Irish Screen America (ISA), a new organization formed to seek out and promote influential and emerging Irish talent to the U.S. and showcase the very best of contemporary Irish film, TV, animation, video games and interactive media, has been launched by Niall McKay, Executive Director and Curator.
ISA’s mandate includes helping new talent find markets and finance, assisting Irish games companies, studios, post-production, special effects houses and production companies enter the U.S. market, facilitating the distribution and exhibition of select Irish films and building a cooperative network of U.S. based Irish media professionals.
McKay is a New York-based Emmy award-winning independent producer and director who hails from Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow, Ireland, and who created this new venture out of the multi city film festivals that he previously founded and produced in New York (Irish Film New York) and San Francisco, and co-founded in Los Angeles.
Commenting on why he founded ISA, McKay said, “What I’ve seen in the last few years is a renaissance of Irish filmmakers and artists taking the production of film, television, animation, web series and games to a new level. It’s an exciting time for ISA to not only showcase that work, but to build networks here in the US for even more production and collaboration.“
The flagship event of ISA will be a film festival roadshow taking place annually in the fall in Los Angeles and New York featuring recent critically-acclaimed Irish feature films and documentaries, New Irish Talent Showcases (shorts, web shows, animation and games), a selection of filmmaker Q&A’s, master classes, industry panel discussions and filmmaker receptions.
The organization receives funding support from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the development agency for the Irish film and television industry, among other government and corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and its consultancy services.
Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) said “We welcome the launch of Irish Screen America and we are delighted that the essential work already accomplished by Irish Film New York to support, showcase and celebrate Irish films and filmmaking talent will now extend to Los Angeles. We look forward to working with Irish Screen America in an effort to continue this work and build new networks, partnerships and audiences for Irish film.”
ISA/LA Festival opens on Friday, September 25 in Los Angeles at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts and ISA/NY Festival opens on Friday, October 2 in New York at NYU’s vibrant, state-of-the-art Cantor Film Center. Screenings will continue over the course of the weekend in the respective venues.
Featuring a stylistically diverse slate, attendees in Los Angeles and New York will have the opportunity to meet, among other guests, Irish writer/directors Rachel Moriarty and Peter Murphy whose confident, timely, black thriller Traders, about the extreme lengths people will go to hang onto wealth and status, opens the festivals in each city for the film’s US premiere. The film stars John Bradley (Game of Thrones) and Killian Scott (“Calvary”).
Other highlights will include the West Coast premiere of veteran documentary filmmaker Daisy Asquith’s deeply personal “After the Dance,” the emotionally powerful Sundance Award-winning, IFTA-nominated “Glassland,” starring Toni Collette, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter from writer/director Gerard Barrett and the US Premiere of Frank Berry’s IFTA-nominated “I Used to Live Here,” about the poignant troubles of urban teenagers.
The program in Los Angeles will also include a panel discussion entitled “Stories from the Field: Three Irish Film Directors in Hollywood” with directors Ruairi Robinson (“Last Day on Mars”), Ciaran Foy (“Sinister 2”) and Gary Shore (“Dracula Untold”). All three directors share a similar career trajectory to Hollywood. In addition, there will be master classes from Academy Award® nominated screenwriter, Naomi Sheridan in Los Angeles and European Academy winning director Cathy Brady in New York.
Additional festival guests will include animator Liam Hallihan and video games storyteller Llaura McGee.
Commenting on the festival program, McKay said, “It’s a great privilege to celebrate work that I love but I feel especially fortunate to be bringing a bright new generation of Irish talent to the US stage. Short filmmakers Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy’s “Traders” is a tense and humorous thriller, which has been critically acclaimed. Cathy Brady is an Award-winning short filmmaker who is embarking on her first feature this year; animator Liam Hallihan’s hilarious cartoons have 2.5 million hits on YouTube and he will receive his international festival premiere. Video games storyteller Llaura McGee combines the beauty of digital art with the genius of storytelling in her vivid video game “Curtain” about two women in a Glasgow punk band”.
“Most of these filmmakers and artists are established in their respective field but have had little or no exposure in the United States. All good film festivals build community and that’s what I believe we’ve been fortunate enough to achieve, to bring together a community of world class talent, to show their work and to have fun.”
For more information on both LA and NY visit the official website of Irish Screen America