lentin to work as a drama producer for the national broadcaster.

Lentin picked up the Jacobs Irish Critics Award for contribution to television in 1973 and became head of television drama in RTE in 1978.

President Michael D Higgins said: "I have learned with sadness of the death of Louis Lentin. He was an outstanding television producer, director and documentary maker.

"His body of work leaves us with a legacy that will continue to inform us in the years ahead. He also made a most valuable contribution to Irish theatre in his early career. Our thoughts at this time are with his family, especially his wife Ronit and children Alana and Miki."

RTE director-general Noel Curran said Lentin made "a major contribution to the output and evolution of drama".

He added: "He was with us on the very first broadcast evening of December 31, 1961.

"He was passionate about the impact and medium of television and he left a truly impressive legacy of work."

Lentin's most recent production for RTE was 'Grandpa, Speak to me in Russian', the story of his grandfather Kalman Lentin who migrated from Lithuania to Ireland in the 1890s.

Aosdana members described Lentin as "an artist of great integrity and passion", whose "multi-award winning, groundbreaking work in theatre, film and television has had a profound effect on Irish society."

Editorial comment: Page 28

Irish Independent

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