The Board and Staff of IFI are deeply saddened to learn of the death of IFI Council Member filmmaker Tom Collins. A longtime advocate of the Institute and a regular at our cinemas, Tom (Tommy to some) was always supportive of our endeavours to disseminate his work through a variety of networks. His Derry childhood reverberated through his career as film producer and director with many of his fiction and documentary films focusing on Northern Irish stories – films such as the feature drama Bogwoman (1997) and the documentaries Teenage Kicks- the Undertones (2006) and The Boys of Saint Columbs (2009). He embraced Irish language production with An Bronntanas (The Gift, 2014) and Aithrí (Penance – 2018) and his seminal feature Kings (2007), Ireland’s choice for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, stands as one of the most successful Irish language cinema releases to date and continues to reach and impact audiences with its powerful and moving account of a marginalized Irish community in London.
If by his friends we are to know him we have just to look at Tom’s collaborators, many of whom were lifelong friends – Margo Harkin, Donal McCann, Bob Quinn, Colm Meaney, Rachel Dowling, Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane and John Hume – to get an inkling of the quality of the man: a person with enormous warmth, integrity and a cracking sense of humour, a nose for a good story and the talent to realise it on screen. He leaves a significant body of work in his wake.
Our thoughts are with his family at this time – especially our programming colleague Eibh O’Brien-Collins, of whom he was endlessly proud.
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