Friday, November 18, 2011

Job Shadow Initiative Award for the IFI Irish Film Archive

Last April I had the rewarding experience of spending my work day in the company of Darren McCarthy, who was sent from the CRC on the Job Shadow Initiative. Brainchild of the IASE, this scheme teams disabled people with employees nationwide for a day or week every April. Its dual remit is education of companies in the potential benefits disabled people can bring to the workplace, while giving participants an insight into what it is like to work for a company for a day. 

CRC Cert presentation at the Marino College

Credit must go the Lucy Collis, Darren’s key-worker for her fortuitous placement of a candidate with extraordinary suitability for the archive. Darren modestly introduced himself as a film collector, but is more of a curator, having amassed a personal archive of some thousands of film titles on DVD. Moreover, Darren has consolidated one of the largest personal repositories of film titles, with an exhaustive encyclopaedic knowledge of its content.

A cinematic kinship blossomed when I learned Darren was a fellow horror cinema enthusiast. Glaring gaps in my knowledge were filled and I was soon grounded in the realisation that I was a mere fan in the presence of an aficionado of great standing. From Hitchcock to Carpenter, Darren could answer any question on the genre. More impressive still was his talent for instant recall of any gem from his vast trove of film knowledge. This faculty was advanced beyond expertise, and any film organisation would benefit from such an exceptional asset.

Darren McCarthy at the IFI Irish Film Archive

Darren personifies the truth in the old saying ‘there’s no teaching like self-teaching’. His self-taught ethos was a catalytic inspiration for me to reinvigorate my own learning curve. I also felt Darren stimulated my colleagues in a distinct way, both more insightful and endearing that many esteemed visitors from ‘The Industry’ over the years.

For my part I wished to impart to Darren the hands-on experience of repairing a 35mm print post screening, and in urgent need of work. With splicer in hand we set to work on a Steenbeck, an antiquated pre-digital editing machine. We then updated the record for the film in inmagic, the IFA’s database on which its collections are meticulously catalogued. That we gelled as a team was evident in our completion of this task in record time.

In today’s proliferation of googling generalists, it was refreshing to behold Darren’s authoritative knowledge of a specialised field, wrought through years of dedicated film procurement and meticulous study. This was complemented with Darren’s fluid command of the net, evident in scenes he provided to illustrate films under discussion.

Gavin Martin (IFI) collecting the Award

While collecting our respective awards from presidential candidate Seán Gallagher and Lord Mayor Andrew Montague, Darren enthused about an I.T. course he was set to start at Marino College. I hope his exposure to our database will benefit this endeavour, especially if he creates records for his own vast collection some day.

Gavin Martin
Collections Officer
IFI Irish Film Archive

For more information on the IFI Irish Film Archive, visit our website [here].
Watch the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund film, starring Saoirse Ronan [here].

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gavin. Great blog. It is great to hear such posiotive words from an employer on their experience of Job Shadow. It sounds like it was a fantastic experience to yourself and Darren. Reading this blog reminds us all why we run such initiatives.


    Greg Barry