Ann McDermott has been involved with the Fermanagh Live Arts Festival (FLive) for ten years and this year she has taken on the role of Chairwoman of the FLive board.

As a number of the festival’s fringe events get underway, including a visual arts trail which features a variety of esteemed artists exhibiting throughout Enniskillen, Ann explained why she believes promoting the arts is of such great importance.

“I think the importance of arts and culture to a community cannot be overestimated,” commented Ann, adding: “It is the unquantifiable element that adds richness and depth to our lives. I think everybody needs a bit of beauty in their lives and joy, and I think the festival does that.”

Ann first became involved with the festival due to her association as chairwoman of Fermanagh Film Club. “We in Fermanagh Film Club felt that film should be an integral part of the arts and with the support of the board of FLive , we have screened a variety of films, with an emphasis on home grown talent over the past years.”

This emphasis on home grown talent is evident in the film that will be shown during this year’s upcoming festival, as local film producer Brian J. Falconer brings the critically acclaimed ‘The Dig’ to a Fermanagh audience.

Explaining that each member of the board take on one or two events to organise in their entirety, Ann noted that showcasing ‘The Dig’ is one of the events that she has organised for this year.

“I’ve been liaising with Brian over that and he’s doing a workshop with the Moving Image Arts students around the town. Performing arts and Moving Image Arts students are going to go to South West College to do a workshop in the afternoon and then the film is on in the evening.”

Ann also shared that Brian is bringing along lead actor in ‘The Dig’ Moe Dunford and directors Andy and Ryan Tohill brothers for the FLive screening.

“They are all coming up for a question and answer session which will take place after the film and that will be in the Old Regal Cinema. It should be a great night,” said Ann.

Ann has also organised the FLive boat trip. “It has been my baby, last year we did the Cleenish Island film then we took the boat down to Cleenish and around it and back up and we got the most gorgeous day,” said Ann.

She continued: “This year we’re doing something a bit different. Scott Ramsey is going to play music on the boat so we are going to do two trips, at around an hour each and Stephen Nixon is really good and he is delighted to be involved.”

“He’s all on board, literally. He’s going to take the trip up and down, he charges the same thing every year and that’s it and Waterways Ireland sponsor it,” added Ann.

Highlighting other events in the lead up to the festival weekend, Ann said: “FLive launch is on Friday, September 20 which happens to be Culture Night but it’s Bob Quick, he’s doing a jazz evening in the Old Regal.”

She added: “The Cancer Connect train has been leant to us and it’s going to go up the town from the different visual arts places and they’ll end up then back at the Old Regal for those who want to go.”

Sharing her hopes for the future of the festival, Ann concluded: “I hope FLive will continue to grow and prosper and to be enjoyed by all the people of Fermanagh, that there will be something for everyone to look forward to and that it will continue to enrich the lives of the local community.”