Preview of Irish Film at ADIFF 2016

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Dublin’s biggest film festival returns to the capital in February with a spanking new name, the Audi Dublin International Film Festival. As always, the festival promises a fantastic selection of Irish films bookended by the opening night gala screening of John Carney’s Sing Street, and Paddy Breathnach’s Viva, which closes this year’s festival. In between there are a host of Irish features, documentaries and shorts that demonstrate the wealth of talents involved in the Irish film industry. Here we take a look at the Irish films set to screen at this year’s festival.

 

Sing Street (John Carney)

Savoy, Screen 1 • Thu Feb 18th • 7:00pm • BOOK NOW

John Carney’s fantastic new film Sing Street is a beguiling portrait of 80’s Dublin, complete with the stone washed jeans, wild haircuts and a nostalgia filled soundtrack with hits from The Cure, Duran Duran, The Police, and Genesis. When a middle class family are forced to downsize as part of the 1980’s recession, middle child Conor (played with verve by newcomer Ferdia Walsh Peelo) has to leave his comfortable middle-class private school and move into a tough inner city public school. A loner at school – his parents played by Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy are close to breaking up – his only friend is his music obsessed elder brother (Jack Reynor). However, when he spots a mysterious girl across the playground and, like many a smitten suitor before him, asks her to star in a music video for his band. The only problem is, he has yet to find his bandmates or his own musical style. Sing Street is a wonderfully authentic and sweet natured tale of how music can save your life. John Carney has mined the memories from his own teenage years, captured the innocence and pain of first love and restored the reputation of the ’80s, made it cool and written some fantastic original songs which will stay in your head for ever. ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ is a future classic – Grainne Humphreys Festival Director

 

Reel Art: Further Beyond (Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor)

IFI • Fri 19th Feb 2016 • 6:00PM • BOOK NOW

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Reel Art is an Arts Council scheme designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme. Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers In their debut documentary Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor take as their point of departure the compelling 18th Century figure, Ambrose O’Higgins, and attempt to retrace his remarkable journey from Ireland to Chile. Key locations in O’Higgins’ life – a lake in Sligo, a field in Meath, the port of Cadiz, the sea, and the edge of a snow-covered mountain in the Andes – are visited and reflected upon in the hope that something might be revealed, as if these very locations might contain clues.  Having long dreamt of making a biopic of O’Higgins, this wayward and wry documentary is the filmmakers’ attempt to realise this dream through a personal voyage into the idea of the cinematic location.  However, as they speculate on the idea of place and what O’Higgins embodies, the filmmakers continually get sidetracked by a competing story of immigration and displacement. Gradually, and not without humour, these intertwining narratives uncover ideas about the transformative powers of travelling, as looked at through the peculiar prism of the Irish experience – Filmmakers’ statement.

Adiff Shorts 1

Light House Cinema • Fri 19th Feb 2016 • 6:15PM • BOOK NOW

Irish shorts featured are Personal Development – Tom Sullivan. The recently divorced Fintan’s already fragile relationship with his daughter is put to the test with the arrival of some unexpected news. Little Bear-  A Short story of friendship, love and imagination.  A Coat Made Dark  – Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. So begins this darkly comic tale, in which Midnight, an anthropomorphized dog, and his human servant Peter struggle for power. Leave –  A film about choices and consequences – a film about how your life can change without warning.

 

Michael Collins (Neil Jordan)

Savoy • Sat 20th Feb 2016 • 2:00PM BOOK NOW

The film Michael Collins was released twenty years ago, conceived and made in the years leading up to that, and it was probably inevitable that it would reflect the state of Ireland, North and South, during those years as much as the turbulent years, 1916 – 1922, upon which it was based. I had made two “Troubles” films, before that point – Angel, and The Crying Game. Both dealt with the persistence – and the awfulness – of the presence of violence in Irish political dialogue. Michael Collins became the third and was to deal with the figure who perfected the use of violence as a political weapon. It was to be a large budget picture, for Warner Brothers, and as such, I had to define for myself what that curious genre “historical film” meant. I decided to pare back the historical context, the characters, the events and construct the drama around one character, who used violence for political ends and, having achieved what he could of those ends, attempted, and failed, to decommission the guerilla army he had built. There was a ready made template for that kind of film – the gangster epic, which provided an endurable form, from Howard Hawk’s Scarface to Brian de Palma’s version, from every James Cagney iteration, through the Godfather films. The arc of the central character becomes that of a fatal engagement with some kind of violence. So Michael Collins became a biopic and a gangster epic. That, and the parallels to the decommissioning process that was going on at the time gave rise to much acrimonious debate when we were making the film and during its subsequent release. I didn’t mind that debate, however uncomfortable it became, since films should be about something. It was always to be a film about violence and its consequences. And, about an issue that, in 2016, twenty years on again, seems to thankfully to belong to the past, and not to the present – Neil Jordan.

 

Traders (Rachael Moriarty & Peter Murphy)

Light House Cinema • Sat 20th Feb 2016 • 6:30PM • BOOK NOW

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Metaphors for cutthroat capitalism don’t get much blunter than Traders, in which the me-first moneymakers in question aren’t exchanging stocks and bonds but each others’ lives. Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy, who’ve made shorts together for over 20 years, take a confident leap to features in this cold tale of economic desperation and unthinkable deeds made routine. Facing a bleak job market Vernon (John Bradley), invents “trading,” in which two participants connected anonymously online will meet to fight in a secluded spot with no spectators. Each will bring his life’s savings in a duffel bag; they will fight to the death, with the winner taking both bags after burying the loser where he died. Vernon’s co-worker Harry (Killian Scott) takes some convincing, but eventually participates in the inaugural match of this bloodsport. He leaves Vernon alive after beating him but Vernon feels cheated – especially after Harry befriends the woman he hopelessly loves (Nika McGuigan) – and starts plotting to get “his” money back – John DeFore The Hollywood Reporter

 

Ifb After ’16 Shorts

Light House Cinema • Sun 21st Feb 2016 • 3:30PM • BOOK NOW

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After ‘16 is a once-off shorts initiative to commemorate, celebrate and ruminate on 1916.  Commissioned by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, nine short films went into production in the summer of 2015. ADIFF will host the World Premieres of these nine new films. A Father’s Letter – On the eve of his execution on May 7th 1916, Michael Mallin’s two-year-old son Joseph was  brought to see him in Kilmainham Gaol. That night, his father wrote a letter that would change Joseph’s life forever. A Terrible Hullabaloo – The story of young Vinny Byrne, a fourteen-year-old boy who found himself fighting for Ireland in the Easter Rising.Baring Arms –  There are many ways to commemorate the 1916 Rising, only one involves bloodshed. Goodbye, Darling – one day in the enduring love story of Irish Volunteer Michael Joseph O’Rahilly and his wife Nancy. Granite and Chalk –  Delving into declassified British intelligence documents, this documentary tells the story of two spies, codenamed Granite and Chalk, who could have changed Irish history. Mr. Yeats & The Beastly Coins – Ten years after the Easter Rising, the Free State government asked W.B. Yeats to chair the design committee for creating new coinage for the new state. My Life For Ireland – Dublin, Easter 1916. Irish rebel Patrick Pearse leads a revolt to free Ireland from the grips of the British Empire. Owen, a young patriot, wants to join them. The Cherishing –  When The Rising starts the local sweet shops are the first to be looted by Dubliners living in the tenements. The Party –  Laurence welcomes his friend and man-on-the-run Mickey to a party of drinking, dancing and young love. By morning, reality catches up with them.

 

 

The Truth Commissioner (Declan Recks)

Light House Cinema • Sun 21st Feb 2016 • 6:15PM • BOOK NOW

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Set in a post-Troubles Northern Ireland, The Truth Commissioner follows the fictional story of Henry Stanfield, played by Roger Allam (The Thick of It, V for Vendetta), a career diplomat who has just been appointed as Truth Commissioner to Northern Ireland. Eager to make good as a peacemaker, the Prime Minister urges a commission following the South African model of Truth and Reconciliation. Although Stanfield starts bravely, he quickly uncovers some bloody and inconvenient truths about those now running the country – truths which none of those in power wish to have revealed. Directed by Declan Recks (Eden, Big Swinger) and produced by David Collins (Once), the film centres around a missing person’s case twenty years earlier, Stanfield is forced into the historic web of lies. And the truth, which is shaped by four men’s different pasts, remains as elusive as ever. Featuring Sean McGinley as former IRA leader Francis Gilroy, Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones) as retired policeman James Fenton and Barry Ward (Jimmy’s Hall) as Michael Madden, who has returned from America to Belfast to face his past – Irish Film Board

 

We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty (Claire Dix)

IFI • Mon 22nd Feb 2016 • 6:00PM • BOOK NOW

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Reel Art is an Arts Council scheme designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme.   We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty is an intimate portrait of Joan Denise Moriarty, a visionary who overcame enormous odds by doggedly following her dream of bringing ballet to every corner of Ireland. A pioneer of early 20th century Irish dance, Joan Denise Moriarty dared to create a uniquely Irish form of ballet inspired by her love of nature and Irish folklore. Her life’s work has been largely overlooked since her death. A divisive figure, she was accused of fabricating her professional dance training and of misrepresenting herself as a vanguard of Irish ballet. Her personal life has also been subject to much scrutiny over the years and remains a contentious issue for those who knew her. Despite such controversies, Joan Denise Moriarty has left behind a remarkable legacy of dancers and dance lovers who may never have found ballet without her influence. This is a celebration of Joan Denise the artist, the dancer, and the woman who was best known, loathed, and loved as Miss Moriarty. Followed by a Q&A with Claire Dix

 

Hubert Butler: Witness To The Future (Johnny Gogan)

Light House Cinema • Mon 22nd Feb 2016 • 8:30PM • BOOK NOW

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Operating as writer and market gardener from his base in rural Kilkenny, Hubert Butler explored Eastern Europe and the Balkans, establishing himself as “Ireland’s Orwell”, our greatest essayist since Jonathan Swift. In this, the first documentary on Butler and his work, Johnny Gogan traces the writer’s journey through Stalinist Russia of the early 1930s, through pre­war Vienna where Butler worked to smuggle Jews into Ireland, to his his exposure of the hidden genocide of half a million Orthodox Serbs in WW2. Using recently declassified documents, this highly visual and expansive film explores why Butler “was fifty years ahead of his time” and “one of the great Irish writers”. Poet Chris Agee and biographer Robert Tobin lead the line of an impressive set of contributors in Johnny Gogan’s fifth feature film in drama and documentary and his follow up to Black Ice which premiered at this festival in 2013. Steve Wickham (The Waterboys) provides an original score with a suitably Balkan flavour while the film’s visual sweep is assisted by rich archive footage.

 

My Name Is Emily (Simon Fitzmaurice)

Movies @ Dundrum • Wed 24th Feb 2016 • 6:00PM • BOOK NOW

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The debut feature from Irish writer ­director Simon Fitzmaurice is a spirited coming­ of­ age story that traces the journey of a strong­ willed young woman as she weathers loss, upheaval, and rebirth. “If you hide from death, you hide from life.” Teenage Emily (Evanna Lynch) inherits this mantra from her father Robert (Michael Smiley), an author and philosopher, but following the tragic death of Emily’s mother, Robert starts to change, and his visionary eccentricities now appear to be symptoms of mental illness. Robert is soon insti­tu­tion­al­ized, and Emily is sent away to live with foster parents. When Emily suddenly decides to travel north to bust her father out of his psychiatric hospital, the hopelessly smitten Arden joins her on a road trip that will give both their first taste of what it truly means to be alive. Brimming with images of freedom, from the wide open road to the vast expanse of the sea, and buoyed by an arrestingly confident performance from Lynch, My Name is Emily will resonate with the young and young ­at ­heart alike. This is a stylish and assured film about self ­discovery as an ongoing adventure. Michèle Maheux Toronto International Film Festival.  With special guest Simon Fitzmaurice

 

Fís Na Fuiseoige (Aodh Ó Coileáin)

Light House Cinema • Wed 24th Feb 2016 • 6:15PM BOOK NOW

Place and Identity are an entity unto themselves within the Irish language and in particular, Irish Poetry. Their amalgamation is something precious and sacred to behold and is celebrated in the verse of our country’s poets. In this documentary, the Irish language is conveyed in it’s most pure form, celebrating a sense of place and it’s connection with the people who dwell here. Those who leave Ireland always come back to it, be it spiritually, metaphorically or literally. This relationship and connection to the construct of the Irish identity works side by side with local lore and it’s poetic germination. Stunningly shot, both from the air and on land, with birds-­eye photography that further lends itself to give the lrish landscape its own living and breathing persona. It’s voice, though constant and ever present in its poetry, is refracted from person and place, countryside to city, north to south, and between the past and present – Paul Donnelly • Audi Dublin International Film Festival

 

Mammal (Rebecca Daly)

Light House Cinema • Wed 24th Feb 2016 • 8:30PM BOOK NOW

After Margaret (Rachel Griffeths) learns that her 18-­year-­old son, who she abandoned as a baby, has been found dead, her simple, solitary routine is tragically disrupted. But when Joe (Barry Keoghan), a homeless teen from her neighborhood, enters her life, Margaret offers him a room, and she soon embodies the mother she never was. As Margaret copes with the volatile grief of her ex­husband, her own lonely trauma seeps into her relationship with Joe and begins to blur the line between motherly affection and a far more carnal nature of intimacy. With a firm grasp on the devastating layers of grief, Rebecca Daly’s Mammal expertly guides us through the isolating depth into which Margaret is thrust. Rachel Grifith, Barry Keoghan, and Michael McElhatton infuse the film with raw vulnerability that pulsates with the animalistic nature of trauma. This quiet portrait of anguish further establishes Daly’s position as a director with astonishing command.
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The Wake (Oonagh Kearney)

Light House Cinema • Thu 25th Feb 2016 • 4:30PM • BOOK NOW

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The Wake is screening as part of Dance on Film.  A woman, a house. The end is near, but new beginnings and awakenings await. Using dance as a unique cinematic language, The Wake is an Irish film that explores female dynamics inside the house. Challenging the ways in which women and their rites of passage have been portrayed on screen, The Wake is revealed as a world of memory, joy, violence and transformation. The film features top Irish female performers, helmed by the spectacular Olwen Fouere as the central figure of the film.

 

The Judas Iscariot Lunch (Teresa O’Grady-Peyton)

Light House Cinema • Thu 25th Feb 2016 • 6:30PM • BOOK NOW

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Masculinity and faith in Irish dramaturgy have always been portrayed in two very staid states: for laughs or for terror. Refreshing in its approach The Judas Iscariot Lunch presents thirteen Irish ex­priests who speak candidly and frankly about the crossroads they came to with their beliefs, after being ordained and positioned as missionaries in East Asia, the Pacific and South America in the 1960s and 1970s. Through their ‘camera confessionals’ we hear their questions and the guilt raised while bridging the gap between the theology they were taught at the seminary and what they put into practice in the real world. Their journey conveys the broader understanding of what faith is, and how it must move and change with the times, cultures and indeed their own humanity and needs. These humble and honest ex­clergymen give the audience an uplifting ­ sometimes funny ­ real and thought provoking story, that is stronger than the constraints of the church they left behind. Their story is as relevant today as it was back then on The Church’s position in society and one’s beliefs – Paul Donnelly, Audi Dublin International Film Festival. Followed by a Q+A with the Filmmaker

 

Atlantic (Risteard O’Domhnaill)

 

Cineworld • Thu 25th Feb 2016 • 8:30PM •  BOOK NOW

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Atlantic is the latest film from the makers of the multi-award-winning documentary, The Pipe (2010). This film follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – which are at turns united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean. In recent times, mounting challenges within their own industries, the fragile environment, and the lure of high wages for young fishermen on the oil rigs have seen these fishing communities struggle to maintain their traditional way of life. As the oil majors push into deeper water and further into the Arctic, and the world’s largest fishing companies chase the last great Atlantic shoals, the impact on coastal communities and the ecosystems they rely on is reaching a tipping point. Atlantic tells three very personal stories of those who face the devastating prospect of having their livelihoods taken from them, and their communities destroyed both environmentally and economically. Followed by a Q+A with the FilmmakersAtlantic

Adiff Shorts 2

Light House Cinema • Sat 27th Feb 2016 • 1:30PM • BOOK NOW

Irish shorts featured are Love is a Sting –  A struggling children’s writer gains an unexpected house guest in the form of an ageing, hyper-intelligent mosquito named Anabel. The Break – a story about a family: Tim and his two sons, Seán and Scott. It’s post-economic-crash Ireland and they’re down on their luck.  Geist – A shipwrecked fisherman takes shelter in an abandoned house on a remote island, but soon realises he is not alone. How Was Your Day – A woman is excited about the approaching birth of her first child.

 

Staid (Paul O’Brien)

Light House Cinema • Sat 27th Feb 2016 • 4:00PM • BOOK NOW

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Best selling author and playwright, Paul O’Brien makes his debut as a filmmaker with his amazingly raw and beautiful, terrier of a movie, Staid. Although set in Ireland, its themes are universal centrepieces of love, loss, ambition and that feeling of being stuck in life. Hidden away in a small town, four people who are tied together by new and old relationships, tangle, fight, sing, talk, smoke, drink, argue, laugh, leave and return – while stumbling towards the reality that their lives are finally changing whether they like it or not. This unfolds in a unique, lush package that hangs together so well because of the the craft of the script, the amazing first-time screen performances, and the gentleness of the storytelling. To see all of these characteristics come together in a first-time movie makes it irresistible. Staid signals the arrival of a new, important voice in Irish cinema. Followed by a Q+A with the Filmmakers

 

Viva (Paddy Breathnach)

Savoy • Sun 28th Feb 2016 • 7:45PM BOOK NOW

In Paddy Breathnach’s beautiful new film, the critically acclaimed director of I Went Down and Man About Dog, turns his lens to the back-streets of Havana, in this courageously performed, dramatic portrait of Cuban life. Hector Medina shines brilliantly as the eponymous lead character, while Cathal Watters’ vibrant cinematography, and Stephen Rennicks’ Latin American score, evoke an extraordinary pathos – an effect that is further magnified when picture-perfect renditions of the idyllic, sun-bleached streets of Havana are put in contrast with some of the film’s harsher, back-street locations. Living in a rundown apartment in Havana, 18-year-old Jesus ekes out a living by cutting his neighbour’s hair and prepping wigs for the performers at a nearby drag club. The club’s owner, Mama, lives up to her stage-name by providing support and offering employment to a host of drag queens who earn tips by passionately miming along to their signature ballads. 
 Drawn toward the glamour of the spotlight and also seeking acceptance, Jesus finds his way to the stage, and after adopting the alias ‘Viva’, he is soon one of the club’s top acts. Just as he is finding his feet, his father Angel shows up at the club after a fifteen year stint in prison, forces his way back into his son’s life, and takes up residence in Jesus’ tiny apartment. Not able to accept his son’s new profession, he forbids him to work at the club, but Jesus has to make ends meet, and in Havana there are much tougher ways to earn a living. – Dave Desmond, Audi Dublin International Film Festival. With Special Guest Paddy Breathnach.

 

The 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place 18th and 28th February 2016. 

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