Pat Collins is an Irish film-maker from west Cork who has made over 30 films, many of them documentaries.

To date he is best known for Song Of Granite, a film portrait of Irish traditional singer Joe Heaney.

His latest work is That They May Face The Rising Sun, an adaptation of the 2002 book of the same name by the great Irish novelist John McGahern.

Released in UK cinemas on April 26, it captures a year in the life of a lakeside community in the 1980s and stars Barry Ward and Anna Bederke as a couple returning to Ireland after having lived in London.

Meanwhile, on May 4 Edinburgh’s Folk Film Gathering will host the Scottish premiere of Collins’s 2024 film Songlines, a documentary portrait of the singers within the Irish traveller community.

The Herald: Pat Collins is an Irish film-makerPat Collins is an Irish film-maker (Image: free)

What’s the last book you read, who is it by and what is it about?

The last book I read was Remembering Peasants by English scholar Patrick Joyce. It’s a beautifully written work, and it draws on his own connection to the west of Ireland. But it’s about peasant culture worldwide with particular attention to Ireland, Poland and Italy.

Drama or documentary, and why?

Lately, drama. I feel a lot of documentaries have become over-written and a little false.

James Joyce or Samuel Beckett?


Recommend a novel …

I’m reading Yasunari Kawabata’s The Rainbow at the moment. It’s an opening into another world.

Favourite living author and why?

Too many Irish writers to mention so I’ll go with an American. I like Marilynne Robinson a lot. Particularly her essays including The Death Of Adam.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

Perfect Days by Wim Wenders. Very gentle and slow. Tinged with a little sadness too.

What music are you currently listening to a lot and what do you like about it?

I’m embarking on a feature film with the Irish singer Lisa O Neill about the Irish singer Margaret Barry so I’m listening to a lot of Margaret Barry recordings. And Lisa’s too.

What musical instrument do you with you could play?

I’d love to play any instrument well. But if I had to choose, I’d say piano.

Recommend an album …

Seeing as we are in Scotland – You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. Orange Juice at their best.

And a singer …

Thomas McCarthy is an incredible singer. He’s an Irish Traveller who has hundreds of songs – he grew up around the Portobello Road markets – but his knowledge of Irish song is vast.

What have you seen recently that you think was completely over-rated and why?

The Beholders. I just didn’t believe it.

Favourite film?

All of Terence Malick. But probably Tree Of Life if I was to pick one above the other.

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

Living is a cultural experience. Doing what I do – making films – is a response to the culture that I experience around me. It’s all around us. What haven’t you managed to get around to yet but will when you have the time?

I’ve watched the first series of Heimat which was superb but I must get back to the later series.

What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw, where was it and what was so good about it?

I saw an Irish language play in the Abbey in Dublin recently. Na Peirsigh/Persians translated by the poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The final 15 minutes are particularly good – when the singer Naoise Mac Cathmhaoil sings his lines in a sean nós style.

You’re in a station or airport shop ahead of a journey. What magazine do you grab?

Sight & Sound.

Recommend a podcast … 

I don’t listen to podcasts.

Favourite song?

Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell. It’s epic, beautiful and mysterious.

Favourite musician?

Bob Dylan. I’ve been listening to him practically my whole life.

Who’s your favourite comedian?

Tommy Tiernan.

Fiction or non-fiction, and why?

I read more non-fiction and poetry but getting immersed in the world of a novel is unlike anything else.

Vinyl or MP3?