International Film Festival Rotterdam

Donal Foreman – The Image You Missed #IFFR2018

Play Podcast
12 min. and 47 sec.

Foreman’s fascinating essay documentary about his father, filmmaker Arthur MacCaig.

Play Podcast
12 min. and 47 sec.

PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Donal Foreman, director of the documentary The Image You Missed.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Director Donal Foreman presented his latest film, The Image You Missed, at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam where it had its world premiere. The film sees Foreman exploring the archive of his father, American documentary filmmaker Arthur MacCaig, who made many films about the conflict in Northern Ireland over a thirty year period. In this interview he tells us that he hardly knew his father growing up, but when he died ten years ago, he came into possession of his film archive, which included approximately one hundred hours of footage: “I had a feeling that there was a film here, that there was something to be done with this material.” The Image You Missed was also a film Foreman claims he needed to make; he calls it “a personal journey and a way to challenge myself as a filmmaker.” The director had, in fact, never made an essay documentary before. The voice over of The Image You Missed is in the form of a letter that Foreman addresses to his father, “a dialogue with him, or a ghost of him, or a fiction of him I have invented,” he tells us. In this interview, he also talks about the differences between his filmmaking style and that of his father, whether his father subconsciously influenced Foreman’s decision to become a filmmaker despite his absence, the potential for manipulation of an image, and more.

The Image You Missed: “An American in Paris making films about Ireland” – this is how Donal Foreman describes his father, Arthur MacCaig, in The Image You Missed, Foreman’s fascinating film essay about his father – someone he had little contact with. During his career, Irish-American MacCaig (1948-2008) made films about the conflict in Northern Ireland and left behind a visual archive spanning thirty years – images Foreman uses to find out what he has in common with his father. Both make films, both emigrated to another country, albeit in opposite directions: from America to Europe and vice versa. But it’s the differences that stand out: Foreman moved back to Dublin, while MacCaig had preferred to film in divided Belfast. The main difference lies in their approach to images and what these say. Foreman, for example, analyses what is missing from the films MacCaig made. And although he has respect for his father’s political convictions, he does not share them.


  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Donal Foreman
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    The Image You Missed
  • Festival section
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