Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Pete Walsh, programmer of the IFI, has died.

We have just heard the news that our good friend, Pete Walsh, programmer of the Irish Film Institute for the last 18 years, has died after a short illness. Pete was a film fanatic down to the soles of his …

Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 18:25

   

We have just heard the news that our good friend, Pete Walsh, programmer of the Irish Film Institute for the last 18 years, has died after a short illness. Pete was a film fanatic down to the soles of his feet. Any mention of any film director could trigger an entire evening’s digression. This image finds him resting between screenings at the Cannes film festival in 2010. He will be greatly missed.

Ross Keane, director of the Irish Film Institute, commented: “His absolute dedication to film and the IFI was unquestionable. He ate and drank film and had an unwavering appetite for more. He was a familiar sight to visitors to the IFI, always around and checking in on things to ensure everything was living up to his very high expectations.” Adrian Wooton, Chief Executive of Film London, said: “Peter Walsh was a terrifically dedicated and knowledgeable cinema programmer and gave so many people, including me, their first jobs in film.” Others paying tribute included Geoff Andrew, head of film programme at the British Film Institute, Southbank. “Very sad news about Pete Walsh,” Mr Andrew remarked. “For years a supporter of all that’s worth sticking up for.”

His greatest legacy was the array of fine films that he put before a grateful public. But I will remember him for his sly, cheeky sense of humour. Corner him in the evening and he would happily let fly a gentle stream of gossip from the corner of his mouth. There was little he didn’t know about world cinema and nothing he wasn’t prepared to give forth upon. Earlier this year, he contributed to the Sight and Sound poll of the greatest films of all time. It’s a fine list. I particularly remember him enthusing about Leonard Kastle’s strange sneaky The Honeymoon Killers. Here is his final 10.

Citizen Kane (1941)

The Honeymoon Killers (1969)

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Ordet (1955)

Persona (1966)

Rio Bravo (1958)

Sátántangó (1994)

Sunrise (1927)

Vertigo (1958)

 

 

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