Film folk say farewell to IFI pro­gram­mer Walsh

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REEL NEWS - By Don­ald Clarke

A touch­ing me­mo­rial ser­vice was held for Pete Walsh, much-ad­mired pro­gram­mer of the Ir­ish Film In­sti­tute, at Mount Jerome Cre­ma­to­rium in Harold’s Cross on Mon­day af­ter­noon. Pete, who died one week ago af­ter a short ill­ness, acted as pro­gram­mer of the Tri­an­gle The­atre in Birm­ing­ham be­fore tak­ing up his post at the IFI in 1994.

A firm film fa­natic, with no in­cli­na­tions to­wards snob­bery, he was as happy watch­ing con­tem­pla­tive Rus­sian art films as he was laugh­ing his way through come­dies of the broad­est hue.

Grainne Humphreys, former IFI big wig and cur­rent di­rec­tor of the Jame­son Dublin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, re­called his early days pro­gram­ming a sea­son of films by the mis­chievous ex­ploita­tion mae­stro Russ Meyer. Pete’s nephew, James Mul­vey, re­mem­bered his un­cle as a source of fun and eru­di­tion at Christ­mas time. The themes from Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo and Fed­erico Fellini’s 8½ filled the space with mem­o­ries of un­touch­able clas­sics.

Out there in the dig­i­tal world, more than a few distin­guished cin­ema folk paid trib­ute. Nigel Floyd, the prom­i­nent Bri­tish critic, de­scribed Pete as “a cineaste of the old school”. Ge­off An­drew, head of film pro­gramme at the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute, said he was a “sup­porter of all that’s worth stick­ing up for”. Adrian Wooton, CEO of Film Lon­don, noted that he “gave so many peo­ple, in­clud­ing me, their first jobs in film.” Watch this space for ru­moured trib­ute screen­ings.

Pho­to­graph: Ki­nop­o­lis/To­masz Bereska

Pete Walsh: “a source of fun and eru­di­tion”.

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