Monday, September 10, 2012

IFI20: Back to School

When I returned to Ireland in 1997 after seven years of wandering - as part of the returned generation, reprieved of 'exile' - I anxiously took myself around Dublin to see what had changed. Would I fit in? Where would my haunts be? 

I remember wandering through Temple Bar and marveling at its cosmopolitan air and walking down the tunnel of the IFC (as it then was) and running into an old school friend who took up exactly where we had left off - as if I hadn't been away a wet day. I was thrilled to be home and the IFC has been associated with that idea - home - ever since. I thought, ‘This is where I want to be.’ 

I got lucky; a year later there was an ad for an Education Officer that suited me down to the ground. I applied and got it. Delighted. I was to be in charge of the school's programme and as I got going I got lucky again. One evening, the last in the building, I answered the phone. It was someone from the French Embassy. We got talking. I told her about my job and she asked if I'd like to go to Paris to find out how they do it there? Mais Oui! I went and all kinds of interesting conversations and visits were arranged – to schools, Les cinĂ©mas Art et Essai, the CNC. I brought home three ideas: a broader range of films for schools to come and see; training for teachers about film and the creation of study guides. All this went down well and we got busy and we grew from there. 

I got lucky a third time when I met Clare working in the Marketing Department and we later married. Our daughter had her Holy Communion reception on the balcony of the IFC because our house was too small. A home from home. (Thanks Bert!). I moved on, reluctantly, after four wonderful years but in a sense I’ve never left. It’s still the first place I go to when I get off any bus to Dublin. I’ve spend many memorable days and nights within its walls at films, interviews, conferences, launches and I intend to for many years to come.

Tony Tracy
Course Director: BA with Film Studies
Huston School of Film and Digital Media
NUI Galway

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