A Question of Taste with Frankie Ross

Frankie Ross of Fastnet Film Festival.

Frankie Ross is director of operations for next week’s Fastnet Film Festival in Schull, Co Cork.

Born in Belfast, Ross says: “As soon as I found West Cork knew I knew this is where I will be until the day comes to scatter my ashes from the top of Mount Gabriel.”

Best recent book you’ve read:

At the moment I’m reading Dancer by Colum McCann and I’m dreading coming to the last page.

Best recent film you’ve seen:

Twice a month we run a Movie Night in the Fastnet Film Centre in Schull and a recent choice that made a strong impression was Lemon Tree by the Israeli director Eran Riklis. It presents the differences in perceptions between Palestinians and Israelis who live side by side on the West Bank border.

Best recent show you’ve seen:

The screening of The English Patient in the Royal Albert Hall, listening to the score played live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

Mick Flannery’s Boston. I’m going to see him in the Everyman in June (present from my daughter who introduced me to his music).

First film that really moved you:

To Kill a Mockingbird — not original I know but it really did stop me in my tracks the first time I watch it.

The best gig you’ve ever seen:

Three for the price of one: Leonard Cohen in Kilmainham, Leonard Cohen in the O2, Leonard Cohen in Lissadell, Co Sligo.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I watch the news a lot and admit to being addicted to the tragi-comedy of Brexit in the British Parliament. I like some of the reruns on ITV 3 such as Vera and particularly enjoy the Lewis and Endeavor series based on Morse which was directed by one of our Fastnet Film Festival Patrons, the late and much-loved Jack Gold, and beautifully filmed by Chris O’Dell who is one of the founders of FFF and is a neighbour in Ballydehob.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

RTE Radio 1 almost exclusively on weekdays and Lyric FM after Marian Finucane on weekends. We underestimate in Ireland how good our public radio is which is informative and totally accessible. Sometimes I would listen to Cork C103 in the car for local news and events.

Your best celebrity encounter:

An almost-encounter is more impressive than an actual one. Gregory Peck was due to visit friends of mine in Schull and I was invited to dinner. Sadly, Mr Peck’s Irish trip was cancelled at the last minute as he had fallen ill. How lovely it would have been to pass the bread to Atticus and listen to that glorious voice at close quarters. The actual encounter was with Roger Moore at a birthday party in London. He was sitting in an alcove in a throne-like chair flanked by minders. I was introduced and we shook hands. I said ‘Hello’. Can’t remember if he replied.

Of the events you’ve attended at Fastnet, what’s your favourite?

It’s got to be Lady Windemere’s Fan in last year’s Festival when Carl Davis, who wrote the score for the film, conducted the three gorgeous Trio Apache musicians while we watched Kevin Brownlow’s restored silent movie. Spine-tingling.

You are curating your dream film festival — which three film-makers are on the bill (dead or alive)?

Werner Herzog for a workshop on managing the challenges of filming in mountainous areas (using Fitzcarraldo as a case study), Lenny Abrahamson for a masterclass on the craft and discipline of presenting a moral

question in a film and allowing the audience to answer it for themselves, Billy Wilder for a Q&A session on directing Hollywood egos (with all the gossipy bits).

You can portal back to any period of cultural history or music event — where, when, and why?

The Beatles in the Adelphi in 1963.

Unsung hero — individual or group who don’t get the praise they deserve:

The quiet people in the world whose second nature is to perform ‘little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love’.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?

All windows must be self-cleaning.

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