Saturday 17 August 2019

My cultural life: Fiona Clark

Fiona Clark
Fiona Clark
The Handmaid's Tale
A Gentleman in Moscow

Fiona Clark was born in Ecuador and started a children's theatre company when she left Bristol University and then joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. She joined the Bush Theatre in London as executive producer in 1999. After seven years, she made a big change and joined the Earthrace Project, successfully breaking the world record in 2008 for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in a powerboat - which was run on biodiesel, green technology and was carbon neutral - in 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes.

She joined Get Connected, a national charity helpline for under 25s, as CEO for five years, before moving to Ireland to take up a new development role at the Irish Film Institute. Her husband, Adrian Erangey, is from east Cork, and they moved to beautiful Ballycotton six years ago. Joining Cork Film Festival, a year ago has enabled Fiona to bring all aspects of her life together; to live in and contribute to the community that is now her adopted home. She has a stepson Adam (22) 

Film: Vazante


Cork Film Festival opens on November 10 so my head is well and truly full of films. I have a broad taste but a film that's been on my mind since we first saw it in Berlin in February, is a fascinating and original debut feature, Vazante, (above) directed by Daniela Thomas. Set in 1920s Brazil, and beautifully shot in black and white, it's a mesmerising, provocative period piece that directly resonates with current issues of class, race and gender politics. Original and totally captivating.

Design: The Tetra-Joint

My father, Simon Clark, changed career at the age of 50, reinventing himself as a fine cabinet-maker after 25 years working for Shell. He always maintained that his furniture needed to be practical as well as beautiful, and that the design would emerge from the specific piece of wood he selected. He created the tetra-joint, a complicated and mathematically calculated series of crossover table leg joints, often in mahogany, supporting heavy thick glass tabletops. They look clean and simple, but I know how complicated the geometry of it is. I have a coffee table and a matching side table.

Book: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

I recently (reluctantly) embraced the Kindle instead of lugging hardbacks around in my bag. But I love 'real' books. I have hundreds and will never get rid of any - they are my friends! I read most when I'm travelling. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, an unputdownable character-driven tale set in Moscow at the start of the Revolution, a period that fascinates me.

Song: Sailing By

Sailing By by Ronald Binge is the music played every night on BBC Radio 4 just before the late Shipping Forecast. I associate it with the excitement of coming over to Ireland from London when we first bought our house and couldn't wait to get to Ballycotton, despite no heating or hot water.

TV: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

I'm completely addicted to television drama. I was totally absorbed by The Handmaid's Tale (above), based on the equally excellent novel by Margaret Atwood. Actor Elisabeth Moss is hugely versatile, from Mad Men to Palme d'Or-winning film The Square.

The 62nd Cork Film Festival takes place from November 10-19.

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