The promoters of a film festival which celebrates Richard Harris in his native Limerick, has accused the city’s cultural establishment of snubbing the event after the city council gave it just €200.
Film celebrities such as Russell Crowe, Stephen Rea and Fionnula Flanagan are among the acting elite who are supporting the Richard Harris International Film Festival which runs from October 27 to 31.
Festival director, Zeb Moore said: “The city council, which spent tens of thousands on promoting the Limerick 2020 City of Culture bid which was won by Galway, has come up with €200 as a contribution to the Harris film festival. A child would get more on it’s First Holy Communion Day.
“They don’t seem to realise what is happening here with this festival. The world of film is now sitting up and taking notice of the Richard Harris International Film Festival. But those promoting culture in Limerick don’t seem interested for some reason. Of course this is not new. The city council refused to make Richard Harris a Freeman of Limerick, despite being the most famous Irishman on the planet. To get a contribution of €200 is an insult.
“Ignoring any wages it costs around €30,000 to run. We brought in over 50 international guests last year. We were recently invited by the US ambassador, Kevin O’Malley to his resident in the Phoenix Park where Jimmy Webb gave a performance. But we’ve never been invited to Limerick City Hall. This €200 we got from the council wouldn’t pay for the ink used on programmes.”
The festival, now in its fourth year, has been given the full backing of the Harris family. His first wife, Elizabeth and their three sons Damian, Jared and Jamie are travelling to Limerick for the festival. Actress Fionnula Flanagan is coming from the US for a show called ‘An Audience’ hosted by Gerry Stembridge. Crying Game star, Stephen Rea, will narrate a special live script of a new film about Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley.
Russell Crowe, who paid a brief visit to Limerick after Harris died and visited the actor’s favourite ‘local’, Charlie St George’s in Parnell Street, has also pledged his support and told the organisers he has ‘pencilled’ the festival into his diary for 2017.
Acclaimed songwriter Jimmy Webb, who has won three Grammy awards, and whose works include MacArthur Park which was a chart topper for Harris, will perform at the Lime Tree Theatre during the festival.
This year the festival introduces a sports documentary section with a production which tells the story of two American Football team owners in the 1990s. One of the team owners at the time was Donald Trump.
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