Dan Ireland, Director of ‘Jolene’ and ‘The Whole Wide World,’ Dies at 57

The director and producer also co-founded the Seattle International Film Festival

Last Updated: April 15, 2016 @ 2:27 PM

Dan Ireland, a director and producer best known for “Jolene” and “The Whole Wide World,” died Thursday. He was 57.

Ireland (above in 2003) was also the co-founder of the Seattle International Film Festival, which he ran with Darryl Macdonald from 1975 to 1986.

His manager, Paul Nelson of Mosaic, confirmed Ireland’s death to TheWrap on Friday. “I don’t know what happened. I heard that he got the flu and then maybe pneumonia,” Nelson said. “He died in his kitchen” of his Los Angeles home.

Ireland made his debut as a director in 1996 with “The Whole Wide World,” starring Renee Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio. Set in the 1930s, it told the story of Texas-born pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard, who created Conan the Barbarian.

He went on to direct “Jolene” in 2008, starring Jessica Chastain in her feature film debut as an orphan who spends a decade traveling around the U.S.

Chastain was one of the first members of the Hollywood community to mourn the loss on Friday, tweeting: “The sweetest angel left us. Called his voicemail just to hear his voice once more. I’ll miss you baby. .”

Other notable works on his filmography include: “Life Briefly,” “A Most Peculiar Man,” “Hate From A Distance, Director,” “Living Proof,” and “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.”

Ireland emigrated from Vancouver, Canada, with Macdonald while they were both in their teens with the aim of launching the Seattle International Film Festival.

During his tenure at SIFF, he was responsible for booking world premieres such as Joel and Ethan Coen‘s “Blood Simple,” Richard Rush’s “The Stunt Man,” Irwin Kirshner’s The Empire Strikes Back,” Ridley Scott‘s “Alien,” Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist,” and Marek Kanevska’s “Another Country.”