Charlie Chaplin film festival planned for Kerry


A COMEDY film festival dedicated to Charlie Chaplin the comic actor who lifted people’s spirits after the first World War and the Great Depression, is being planned for Waterville, Co Kerry, with the help of the Chaplin family.

The actor – whose motto was “life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in a long shot” – loved the seaside golf and fishing village and spent every summer with his family there for almost 40 years.

The Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival will get under way in August next year but planning is already advanced.

Josephine Chaplin, daughter of the actor and patron of the festival, told The Irish Timesthis weekend: “A Waterville film festival is a special dream of mine. The village of Waterville I remember was a magical oasis beside the ocean surrounded by lakes and magnificent mountains. It was held in particular affection by my father and my mother and indeed all our family who spent many holidays there.”

The festival she was helping to establish would grow annually to international status, she said.

“I’m sure my father would have liked to see his name honoured in this way, as a means of revitalising and bringing attention to the fine village he loved so well,” she said.

Noelle Campbell-Sharpe, founder of the Cill Rialaig artists retreat in Kerry, is one of the patrons and film directors have been invited to stay at the centre for a preview of the proposals.

A bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin overlooking the seafront in Waterville is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, with bus loads stopping at the statue throughout the summer.

Fan clubs of Chaplin and film buffs have already been contacted, and a good deal of research has been undertaken, said local architect Albert Walsh, who is organising events.

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