THE Golden Age of Hollywood’s silent era will be recalled this weekend in Nenagh when the town pays tribute to one of the founding father’s of Tinsel Town, director Rex Ingram, who spent his formative years in North Tipperary.
The star-studded line-up has attracted many familiar faces to Nenagh for the inaugural Nenagh Silent Film festival, including Fair City stars Bryan Murray and Tony Tormey, along with film buffs and Ingram’s grand-niece Rosemary Bellew.
The festival, which starts this Thursdsay, February 14, will include workshops, film screenings, discussions, talks and a masked ball this Friday in the Abbey Court Hotel.
Actor Bryan Murray, who plays Bob Charles in Fair City, told the Tipperary Star: “It’s great that Nenagh is honouring Rex Ingram like this. At his peak he was the greatest fim director in the world.
“But it’s not all about history. It’s about the movies, and this is a terrific line-up. Noferatu, Buster Keaton, Rex Ingram himself. All with live musicians, which is always crucial for me. There’s something very special about the music for a silent film.
“I’m also giving a talk in Nenagh Arts Centre, followed by a masked ball. That will be a highlight for me..”
Tony Tormey, Fair City’s Paul Brennan, said the festival was a “terrific idea. I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. Now I share that laughter with my own children.”
Tony emphasised that Rex Ingram was one of the first Irishmen to make an impact on world cinema. He paved the way for John Ford and the many Irish talents who came after.
“To honour him like this in Nenagh is a great tribute to one of our own,” he said.
Tony, who was in town for last year’s fundraising screening of The Artist, revealed that Ingram watched his first film in Nenagh at the age of six in 1901, and 15 years later was in Hollywood.
“With all the workshops and training opportunities, maybe he won’t be the last Nenagh person to follow that path. I think we may be looking at the stars of tomorrow,” he said.
Nenagh Mayor Lalor McGee commented that the inaugural Nenagh Silent Film Festival could be something to be built on for the future.
The festival has been given the thumbs-up by none other than Stan Laurel’s daughter Lois Laurel-Hawes, who said: “I would like to wish the Nenagh Silent Film Festival every success.”
Meanwhile, Nenagh people have been urged by Junior Minister Alan Kelly to come out and support the festival.
“There is something for everybody during the weekend. The commitee has arranged a varied schedule during the festival, which includes workshops, Valentine themed events, a masked ball, and a silent movie themed parade, among other events.
“I would like to congratulate the committee for all their work organising the event, and wish them the very best for a successful weekend” said Deputy Kelly.
For festival details, log on to www.nenaghsilentfilmfestival.com