Wicklow People

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Boorman's 'Excalibur' sees 30th anniversary



FILM DIRECTOR John Boorman was the guest of honour last weekend at a ceremony to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the making of the blockbuster movie 'Excalibur'.

An array of Irish stars, including singer Maria Doyle Kennedy, rock-star mum Philomena Lynott, and chef Paulo Tulio, attended a ceremony at the offices of Bray Town Council to mark the contribution of Mr. Boorman to cinema on the landmark anniversary of the film.

He was presented with a bronze sculpture crafted by Laurent Mellet, an artist living in Glendalough.

In a career that has spanned six decades, John Boorman has directed some of the top films that have hit our cinema screens, been nominated for numerous awards and been the recipient of many accolades and worked with some of Hollywood's top stars like Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Burt Reynolds, John Hurt, Uma Thurman and Helen Mirren.

John Boorman's first hit, 'Point Break' came in 1967 following a start in the industry as a journalist and TV documentary filmmaking. The late Lee Marvin was the star of this and also played the lead role in the following year's production of 'Hell in the Pacific'. Such was the relationship that after Lee Marvin's death, John Boorman produced a documentary to the memory of his friend.

1970 saw the start of a number of awards and nominations. At the Cannes Film Festival that year Boorman was awarded Best Director for the film, ' Leo the Last'. The subsequent production of the legendary movie 'Deliverance' saw it nominated for three Oscars and was also selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry as a film that was of cultural, historic and aesthetic significance.

The director's own life experiences have also shaped his movie making. The movie 'Land of Hope and Glory', which also received Oscar nominations was based on life in London during the Blitz in World War II. Similarly the short film, 'I dreamt I woke up' was filmed locally here in County Wicklow and profiled how living in Wicklow and the county's surroundings have influenced some of Boorman's work.

Cathaoirleach of Bray Town Council David Grant said that John Boorman has raised the profile of County Wicklow and is among a handful of prominent artists that have made the Garden of Ireland their home.

Boorman Films have also received much acclaim from movie critics - the 1985 epic and BAFTA award winning 'Emerald Forest' was hailed as the 'adventure movie of the year'.

'Excalibur has left an indelible mark on Bray and County Wicklow,' said Cllr. Grant. ' This movie has a strong Irish connection as it was made here at Ardmore Studios and on location in Powerscourt, the Wicklow Mountains, Childers Wood in Roundwood and in Counties Tipperary and Kerry.' Cllr. Grant has his own vivid memories of the making of Excalibur. 'At the time of its making my family were living directly across from the studios. I remember only too well the action that we could see across road in particular at night with so many lights, effects and noise.'

He went on to thank Wicklow Film Commission for the good work that they do in promoting Wicklow as a film location.

The Commission was set up almost 20 years ago and has provided invaluable assistance to film-makers. It has been successful in attracting movies here such as 'Braveheart', ' PS I love you', 'Michael Collins' and dramas like ' The Tudors', ' The Little Curiosity Shop' and ' Ballykissangel'.