Arts Q&A: Director Michael Lennox on Julian Fellowes, Foo Fighters and French film

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, award-winning Derry Girls director Michael Lennox

Film director Michael Lennox

1. When did you think about a career in film and what were your first steps into it? I was 16 years old and had a week work experience with Cinemagic. I watched a lot of films and attended a lot of masterclasses from industry professionals. The memory which stuck out was listening to Julian Fellowes (creator, writer and producer of Downton Abbey). He had such a love, excitement and energy for his craft that I wanted a bit of that.

2. Best gigs you've been to? Coldplay at The Ulster Hall, before they were really famous. And Foy Fance at Elmwood Hall, some time in the early 2000s.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? American rock band The Black Keys would make a great birthday party band.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? The Colour and the Shape, the second studio album of Foo Fighters. It's the album of my childhood self. Me and my brother were obsessed with it.

5. And the book? The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. It was the first real book that got me excited about storytelling

6. Top three films? The Fugitive – clever character-based thriller with such a central performance by Harrison Ford. They don't make films like this any more. Most modern thrillers are unbelievable, unconvincing and have no thrills. A Prophet – directed by my favourite film-maker, Jacques Audiard. The French invented cinema. They are the masters and everything about this film shows that. Finally, It's A Wonderful Life – it's timeless, beautiful, raw and true.

7. Worst film you've seen? The last Avengers movie, Avengers: Endgame. I had such high expectation and it was extremely boring.

8. Favourite authors? Flannery O'Connor, CS Lewis and Seamus Heaney.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top team? Manchester United. I'm a childhood fan and even though now they are terrible, I'm still loyal.

10. Ideal holiday destination? New Zealand (Middle Earth).

11. Pet hate? Feta cheese.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Fillet steak.

Dessert? Sticky toffee pudding from The Bushmills Inn.

Drink? Oat milk flat white (I know that's pretentious).

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? Impossible question, but I have a small circle of close friends who are the greatest people I know and make me a better person.

14. Is there a God? Yes, the alternative makes no sense of the world. I think it takes more faith to believe there isn't a God.

:: Michael Lennox was involved in many Cinemagic projects over the last 12 years including the Cinemagic Young Filmmaker Competition. Director of comedy series Derry Girls, his film short Boogaloo and Graham won a Bafta and secured an Oscar nomination. The 30th Anniversary Cinemagic festival is currently running and continues until November 3. For full programme and booking visit

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