John Walsh (filmmaker)

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John Walsh
John Walsh wikipedia profile.jpg
Walsh at BAFTA Film Awards[1]
London, England
NationalityBritish, Irish
EducationLondon Film School[2]
OccupationFilm Director
Film Producer
Notable work
ToryBoy The Movie
Headhunting The Homeless

Filmmaker John Walsh was born in London and is founder of film company Walsh Bros Ltd.[3] His film work on subjects such as social mobility and social justice have brought him awards, including two BAFTA nominations.

A filmmaker from a young age, Walsh had his first super-8 camera by the age of ten.[4] At the age of 18 he was the youngest student accepted to the London Film School in 1989[5] where his documentary work got him noticed with his film on stop-motion animation filmmaker Ray Harryhausen. Walsh graduated from the London Film School in 1990 or 1991, according to its blog.[6][7] Walsh is a Trustee of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.[8][9]


In 2010 John Walsh stood as a Parliamentary candidate in the 2010 General Election and made the gonzo-style documentary feature film Tory Boy The Movie which was released in cinemas in 2011 and 2012.[10] The film follows Walsh as he becomes a Conservative candidate after a lifetime of voting Labour. In the film, he claims that Sir Stuart Bell, the Labour Party's MP in Middlesbrough, is absent so often from Middlesbrough that he is an unsuitable candidate.[11] According to Richard Moss, the political editor for BBC North East & Cumbria, "some silliness aside, it is a thought-provoking insight into the way our political system works or doesn't work on the ground."[12] It was subsequently nominated for the Grierson Awards for "Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme".[13] The film received a re-release in cinemas in 2015 in the lead-up to the 2015 UK General Election.[14][15] The student union at Teesside University cancelled a screening of it in 2015.[16]

In 2014 Walsh's remastered version of the film Monarch was released.[17] The original negative for the film had been lost. The film starred late Irish stage and screen actor T. P. McKenna and Jean Marsh.[18] This subsequently led to cinema showing starting at the Tricycle Cinema.[19][20][21]


In 2010, Walsh's five part BBC series on childhood homeless Sofa Surfers[22] was nominated for the Social Award at the Rose d'Or Awards.[23]

The BAFTA-nominated 2010 film My Life: Karate Kids[24] for the first time tackled issues of bullying among disabled children. It was narrated by David Tennant.[25][26] This is also one of the most repeated documentaries in BBC history.[27]

The Monte Carlo Golden Nymph Award nominated[28] BBC film Toy Soldiers, made in 2010 and screened in 2014, presented the point of view of the bereaved children of UK service personnel. Walsh discussed this on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme.[29] The film was mentioned positively by retired psychiatrist Geraldine Walford, who said been shown in schools across the country[30] It was also nominated for Foundation Prix Jeunesse in 2012.

Walsh's three-part Grierson Trust-nominated BBC series Headhunting The Homeless[31] was part of the BBC's 120 most treasured programmes of the first half of 2013 in the corporation's drive to convince its critics that the licence fee should not be abolished.[32]The Guardian described the series as "truly touching".[33] and also chose it as their Pick of the Day[34] Walsh worked with charity boss Eva Hamilton MBE again on her subsequent venture Key4Life[35] and made a five-minute publicity film for them in December 2013 about their work with former young offenders.[36]

The BAFTA-nominated[37] and New York Film Festival-winning[38] Channel 4 series Don't Make Me Angry was about anger management.[39] This ran for two series.[40]

Walsh Bros Ltd.[edit]

John Walsh founded his company in 1992.[41] Walsh Bros Ltd. was ranked in the Televisual Magazine's list of the top 100 independent film companies in the UK in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.[42][43][44][45]

Ray Harryhausen Foundation[edit]

Walsh has been a Trustee of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation since 2014.[9] He first met with Ray Harryhausen in the late 1980s as a film student of the London Film School[46] and in 1990 wrote and directed a fifteen-minute documentary entitled Ray Harryhausen: Movement Into Life narrated by Tom Baker.

Walsh filmed and recorded commentary tracks with Ray Harryhausen in his London home commencing 17 May 2012.[47] Since that date recordings were made for Clash of The Titans, Mysterious Island, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, First Men in the Moon with Randy Cook, The Valley of Gwangi with his daughter Vanessa Harryhausen, One Million Years B.C. with Martine Beswick, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad with fellow Trustee Caroline Munro, Mighty Joe Young with film director John Landis and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger with SFX artist Colin Arthur.[48][49] Walsh donated the film and sound footage to the Ray Harryhausen Foundation[50] and they contain many new revelations by Ray on how his films were created and produced.

The Foundation launched The Ray Harryhausen Podcast[51] in February 2016.[52] This included never before heard audio from Ray Harryhausen.[53] Hosted by Collections Manager Connor Heaney[54] and Walsh, these were made available and broadcast via iTunes[55] and SoundCloud.[52] In July 2017 the podcast series was nominated by a listener for the People's Choice Podcast Awards in the category of the Film & TV.[citation needed] In February 2018, the podcast series was nominated for a Rondo Hatton Award "For Best Multi-Media Programme"[56]

In 2016, The Scotsman reported on the centenary plans for the Foundation with a tour of items from the collection quoting Walsh "As 2020 will be Ray’s centenary, we want to do a series of events counting down to this date."[57] Among these events were an exhibition, entitled "Ray Harryhausen - Mythical Menagerie", of Ray Harryhausen's models, to take place at the Science Museum Oklahoma. In the Foundation's publicity for it (also quoted in the local newspaper In The Oklahoman), Walsh said "The collection held at The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation is not just artifacts of historical and cinematic importance, but is also a window into the science of photo chemical film making".[58] The exhibition will opened to the public on 29 July 2017 and closed on 3 December 2017.[59][60] USA Today named it as one of 22 "best museum exhibits in the U.S. this fall".[61] In 2018 the exhibition was nominated for a Rondo Hatton Award for "Best Live Event"[56]

A small exhibition at Tate Britain from 26 June to 19 November 2017 of work from the Harryhausen collection[62] includes a short film made by Walsh on the restoration of a painting owned by Harryhausen which influenced his work.[63]

Walsh was interviewed by Screem Magazine in 2017 about the Blu-ray re-release of Ray Harryhausen's The Valley of Gwangi.[64] The interview as subsequently nominated in 2018 for a Rondo Hatton Award for "Best Interview".[56]

In October 2018 Variety (magazine) reported that the Foundation would be reviving one of the unmade Harryhausen films, provisionally entitled Force of the Trojans, on partnership with Morningside Productions,[65] the company at which Charles H. Schneer created many of the Harryhausen movies.

Public speaking[edit]

Walsh has spoken on the radio about his film work, for instance on Today BBC Radio 4 discussing his war documentary Toy Soldiers,.[66] Monarch,[67] and ToryBoy The Movie[68] and Monarch on BBC Radio 2 Spoken Word Session with Janice Long.[69]

In 2016 Walsh gave a talk commemorating Ray Harryhausen's birthday at the Cinema Museum.[70][71] This included a screening of his documentary Ray Harryhausen: Movement Into Life and in August 2016 at the Starburst Magazine Film Festival.[72]

In 2016-17 Walsh appeared at events including the Cinestrange Festival in Braunschweig, Germany,[73] the Manchester Animation Festival,[74] MCM London Comic Con,[75]

On 8 September 2018 he gave a talk at Regent Street Cinema for a special screening of a restored version of First Men in the Moon followed by author Richard Holliss discussing his new book Harryhausen The Movie Posters.[76][77]

Writing and journalism[edit]

In additional to his film and TV screenplays, Walsh has written for various print and online publications on film history, politics and religion in The Independent,[78] The Catholic Herald[citation needed] and Conservative Home.[79] He is contributing to the forthcoming Titan Books title, Ray Harryhausen Poster Art Book, which is being written by sci-fi journalist and author Richard Holliss.[citation needed]

Walsh told the Islington Tribune about a book he is writing about Ray Harryhausen’s lost films."For every film he made, there were three he didn’t, he was so incredibly prolific." [80]

Charity work[edit]

2011 The Warrior Programme – Walsh worked with Eva Hamilton on this charity that helped former service personal around issues of PTS and re-entering the work place.[citation needed]

Walsh made his 2003 BBC documentary series Headhunting The Homeless following the work of Hamilton's Business Action on Homelessness project.[81]

Filmography / Awards

Filmography / Awards[edit]

Full credits listings at Directors UK[82] John Walsh on IMDb

Year Title Role Film / Television Award / Nomination*
2018 - 2019 Harryhausen100[83] Director, Writer, Producer Feature Film
2016 - 2018 The Ray Harryhausen Podcast Originator, Co-Host Radio series Rondo Hatton Awards* "Best Multi-Media"[56]
2016 Jupiter Pluvius at The Tate[84][85][86] Director, Writer, Producer Documentary
2015 ToryBoy The Movie (re-release) Director, Writer, Producer Feature Film Grierson Awards Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme[87]
2014 Monarch (re-release) Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Feature Film Mill Valley Film Festival[88]
2014 Monarch Restoring A King[89] Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Documentary
2013 Key 4 Life[36] Director, Writer, Producer 15 minute documentary A film showcasing the work of charity Key4Life supporting young offenders after release from prison.
2012 Blinding[90][91] Director, Writer, Producer BBC Documentary
2012 ToryBoy The Aftermath[92][93] Director, Writer, Producer Documentary
2011 ToryBoy The Movie Director, Writer, Producer Feature Film Grierson Awards Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme[87]
2010 Toy Soldiers[94] Director, Writer, Producer BBC Documentary Monte-Carlo Television Festival[28] & Prix Jeunesse Munich*[95]
2009 The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship[96] Director, Writer, Producer Documentary for British Council
2009 My Life: Karate Kids[97] Director, Writer, Producer BBC Documentary BAFTA[98]
2008 Sofa Surfers[99][100][101] Director, Writer, Producer BBC Documentary Rose d'Or Social Award[102]
2007 Don't Make Me Angry - series 2[103] Director, Writer, Producer Channel 4 Documentary New York Television Festival Best Young Adult Special Documentary Series[38]
2006 Don't Make Me Angry - series 1[104] Director, Writer, Producer Channel 4 Documentary BAFTA[37]
2003 Headhunting The Homeless[32][105][106] Director, Writer, Producer BBC Documentary Grierson Awards Best Documentary Series[107]
2001 Nu Model Armi Director, Writer, Producer Channel 4 Documentary
2001 TREX2 Director, Writer, Producer Channel 5 Documentary
2000 TREX Director, Writer, Producer Channel 5 Documentary
2000 Monarch Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Feature Film Mill Valley Film Festival
1999 Cowboyz & Cowgirlz Director, Writer, Producer Channel 5 Documentary
1998 Boyz & Girlz : Greece Director, Writer, Producer Channel 5 Documentary
1998 Boyz & Girlz Director, Writer, Producer Channel 5 Documentary
1991 Masque of Draperie Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Documentary
1990 The Comedy Store Director, Writer, Producer Editor Documentary London Film School
1990 The Sceptic and the Psychic Writer, Producer Drama London Film School
1989 Ray Harryhausen: Movement Into Life[108][109][46] Director, Writer, Producer Documentary London Film School
1989 The Sleeper Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Drama London Film School
1985 A State of Mind Director, Writer, Producer, Editor Drama Screen Test BBC Young Film Maker of the Year 1985*[110]

Professional memberships[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Walsh Bros".
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ John Walsh nominated for a BAFTA Children's Award for documentary 'My Life: Karate Kids' Today, LFS News: The London Film School News Blog, November 2010
  7. ^ John Walsh nominated for Rose D'Or Award for 'Sofa Surfers', LFS News: The London Film School News Blog, November 2010
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Tory Boy takes on Sir Stuart Bell in documentary film". BBC News.
  13. ^ "The Grierson Trust :: Shortlist - 2011". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Satirical film ToryBoy The Movie returns to big screen". The Irish Post.
  15. ^ "BAFTA-nominated Greenwich filmmaker's controversial ToryBoy returns to cinemas before election". News Shopper.
  16. ^ "Student Union involved in row over planned screening of controversial Toryboy the Movie". The North Crowd. 27 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Lost joys: Directors reveal searches for missing movies". BBC News.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Monarch - Tricycle".
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Rare TP McKenna film to be screened after original tapes recovered". The Irish Post.
  22. ^ "Sofa Surfers".
  23. ^ "Rose d'Or nominations announced".
  24. ^ "My Life". RadioTimes.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^ "audioBoom / Father's death 'took a chunk out of my heart'". audioBoom. March 2014.
  30. ^ "Toy soldiers - childhood bereavement in the armed forces". Dr Morton's. "good to see this sensitive and crucially important topic being opened up for people to learn from."
  31. ^ "Headhunting the Homeless".
  32. ^ a b John Plunkett. "BBC list aims to win over critics". the Guardian.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b Key4Life: the film,
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^ a b,1&wp=info&id=326439
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ Televisual Media Ltd UK. "Televisual - REPORTS & SURVEYS".
  44. ^ Televisual Media Ltd UK. "Televisual - REPORTS & SURVEYS".
  45. ^ Televisual Media Ltd UK. "Televisual - REPORTS & SURVEYS".
  46. ^ a b
  47. ^ "Ray Harryhausen - The Official Website". Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
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  52. ^ a b
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  56. ^ a b c d
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  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^ Nick Joy Review: The Art of Ray Harryhausen, Sci-Fi Bulletin, undated
  63. ^
  64. ^ Screem, Issue 33
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^,-CINEMA-MUSEUM,-LONDON-1-JULY,-2016.html
  72. ^ Photo Review (PDF). Starburst Publishing Limited. October 2016. p. 11. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  73. ^
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  78. ^
  79. ^
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  81. ^
  82. ^ a b
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  85. ^
  86. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  87. ^ a b
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^
  92. ^
  93. ^
  94. ^ "My Life". RadioTimes.
  95. ^
  96. ^ The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship. Vimeo.
  97. ^ "My Life: Karate Kids". David Tennant News.
  98. ^
  99. ^ "LFS News:: June 2010".
  100. ^ "Sofa Surfers". RadioTimes.
  101. ^
  102. ^
  103. ^ "Learning - Don't Make Me Angry". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  104. ^
  105. ^ "BBC - Press Office - Headhunting the Homeless".
  106. ^ "Video title". OVGuide.
  107. ^
  108. ^ "Ray Harryhausen: Movement Into Life (1990)". IMDb. 18 March 1990.
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  110. ^
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External links[edit]