Tribute following sad passing of filmmaker and former teacher Paul Moorhead

Tribute has been paid to a Portadown filmmaker and former teacher who passed away at the weekend.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:58 pm
Paul Moorhead.

Paul Moorhead died peacefully in Craigavon Area Hospital on October 9.

Late of Drumard Road, Portadown, Paul was the devoted husband of Marina, much loved dad of Stephen and Peter.

A funeral service took place today (Wednesday, October 13) at 2pm in Richhill Presbyterian Church with committal following in Orchard Cemetery.

Family flowers only please, donations for the benefit of RVH Liver Support Group via www.MilneFuneralServices.co.uk/donate or cheques made payable to RVH Liver Support Group, Milne Funeral Services, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown, BT635HS.

Paul’s career began as a teacher, including Lurgan Junior High School, but his interest in issues of nonviolence and social justice turned him to documentary filmmaking.

His first film “Before my Time” (2012) was nominated at the Learning on Screen Awards in London. Paul has directed internationally, notably winning best doc at the Peace On Earth Film Festival.

In his spare time Paul enjoyed fishing and playing music.

Paul was a key figure in founding a TV studio at Lurgan Junior High before moving into social enterprise LJHSTV.

In 2015 he spent five days in Washington DC after being specially invited to attend the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge conference - a testament to the impact his films have had on an international scale.

At that stage he was the Creative Director of LJHSTV and was asked to showcase his film, ‘Ticking the Box?’ at the conference and it was warmly received by an eclectic mix of viewers.

Among the vast collection of global influencers, Paul even got a glimpse of the US President as Barrack Obama addressed the conference via video link.

The purpose of the conference was to bring together faith and education leaders from across the globe, and Paul seized the opportunity to exchange ideas and ambitions with his international counterparts.

“There was a German professor there who absolutely loved the film,” Paul said at the time, “and he waxed lyrical about it! It went down really well.”

He also received an invitation to Kosovo to film - focusing on inter-faith issues.

This was not be the first time Paul had established connections in distant lands. Several friends travelled down from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to attend the film screening at the conference and sat on a panel to answer questions and spark a debate after the film was shown.

Paul and his small team - consisting of Thomas Glass, his fellow company director, and Paul’s wife, Marina - have been singled out again and again for being creators of a unique style of filmmaking. Their approach is one fuelled by curiosity: always questioning and approaching issues from an alternative perspective.

LJHSTV were no strangers to making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, with their first film having a big impact on home soil - setting out to question the absence of The Troubles in children’s education here.

The film ‘Before My Time’ acted as a catalyst to thinking about changes in the history curriculum.

It started when Marina took students to Harrisburg for Martin Luther King Day. When they returned, they decided to make a film - not about racism, but about sectarianism. It was championed by one of the history inspectors, and was shown to history teachers across the country.

Building his projects around the areas of education and community engagement, Paul was a great believer in the capabilities and talents of young people - shaped by his time as teacher at Lurgan Junior High School.

Paul’s wife, Marina, works as a teacher in Lurgan, and usually conducts interviews on the films he and Thomas made.

Lurgan Junior High paid tribute to Paul on its Facebook page: “The Principal, Governors and staff or Lurgan Junior High School deeply regret the passing of Paul Moorhead, former teacher at our school, and husband of our esteemed colleague Mrs Moorhead, and extend to her and the family our deepest sympathy at this sad time.”

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