We take a look at some of the Irish films making their way to screens in 2020. We’ll update films, premieres and release dates and add reviews and interviews as they come in.
Dates may be subject to change due to COVID_19 restrictions. Stay safe.
DIR: Ciarán Cassidy
Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2019
In cinemas 14th February
In March 2010, two American women, including one who named herself ‘Jihad Jane’, were arrested in a number of high-profile arrests in Waterford, Ireland, which were trumpeted by the US attorney’s office as ‘the new face of terrorism’. Facing huge jail sentences, the two women pleaded guilty but now for the first time ever, with unprecedented access, Jihad Jane tells the story of the most absurd terror cell ever to come together.
Jihad Jane tells of the online world and the damaged people who made plans to murder a Swedish cartoonist but reality comes crashing in when they actually meet for the first time. The film captures post 9/11 America and what emerges is a touching and haunting portrait of not only a damaged terror cell but the country and world that they emerged from.
“goes beyond examining the story of “the new face of terrorism” to highlight the issues this case raises which include the dangers of the dark web, the universal need for connection and the damaging effects of abuse.” —Irene Falvey
Podcast: Ciaran Cassidy
Calm With Horses
DIR: Nick Rowland • WRI: Joe Murtagh
Premiere @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019
In cinemas 13th March 2020
In darkest rural Ireland, ex-boxer Arm has become the feared enforcer for the drug dealing Devers family, whilst also trying to be a good father to his autistic five year-old son, Jack. Torn between these two families, Arm is asked to kill for the first time, and his attempt to do the right thing endangers everyone he holds dear.
CAST: Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar, Ned Dennehy, Cosmo Jarvis, Hazel Doupe
“outstanding performances from Barry Keoghan and Ned Dennehy” —Aoife O’Neill
Podcast: Nick Rowland
DIR: Lorcan Finnegan • WRI: Garret Shanley
Premiere @ Cannes 2019
VOD 27th March 2020
A couple looking for the perfect home, find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighbourhood of identical houses.
CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Jack Hudson
“a work of impressive exploratory filmmaking and remains fascinating and engaging throughout” —Sarah Cullen
Podcast: Lorcan Finnegan & Garret Shanley
DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman
Premiere @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019
VOD 27th April 2020
The crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.
CAST: Connie Nielsen, Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott.
“A tense allegory about profiting off the natural world, Sea Fever will likely be remembered as a patient thriller with a thought-provoking script and brilliant practical effects.” —Aoife O’Ceallachain
Podcast: Neasa Hardiman
When All Is Ruin Once Again
DIR: Keith Walsh
On Demand 27th April 2020
2010: a new motorway ploughs through a community in the west of Ireland, a glaring symbol of our modern age. Over the next 7 years the film weaves an epic tapestry of reflections from bog-lands, fire-sides, race tracks and hurling pitches; all while the country is hit by the worst economic crisis it has ever faced and the realisation that the way we are living on the planet is no longer sustainable dawns.
“a tangible record of lives impacted by modernisation” —June Butler
Podcast: Keith Walsh
DIR/WRI: David Freyne
Premiere on Amazon Prime Video 4th June 2020
Set in Ireland during the mid-90s, two closeted teenagers decide to stage a relationship in order to stop everyone speculating about their sexuality.
CAST: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Barry Ward, Sharon Horgan
Fionn O’Shea and Lola Petticrew are stellar as Eddie and Amber, and with Dating Amber, David Freyne has crafted a special film to be immensely proud of —Liam Hanlon
Podcast: David Freyne
DIR/WRI: Paddy Slattery
Premere @ Dublin International Film Festival 2020
In cinemas 19th August 2020
A respected Garda finds his loyalties tested to the absolute limit in this crime thriller which tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law.
CAST: Ally Ni Chairain, Gary Lydon, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Graham Earley, John Connors, Ryan Lincoln, Tristan Heanue
“a rich and compelling film that successfully articulates the frustrations and pitfalls of life in contemporary Ireland” —Hugh Whelan
DIR: Daniel F. Holmes
In cinemas 25th September 2020
Follows the men and women of the Irish Homeless Street Leagues as they overcome homelessness and addiction through the power of sport.
Powerful, humbling and inspiring, Street Leagues is a moving testament to the indomitability of the human spirit.—June Butler
DIR: Peter Mackie Burns • WRI: Mark O’Halloran
Premiere @ Venice International Film Festival 2019
In cinemas 3rd October 2020
In the wake of his father’s death, Colm must come to terms with his actions and find the resolve to halt the crumbing facade of his home, his family, and everything he has built.
CAST: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Tom Glynn-Carney, Monica Dolan
“an impactful piece of filmmaking that will linger in your mind for days and days upon viewing” —Liam Hanlon
Podcast: Peter Mackie Burns
A Girl From Mogadishu
DIR/WRI: Mary McGuckian
Premiere at Dublin International Film Festival 2019
In cinemas 4th October 2020
Based on the real life story of Ifrah Ahmed – youth leader and advocate against Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia and Horn of Africa. Fleeing war-torn Somalia in 2006, Ifrah Ahmed is trafficked to Ireland where a traumatic medical examination when seeking asylum reveals the extent of her mutilation as a child. Traumatized by the memory, she channels the experience into a force for change and emerges as a formidable campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation at the highest political echelons in Ireland, across Europe and finally back in the country of her birth, Somalia.
“a film with a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops”—June Butler
- Podcast: Mary McGuckian
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
DIR: Julien Temple
Premiere at the San Sebastian International Film Festival 2020
In cinemas 4th December 2020
A cinematic exploration of the legendary poet, punk and Pogue Shane MacGowan.
Combining interviews, previously unseen archive footage and specially commissioned animations with an impressive soundtrack, the documentary details Shane’s explosive existence from his early days growing up in Ireland, to time spent on the mean streets of London and embracing the punk scene, to forming The Pogues. We discover MacGowan’s passions, humour, and deep knowledge of music, history, spirituality, and popular culture.
Two By Two: Overboard!
DIR: Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack • WRI: Richie Conroy, Mark Hodkinson
In cinemas: 4th December 2020
When best friends Finny the Nestrian and Leah the Grymp are finally reunited with their parents on board the ark, they quickly realise that there is no sign of the high waters retreating just yet. Life at sea is not easy, food is bland and stocks are running low. An uneasy, fragile peace between carnivores and herbivores, could break down at any second. Leah convinces a reluctant Finny to agree to a midnight raid of the food stores, which inadvertently leads to them being washed overboard -again!- along with the last of the food supplies. What is to become of Finny, Leah and the rest of the animal kingdom?
CAST: Tara Flynn, Alan Stanford
DIR: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart • WRI: Will Collins
Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival
In cinemas: 4th December 2020
Robyn Goodfellowe is a young apprentice hunter who journeys to Ireland with her father in a time of superstition and magic to wipe out the last wolf pack. While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh, a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to have the ability to transform into wolves by night. As they search for Mebh’s missing mother, Robyn uncovers a secret that draws her further into the enchanted world of the “Wolfwalkers” and risks turning into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.
CAST: Sean Bean, Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Simon McBurney
DIR: Kieron J. Walsh • WRI: Ciaran Cassidy, Kieron J. Walsh
In cinemas: 11th December 2020
Summer 1998 – the opening stages of Le Tour de France are relocated to Ireland. Belgian rider Dom Chabol (late 30s) has been one of the best “Domestiques” (support riders) on the Tour for the last 20 years. It’s a sacrificial role – setting pace, blocking wind, and providing support to enable the team’s sprinter to victory – winning is not an option. But Dom secretly harbours a desire to wear the yellow jersey – just once before his career is over.
“a very solid and commendable exploration of a fascinating period in Tour de France”—Daniel Kiniry
Podcast: Kieron J. Walsh
Phil Lynott: Songs For While I’m Away
DIR: Emer Reynolds
In cinemas: 26th December 2020
A feature documentary on the life and music of Phil Lynott, telling the story of how a young black boy from working class 1950’s Dublin, became Ireland’s greatest Rock Star. As lead singer of Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott was a songwriter, a poet, a dreamer, a wildman. Told extensively through the words of Phil himself and focusing on some of his iconic songs, the film gets to the heart of Philip, the father, the husband, the friend, the son, the rock icon, the poet and the dreamer.