Talking Movies

November 28, 2020

Irish Film HENRY GLASSIE: FIELD WORK by director Pat Collins wins InScience Audience Award

Pat Collin’s new feature film, HENRY GLASSIE: FIELD WORK has won the NTR De Kennis van Nu Audience Award at InScience Film Festival.

InScience is a unique festival in the Netherlands, an international platform for scientific documentaries.  The themes in the InScience program are endless. About the possibility of tinkering with the basis of life, about the symbiosis of art and science, about the minuscule hope of an eternal life, about researchers being daredevils, and about revising our past and building our future.

Pat Collins in his acceptance speech thanked the film programmer Rob Van Der Berg and said it was “an honour to win the InScience Audience Award and to bring Henry Glassie’s work to a wider audience. The film is a true collaboration and couldn’t have been made without Henry’s creative input and generosity.  Henry has always acknowledged the debt he owes to the people who taught him – his teachers within the universities and the artists he has spent his life with, out in the field.  It’s very satisfying to see Henry’s long life of learning getting this acknowledgement, from a festival so dedicated to building bridges between the worlds of science and arts. Producer Tina O’Reilly of South Wind Blows said “It is such a pleasure to work with a director of the calibre of Pat Collins.  I’m delighted that the audience at InScience also felt the beauty and inspiration that we experienced collaborating with the truly remarkable Henry Glassie. I would like to extend my personal thanks to Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland for their significant support of our film, from concept to closing titles.”

Following on the success of ‘Song of Granite’, Henry Glassie: Field Work from Director Pat Collins also won Best Irish Documentary at the 2020 Galway Film Fleadh. It is a magisterial portrait of the most renowned American folklorist and ethnologist Henry Glassie now in his seventies. This film is a beautifully intricate exposition of Glassie’s life’s work which displays this director’s trademark deft touch and remarkable eye for details of the deepest significance. Glassie’s subject is folklore but his deep abiding love for the people who create it resonates throughout the film. “I don’t study people . I stand with people and I study the things they create.” Field work is at the heart of Glassie’s lifelong engagement with folklore. In the words of poet Seamus Heaney “where the perfect eye of the blackbird watched, where one fern was always green I was standing watching you”  ‘Fieldwork’ – 1979.

This film celebrates Glassie’s work, the people with whom he stands and their artwork.  Glassie’s long professional life encompasses the people and folklore of his native southern states; from the sublime vocal purity of Ola Belle Reed whom he befriended and recorded in the sixties, to the potters, sculptors, metal workers, gilders and painters of sacred art in Brazil, the ceramic masters and the women rug makers and weavers of Turkey, the story tellers and singers of Ballymenone on the Northern Irish border to mention just a few. Pat Collins’ sensitive positioning of Glassie’s own archive photographs, film and exquisite hand drawn maps deepen our understanding both of Glassie and the folklore he has so tenderly honoured in his work over decades of study scholarship love and friendship.

Filmed in Brazil, Ireland and the US in Glassie’s benevolent presence, artists like the sculptor Edival Rosas from Salvador city describe their practice as one where body and spirit are integrated, where in Glassie’s words the creative act brings “a momentary fullfilment of what it is to be human”. Under Pat Collins’ ever mindful direction the process of making something out of raw materials is luminously manifested in sequences which reflect in their measured and attentive approach the actual real time process of making, of the work of hands, of the physicality of that work , and of the close attention the artist is bringing to the work. Pat Collins’ achievement with Henry Glassie: Field Work is to bring these makers of art, in wood, fabric, yarn, paint, clay, metal, in song and story to our attention through their work, through the raw materials they shape into art objects and the through the undeniable passion they carry to their work. In this way the work is accorded profound meaning for the societies out of which it is generated an aesthetic value which is transcendent.

“What matters is passion and the devotion” and also “sincerity and fullness of being”. Without this, for Glassie, no art work can claim authenticity. The film itself stands as a realisation of this sincerity and fullness of being. Over the last 50 years the celebrated American Folklorist Henry Glassie has been writing in-depth studies of communities and their art.  Inspired by the writings and ideas of Glassie – ‘Field Work’ is an immersive and meditative documentary set among the rituals and rhythms of working artists across Brazil, Turkey, North Carolina and Ireland.  The process of making something out of raw materials is luminously manifested in sequences which reflect in their measured and attentive approach the actual real time process of making, of the work of hands and of the close attention the artist is bringing to the work.

HENRY GLASSIE: FIELD WORK will open at Irish cinemas in early 2021

January 18, 2018

ADIFF 2018: Irish Documentaries

The announcement of the main ADIFF programme is  just under a week away, but a taste is being given with this year’s Irish documentary line-up being released early.


Festival Director, Gráinne Humphreys said This year’s Irish documentary line-up, full of World and Irish Premieres, reveals a preoccupation with the tensions between long-held traditions and the contemporary society. These extraordinary films ask questions of what we can treasure and protect, what can be re-invented, and what we need to learn to let go of. These profound and searching documentaries give a glimpse of what’s in store when the full ADIFF programme is announced on 24th January’.

One farmer’s courageous struggle to maintain a centuries-old lifestyle in the shadow of a huge multinational is traced in the Irish Premiere of Feargal Ward’s The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid; the walk of the Camino is re-invented as a Kerry curragh sea journey in the Irish Premiere of Dónal Ó’Céilleachair’s The Camino Voyage, featuring Brendan Begley and Glen Hansard; and Paul Duane traces a hypnotic musical journey that brings us to the earliest Western music still in existence in the World Premiere of While You Live, Shine. The survival of dissident Republican vigilantism in pockets of the North, is explored in the Irish Premiere of Sinéad O’Shea’s much-anticipated A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot. The Troubles also reverberate through the Irish Premiere of Donal Foreman’s The Image You Missed, which sees the filmmaker grapple with the legacy of his estranged father, Arthur MacCaig, and the decades-spanning archive of the conflict in Northern Ireland that he created.

Each year the Arts Council’s Reel Art scheme, in association with ADIFF and Filmbase, commissions two films that offer filmmakers a chance to make highly creative, imaginative, and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme. Receiving their World Premieres at this year’s festival in the IFI are Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Phantom Islands, a visceral exploration of the boundaries between documentary and fiction, and Niall McCann’s reflective encounter with Irish musician and artist Adrian Crowley in The Science of Ghosts. Finally major Irish filmmaker Pat Collins returns to the documentary form with Twilight, a beautiful evocation of the end of day that was filmed over two years in Baltimore, West Cork.

Tickets for the Irish documentaries at ADIFF are available now at (www.diff.ie or 01 687 7974).

Season Tickets are also now on sale alongside tickets for the Fantastic Flix young people’s programme, the Paul Schrader season, the Surprise Film, Immersive Stories: Conference and Exhibition, and the silent film presentations in association with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The full ADIFF Programme will be released on Jan 24th.

Irish Documentaries at ADIFF 2018 – Schedule

Saturday 24th February
18.30 The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid   Lighthouse 1
Filmmaker in attendance: Feargal Ward

Monday 26th February
18.30 The Science of Ghosts   IFI
Filmmaker in attendance: Niall McCann

Tuesday 27th February
18.30 Phantom Islands   IFI
In attendance: Rouzbeh Rashidi

Wednesday 28th February
17.50 Twilight   Lighthouse 2
In attendance: Pat Collins

18.45 While You Live, Shine   Lighthouse 2
In attendance: Paul Duane

Thursday 1st March
18.15 The Image You Missed   Lighthouse 2
In attendance: Donal Foreman

Friday 2nd March
18.15 The Camino Voyage   IFI
In attendance: Dónal Ó Céilleachair

Saturday 3rd March
18.15 A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot   Lighthouse 1
In attendance: Sinéad O’Shea

Blog at WordPress.com.