69th edition. October 18-26, 2024

Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan to receive the Honorary Spike of the Valladolid International Film Festival

The winner of  Berlin’s  Golden Bear for In the Name of the Father will give a master class on Thursday 27 October in the Miguel Delibes Hall of Teatro Calderón

Filmmaker Jim Sheridan, the author of titles such as My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father and In America, will receive the Honorary Spike of the Valladolid International Film Festival,  which this year has chosen  Ireland, Sheridan’s birthplace, as its guest country. The Irish director, who will receive this recognition during the Closing Gala of the 67th Seminci, will also give a master class scheduled for Thursday 27 October at 12:00 noon on the set of Canal Seminci, in the Miguel Delibes Hall of  Teatro Calderón.

A producer, director, screenwriter and actor, he is one of Ireland’s leading filmmakers, having earned six Oscar nominations, three BAFTA nominations and two Golden Globe nominations, among other distinctions. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Jim Sheridan began his career in his father’s amateur theatre company, acting in and occasionally directing plays, when he was just 17. He studied acting at University College Dublin and was still pursuing this vocation when, in 1973, he and director Neil Jordan founded the Children’s T Company, a production company that introduced theatre to children throughout Ireland.

In 1976, he and his brother Peter, a playwright, began an association with Dublin’s Project Arts Theatre where they staged a number of plays, including ‘The Liberty Suit‘ (1977). In 1981, Sheridan immigrated with his family  to New York City where he became the artistic director of the New York Irish Arts Center. He left the stage in 1987 to concentrate on filmmaking, enrolling in an eight-week course at New York University in 1988. In those years he wrote the screenplay for Into the West, which Mike Newell would end up directing in 1992.

He ended the 1980s moving back to Ireland and writing and directing his first feature film, My Left Foot (1989), which was the  first of three collaborations with Daniel Day-Lewis, the winner of  the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film, and won Brenda Fricker the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

After turning down several projects in the US, Sheridan collaborated again with producer Noel Pearson in the film The Field (1990), before shooting In the Name of the Father (1993), where he told the story of the unjust imprisonment of the Guildford Four in a film that aroused much controversy and critical acclaim.  Sheridan offers his version of the story of the Guildford Four, one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in UK history. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thomson, the film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and earned seven Oscar nominations that year.

In The Boxer (1997), his next feature, also starring Day-Lewis, Sheridan explores the consequences of the Ulster conflict on the people forced to grow up in the midst of it. In America (2002), his most autobiographical film, co-written with two of his daughters, Naomi and Kirsten Sheridan, and dedicated to his brother Frank, he explores the reality of Irish immigrants in New York. This film will be shown in the retrospective Guest Country: Ireland, along with Disco Pigs (2001), his daughter Kirsten Sheridan’s first feature.

In America (2002)

His extensive filmography is complete with the films Get Rich or Die Tryin (2005), Brothers (2009), Dream House (2011), and The Secret Scripture (2016), his latest feature film to date. Sheridan, who in 2021 shot the documentary series  Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie, is currently immersed in several projects, such as the documentary series In Absentia, the documentary Peter O’Toole: Along the Sky Road to Aqaba, and the films Old Stoneface and Lockerbie.

The tribute to Jim Sheridan takes place within the framework of the retrospective Guest Country: Ireland, which will offer a selection of the country’s cinema over the last two decades. A total of 19 feature films, four of them documentaries, a programme of animated shorts consisting of five titles and a medium-length documentary, will make up this sample of Irish cinema of the 21st century, which will be rounded off with a special screening of the film Into the West, directed by Mike Newell and with a script by Jim Sheridan, on the occasion of its  30th anniversary. The retrospective  is organised by the Valladolid International Film Festival in collaboration with The Irish Film Institute, Culture Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Spain.

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