The founder of the Dublin Film Festival and film critic for the Irish Times passed away this week.

Michael Dwyer, founder of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and film correspondent for The Irish Times has died after an illness. Dwyer was just 58.

Michael Dwyer, who hailed from Tralee, Co. Kerry, first became involved with film through The Tralee Film Festival in the 1970s. Dwyer then went on to create Federation of Irish Film Societies which coordinated the distribution and exhibition of arthouse films across Ireland. Dwyer was a film critic for The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Press and In Dublin magazine before going on to write for The Irish Times for more than 20 years.

Dwyer established The Dublin Film Festival in 1985. When this festival ran into financial difficulties after he had stepped back from its daily running, Dwyer then co-founded its successor – The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) which opened in 2003. Since then, JDIFF has been committed to celebrating film as an art form and has brought many stars to Dublin, including Daniel Day Lewis, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Charlize Theron, Collin Firth and Liam Neeson.

Michael Dwyer, writing three weeks ago in The Irish Times, recalled his illness following his trip to The Cannes Film Festival this year and his happiness to return to the cinema; “As the audience filed in all around us, I felt a deep sense of belonging and a surge of pleasure to be in a cinema after all those months, to be back where I belonged.”

Michael Dwyer first attended the Cannes Film Festival in 1982 and was appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2006 for his involvement with Cannes and as recognition of his position as Ireland’s foremost cinema critic. Until recently, Michael Dwyer was also on the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Michael Dwyer is survived by his partner Brian Jennings, his mother Mary and sisters Anne and Maria.

We, at thank Michael for his work to promote film in Ireland and extend our sympathies to his family and friends.