Symposium's inaugural honoree is Clint Eastwood

The Irish Film and Television Academy and the John Ford Estate are setting up the John Ford Ireland Symposium, an annual event celebrating the life and work of the iconic director and his continuing influence on the industry.

The inaugural confab, due to take place in Dublin in June, has announced that the first recipient of the event’s John Ford Award is Clint Eastwood, who accepted the honor from Michael Collins, Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S., and IFTA chief exec Aine Moriarty, at a reception in Burbank on Dec. 6 attended by members of Ford’s family.

The planned symposium, which will include a competitive component, will feature a retrospective of Ford’s films, a spotlight on Eastwood’s work, plus screenings, exhibitions, discussions, master classes, lectures and public interviews designed to attract public and industry participation from around the world.

Invited guest experts will be selected on the basis of either Ford’s influence on their own work, their experience in filmmaking or from their working relationship with the John Ford Award recipient.

In 2013, John Ford Ireland will introduce a scholarship with eight first-time filmmakers from around the world selected to take part in the Ford Film School.

Ford, an Irish-American whose parents were raised on the west coast of Ireland, was a cinema pioneer who made 136 films in his nearly 60-year career. He emphasized his heritage in such films as “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne.

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