The original idea for the Richard Harris International Film Festival came to Rob Gill during a community meeting for ‘The Gathering’ initiative in October 2012. Following a call-out from Rob, Eleanor McSherry and Zeb Moore came onboard in early 2013. The inaugural Festival in 2013 was a one and a half day festival with 10 screenings.
The founders in 2013 were Rob, Zeb and Sylvia Moore, and original creative director Eleanor McSherry (2013 and 2014). Under the management of festival director Zeb Moore, festival chair Rob Gill and the creative direction of Sylvia Moore, overseen by the board and the Harris family, it has grown to be a five-day festival with 120 shorts and features screening in 2017, innovative live events and a unique live-streamed awards show produced by Simon McGuire in conjunction with Limerick Institute of Technology’s Creative Broadcast & Film Students.
This film festival is to celebrate Richard Harris’ unique talent in the city where he was born and raised. Along with viewings of his most iconic films such as The Field, This Sporting Life, Unforgiven and Camelot, the festival is a showcase for young filmmakers, feature filmmakers from the Irish Diaspora, theatrical performers, poets, singers and writers.
Richard is known worldwide for his acting, singing and poetry. We find many international filmmakers submitting their films to RHIFF have met Richard and/or been inspired by him. He always encouraged those he met to follow their dreams and his legacy is not just his own works but many of the works we see submitted year on year. RHIFF honours his legacy of supporting and nurturing filmmakers.
Richard’s family members attend each year, his cousin Hayman Harris sits on the board of directors and his son’s Damian, Jared and Jamie, provide advice and enjoy meeting filmmakers in Limerick at the many events that take place during the festival weekend.
This year the festival is expecting record attendance with 200 avid film fans, fanatics and industry professionals attending the awards at Thomond Park Stadium, Home of Munster Rugby, more than just a stadium.