Top directors including Anthony Minghella, Atom Egoyan and David Mamet are expected to attend the ambitious "Beckett on Film" project, a week-long series of screenings of filmed versions of Samuel Beckett's 19 plays, which kicks off at the Irish Film Centre in Dublin today.
Some of the films have already been given festival screenings at Cannes, Toronto, Venice, New York, Cork and Belfast, but the coming week's repertory is the world premiere of the completed project.
Produced by Dublin's Blue Angel Films and backed by RTE, the Irish Film Board, Channel 4 and Tyrone Productions, the project has attracted an array of talented film-makers, 18 of which are expected in Dublin for the launch. Also set to attend are Patricia Rozema, Karel Reisz, Charles Sturridge and Richard Eyre, while Neil Jordan leads a contingent of Irish film makers including Damien O'Donnell, Conor McPherson, Kieron J Walsh and Enda Hughes.
The project received its initial backing from RTE as part of the state broadcaster's programming to mark the Millennium.
The plays, which range in length from the 45-second Breath to the two-hour Waiting For Godot, were shot over 12 months to December 2000 in studios in Ireland and the UK and on location in Ireland, Tenerife and the UK. The cast includes Julianne Moore, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Juliet Stevenson, Sian Phillips, Anna Massey, David Thewlis, Harold Pinter and, in his last performance on screen, John Gielgud.
Neil Jordan has donated an installation to the Irish Museum of Modern Art based on six 13-minute takes of Not I. After selected screenings of the entire project internationally there are plans to release the films on different media, including DVD and video.