Sep 04 2017 Posted: 22:11 IST

Huston School of Film & Digital Media Guest Speaker Sessions resume with a talk by Bob Quinn on Thursday 14th September at 2.30pm

James Thurber wrote of himself: 'Easy to rouse, he is hard to quiet and people usually just go away.' The same might be said of Bob Quinn. Under the title 'Cinegael', and for nearly four decades, in words and images, Bob Quinn has recorded life in the West of Ireland, especially in the Conamara Gaeltacht. He has been called a 'talented eccentric' (by Ken Gray, Irish Times) a 'maverick' (by corporate RTE & the late Jim Kemmy), and was a key figure in the emergence of a distinctive Irish film culture from the 1970s onwards.

He has filmed and photographed from Tatarstan to Morocco, from India to the United States. His work has been exhibited from Galway to Los Angeles, from Moscow to Missouri. Apart from his film work, he has been published by Quartet Books (London & New York), O'Brien Press, (Dublin), Brandon Press, (Kerry), Lilliput Press (Dublin) and Cló Iar-Chonnacht, (Galway).

The film and video company, Cinegael, which with Seosamh Ó Cuaig and Toni Cristofides he founded in 1973, concentrated on the Gaeltacht of Conamara. Quinn still sees this Irish-speaking area in the West of Ireland as the grain of sand which, in the William Morris sense, contains and illuminates the world. Cinegael's original intention was to reinforce the identity of this threatened linguistic minority: the group soon realised that in modern times man's destiny is stated in political terms. Inspired by the the National Film Board of Canada's Challenge for Change programme and using pioneering closed-circuit TV techniques it recorded local events and controversies. It mediated successfully between local opinion and public bodies.

Gradually Cinegael began to engage with the larger polity. It evolved into a maker of one-off film documentaries and dramas – including acclaimed films Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoire (1975) Poitín (1977) The Atlantean Trilogy (1981/1984) and Budawanny (1987) - which were all screened on RTE, as well as on BBC, Channel Four, S4C, SBC etc. and which achieved other international recognition. In 1981 Quinn earned the Spirit of the Festival Award at the Celtic Film Festival. In 1984 he won a Jacob's TV Award. In 2009 he was awarded the 'Director's Choice' award at the Boston Irish Film Festival (BIFF). In 1988 he was the first film maker to be elected a member of Aosdána, the Irish Parliament of Artists. (In the same year he met Colonel Ghadafi.) In 2001 Quinn was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Film Institute and in 2012 he was awarded the Foras Na Gaeilge SDGI Award for Outstanding Work as a Director in the Irish Language.

College Of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Huston School of Film & Digital Media

Follow @hustonfilmnuig

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