Long-Lost Classic ‘Upstream’ Irish Premiere

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) is delighted to present John Ford’s long-lost classic ‘Upstream’ to Irish audiences for the very first time in screen history.

Made in 1927, ‘Upstream’ lay hidden in the New Zealand Film Archive for over 80 years and was considered among over 60 feature films from legendary filmmaker John Ford’s early career that were lost forever. However, in 2009, the film was unearthed by film archivists searching deep within the Archive’s trove of early prints, much to the delight of film historians and movie fans who see this film as a major turning point in Ford’s directorial techniques. The momentous discovery made headlines around the globe.

On Friday 8th of June this once lost classic, a burlesque comedy set in a boarding house filled with quirky performers,  received its Irish premiere at the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium, and screened for just the second time in Europe (following a packed showing in Spain last year which drew crowds from all over the continent).

The world’s only 35mm print copy of ‘Upstream’ has travelled to Ireland from the archives at the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for this rare screening in Dublin city.

Film historian Charles Barr, Emeritus Professor at the University of East Anglia, introduced the film - describing to the audience the significance of the film’s discovery and setting the scene for this historical motion picture event in Ireland.  Renowned Pianist Conor Lenihan will provide live musical accompaniment.

IFTA Chief Executive Áine Moriarty commented, “The importance of this extraordinary discovery of Upstream in 2009 cannot be overstated and the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium is delighted to provide Irish audiences with the opportunity to see John Ford, the master filmmaker, in the early days of his career.”

Speaking about the Irish Premiere of ‘Upstream’, Charles Barr said:

“The theatrical setting for ‘Upstream’ makes a fascinating contrast to the Western and Irish settings of other Ford films: a reminder of the exhilaratingly wide range of his work, and of the importance of his roots in silent film. This is an unmissable screening."

The Irish Premiere of John Ford’s ‘Upstream’ took place on Friday 8th of June at the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium (which ran 7- 10 June).