"I like the old masters, by which I mean John Ford, John Ford and John Ford."
- Orson Welles
The John Ford Award honours the legacy of John Ford and is presented to a world-renowned filmmaker for his/her body of work and has been inspired by, and learned from, the work of Ford.
The John Ford Award recipient is a filmmaker who has an individuality, a uniqueness of vision and distinctive artistic talent - a contemporary director whose career continues the legacy of great filmmaking and storytelling. The recipient's work is admired by critics and cinema lovers alike, akin to that of the great movie master John Ford.
The inaugural John Ford Award presented to Clint Eastwood
Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the US, presented the inaugural JOHN FORD Award to Clint Eastwood at a reception held in Burbank, California which was attended by members of the Ford family including Dan Ford, author and grandson of John Ford.
As a filmmaker Clint Eastwood is inspirational.
"His films have great integrity, connecting with people from ‘all walks of life’ around the world. He is the master story-teller with a perceptive intelligence, delivering each narrative with a simplicity and sparseness that underlines a depth of emotional connection with his characters and the audience. Themes of migration, identity, loss, guilt, redemption, and faith in the human spirit – these are his themes, as they were Ford’s; whether that be in the LA suburbs, in the ‘wild west’ or in, like Ford, the West of Ireland."
Áine Moriarty, CEO of the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) and John Ford Ireland Committee Member
Ambassador Michael Collins and Clint Eastwood in
- Clint Eastwood
About Clint Eastwood and John Ford:
“Clint Eastwood shares with John Ford the journey west in pursuit of the American dream but like Ford, he is also aware that dreams are for worlds that are lost or endangered, as much as kingdoms yet to come.
Yeats’s isle of Innisfree is at the centre of Ford’s The Quiet Man, where an American, Sean Thornton, scared by the violence of the boxing ring, re-connects with the submerged culture of his immigrant background. In Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, Yeats’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’ allows another man with a shattered past, the boxing trainer Frankie Dunn, to salvage the remnants of his ideals through belief in his own ‘Macushla’, Maggie Fitzgerald.
It is this ability to turn unrequited pasts into visions of the future that marks the achievement of both Clint Eastwood and John Ford, reconnecting the Hollywood dream itself with the lives of those who pick up the pieces in their everyday lives.”
Luke Gibbons, JOHN FORD Ireland Committee Member & Professor at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth
"This is a great privilege for me because any kind of association with John Ford is most directors’ dream as he was certainly a pioneer of American filmmaking and I grew up on his films. His Westerns had a great influence on me, as I think they had on everybody."
“At the heart of John Ford’s films is a commitment to the family and community, though this is often tempered by the actions of the outsider, the loner who defines the community through his difference. In America, the Irish were part of the national community, yet they were set apart from it by their other national allegiance.
Eastwood’s directorial sense of what formed and informs America is close to Ford’s, most especially the migrant’s or the underdog’s distance from the ‘establishment’.
Over almost a century of directing, John Ford (from 1917–64) and Clint Eastwood (from 1971) have explored the pulse of America, its complex, multi-dimensional character. Whether their films are informed by the direct Irish ancestry of Ford, or Eastwood’s combination of Irish, Scottish and English roots, which perhaps reflects more fully the island of Ireland’s ethnic diversity, the comparisons between the two are all the more intriguing and productive. In this regard, it is revealing that one of Eastwood’s favourite films is Ford’s ‘autobiographical’ How Green Was My Valley (1941), a film of displaced Irishness in a Welsh setting.”
Kevin Rockett, JOHN FORD Ireland Committee Member, Professor in the Department of Film Studies, Trinity College, Dublin.