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IFB Chief rebuts John Michael McDonagh’s anti-Irish comments


- Calvary and The Guard director doesn’t consider his films Irish

IFB Chief rebuts John Michael McDonagh’s anti-Irish comments
John Michael McDonagh

English-born filmmaker of Irish descent, John Michael McDonagh, raised excited comment when he stated recently that his film Calvary [+see also:
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interview: John Michael McDonagh
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, winner of Best Irish Film and Best Screenplay at the Irish Film and Television Awards (news), and the recipient of some €1 million in funding from the Irish Film Board (IFB), is not Irish. “It’s just set in Ireland with a lot of Irish characters,” McDonagh had said. In a broadside against Irish films McDonagh said, “I’m not a fan of Irish movies, I don’t find them to be that technically accomplished and I don’t find them that intelligent.” McDonald also does not consider The Guard, made with some IFB funding and with leading Irish company Element Pictures as co-producer, Irish.

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Now, IFB Chief Executive James Hickey has issued a rebuttal statement. “John Michael McDonagh is entitled to his opinion on Irish film. The role of the Irish Film Board is to invest in the development of Irish talent in front of and behind the camera and to ensure that Irish audiences have the opportunity to see Irish stories on film. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the wonderful creative talent working in the sector and I would not agree with John Michael McDonagh's comments on Irish film,” Hickey said.

Hickey goes on to list all the IFB-funded successes of the last twenty years and adds, “I believe in the importance of a national cinema, the opportunity for Irish filmmakers to make Irish stories on film and I believe the future for Irish film is bright.”

Unless McDonagh does a volte-face, this future is unlikely to include him. His next film, War on Everyone, is a UK production. 

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