Tributes as Derry filmmaker Tom Collins passes away

The late Tom Collins.The late Tom Collins.
The late Tom Collins.
Tributes have been paid to Derry filmmaker Tom Collins who has died.

The filmmaker’s death was announced on Twitter by his daughter, Eibh O’Brien-Collins, who posted: “I am heartbroken to say that after a heroically long battle with cancer, dad has peacefully passed away.”

She said her father had lived “one hell of an amazing, full, big life” and that he would be missed by many.

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Tom Collins wrote and directed “Teenage Kicks: The Undertones”, a 2006 film chronicling the story of the Derry punk legends.

Tom Collins filming on location in Derry.Tom Collins filming on location in Derry.
Tom Collins filming on location in Derry.

His critically-acclaimed work also included the documentary, “The Boys of St Columb’s”, which featured Nobel laureates John Hume and Seamus Heaney, and the Irish language film, “Kings”, starring Colm Meaney, which was selected as Ireland’s entry for best foreign language film at the 2008 Academy Awards.

Born and raised in Derry, Tom Collins was an early contributor to the Derry Film and Video Collective during the mid-1980s.

His film career began as photographer on the documentary “Mother Ireland” (1986) and he was producer on the Margo Harkin-directed ‘Hush-a-Bye Baby’ (1990) which featured a young Sinead O’Connor.

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Among those paying tribute to the film-maker was the Nerve Centre, the Derry multi-media hub, which described his passing as “a huge loss to the film making community in Ireland”.

Pearse Moore, chief executive of the Nerve Centre, said: “Tom was a very close friend and professional colleague who we had the privilege of working with on a number of projects. We are devastated to hear of his passing both personally and professionally as his passing will be a huge loss to the film making community in Ireland. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Screen Ireland said it was ‘saddened’ to hear of Tom Collins’ passing. In a statement, it said: “An acclaimed filmmaker across Irish film and documentary, Tommy Collins was the writer and director of seminal Irish-language film Kings (2007), which won several awards and was submitted as Ireland’s official entry to the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

“His contribution to Irish-language cinema and television included the acclaimed mini-series and feature film An Brontannas/The Gift (2014) and Penance (2018), as well as being a prolific documentary and short filmmaker.

“The staff and board of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland offer our condolences to Tom’s family and loved ones at this sad time.”

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