Documentary Filmmaker

Mike Dibb is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, most of which made for television, covering film, art, literature, music, science, sport and popular culture. After completing a degree at Trinity College, Dublin, he was hired in 1963 by BBC TV. He worked as an editor in the Film department until 1967, when he moved to the Music and Arts department, where he remained until 1981. During this period he directed several films, including multiple collaborations with writer John Berger (who in 2015 was a guest at LEFFEST ), the most well-known of which is the four-part series Ways of Seeing, awarded the BAFTA for Best Specialty Series and which later became a book translated and published worldwide, one of the most important for several generations of artists and students of art. Dibb has also made some films about writers, such as Octavio Paz, Lorca, A-S. Byatt or Elmore Leonard. In 1981, he joined Third Eyes Productions, where he continued to direct and produce, primarily for Channel Four. In 1986, he created his own production company, Dibb Directions Ltd. He collaborated with the BBC once again, making films and series such as Made In Latin America, about Latin American culture. In 1994, he co-directed with Stephen Frears the documentary Typically British, about the history of British cinema. His film The Miles Davis Story won the Royal Philharmonic Society Television Award and an Emmy for Best Art Documentary of the Year (2001). He also made a film about Keith Jarret and another about the composer and bandoneon player Astor Piazolla.

From his extensive filmography, we organized seven sessions, chosen with the director who will be present to comment on several of them (some in dialogue with artists and musicians). First, his collaboration with John Berger (an episode of Ways of Seeing and Once upon a Time, from the series About Time, directed between 1983 and 1985 for Channel 4); the film Seeing Through Drawing (1977-78), the most important of those he made about art after Ways of Seeing, with the participation, among others, of David Hockney, the illustrator Ralph Steadman and the American pop artist Jim Dine, who draw and talk about drawing and the artists they admire. The third session is devoted to films about literature and writers: The Spirit of Lorca (1986, with Lorca's biographer Ian Gibson) and The Further Adventures of Don Quijote, an essay in which writers Carlos Fuentes, AS Byatt and Ben Okri participate, about the interpretation and the way in which one of the most famous and influential novels, Quixote, by Cervantes, has been reworked over time. In the fourth and fifth sessions we will see two films dedicated to great jazz legends: The Miles Davis Story (2000-01), winner of an EMMY for Best Documentary, and Keith Jarrett – the Art of Improvisation (2004-05), which is also an important film in understanding his approach to cinema. Closing this program, the director's most recent film, the unreleased Painted With My Hair (2021), a haunting portrait of Donny Johnson, an American prisoner who was in solitary confinement for 24 years, which gave him an impulse to paint . As he was not allowed to have painting materials, he made brushes from his own hair and used M&Ms to make colors, painting on the back of postcards.