Harrison Drury reports from the launch of the the Irish Film Festival London, which is returning to the English capital for a third successive year from 20-24 November with an award-winning line-up of Irish film and animation.
Featuring premiere screenings, director Q&A sessions, workshops, exhibitions and performances; the festival aims to bring fans and artists together to build a platform for Irish creative talent in the UK.
Speaking at the festival’s launch party, at the Embassy of Ireland, Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive / Head of Business Affairs: Irish Film Board, explained the importance of London to Irish film:
“Apart from the fact that we do so much here with a lot of the industry that’s based here but also with the British Film Institute and all the various sales agents and distributors that are here. . . . but apart from that, it’s because of the Diaspora that’s here, it’s because it has such a huge Irish population.”
Also speaking at the event was Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador for Britain, who described the value Irish culture brings to Ireland’s relationship with Britain and the world.
Mr Mulhall said, “Our footprint in the world is much larger than you might expect for a country of our size and why is that? I think it’s essentially because we have a strong cultural offering. . . . many British people experience Ireland either through meeting Irish people in the community or through experiencing Irish plays, Irish music and Irish films.”
Mrs McGrane pointed out Steph Green’s debut feature Run and Jump, Alex Fegan’s documentary The Irish Pub, and documentary-maker Pat Collins’ first work of fiction Silence, as highlights of the festival.
Mrs McGrane then spoke to the “amazing reach and export” of Ireland’s animated films. The festival will show Tony Donoghue’s Irish Folk Furniture, winner of the Short Film Jury Award in Animation at the Sundance Film Festival 2013.
The Irish Film Festival London will screen at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, and the (ICA) Institute of Contemporary Arts on The Mall.
For a full programme and more information go to http://irishfilmfestivallondon.com/