DESPITE being a late withdrawal last year due to a clash of shooting schedules, film star Jared Harris is to jet into Limerick for a festival in his father’s name this month.
The Mad Men star and his wife Allegra, along with his brother Jamie, will attend the second staging of the Richard Harris Film Festival, which was launched in Thomond Park this week.
Organisers confirmed that they had signed a three-year contract with the Harris estate to guarantee representation from the family at the October 24-26 festival, which this year boasts a hook up with the a Los Angeles film festival.
“We are delighted and the linkage with Newport Beach Film Festival is our major selling point,” explained commercial director of the festival, Rob Gill.
“Because last year was our first year, the Harris family didn’t know what to expect. This year they bought into it a lot and they are really keen to progress it and to support it and make it successful.
“Like ourselves, they want it to be a legacy event. We want it to be a living memorial to Richard Harris.”
Richard’s nephew Hayman Harris, who lives in Rhebogue, was at the launch and said the family were “delighted that the people involved are so enthusiastic and want to carry on his memory, which is great.
“The whole idea is to carry on his memory and give inspiration to young people who want to get into the business, that Limerick is not far removed from Hollywood or wherever, that it is still possible. He has proved that and other people are proving it as well,” he said.
Mayor Michael Sheahan launched the festival and said that “we need to establish a bigger connect with the Harris family”.
“It is wonderful for Limerick and we should do a lot more in Richard’s name,” he said.
Included among the three-day festival will be screenings of The Field, What Richard Did, Starred Up and a short film competition. The theme of the festival is the Irish Diaspora abroad, fitting given that the idea for it was dreamed up at a meeting for The Gathering by Rob Gill, Zeb Moore and Eleanor McSherry.
The winners of the short film competition will go forward for screening in Newport Beach.
“It is going to be huge, the competition is going to be a really high standard this year,” said production director and film maker Zeb Moore.
“We are the only festival in Ireland that has that connection with an LA company so that has really stepped it up. It is a massive opportunity for Irish film makers.”
See the website www.richardharrisfilmfestival.com