We take a look at some of the Irish films coming your way in 2021. We’ll update films, premieres, release dates and platforms and add reviews and interviews as they come in.

The 8th

DIR:  Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, Maeve O’Boyle

Premiere at Hot Docs Film Festival

Streaming from 25th May 2021

The 8th traces Ireland’s campaign to remove the 8th Amendment – a constitutional ban on abortion. Following the dynamic female leaders of the pro-choice campaign as they engineer the impossible this dramatic story is underscored by a vivid exploration of the wrenching failures that led to this defining moment in Ireland’s history.


Wild Mountain Thyme

DIR/WRI: John Patrick Shanley

Streaming from 30th April 2021

Passionate, determined and smart, Rosemary Muldoon has been in love with her neighbor Anthony Reilly since they were 10 years old. It seems that everyone in their farming community knows they were meant for each other — except Anthony. 

An eccentric introvert, Anthony has spent his entire life working on the family farm alongside his father Tony. The aging Tony blindsides Anthony with his plan to sell the farm to Adam, his wealthy American nephew, because he doubts his son has what it takes to run it. And when Adam comes to visit, his obvious interest in Rosemary complicates the situation further. 

With everything that’s important to him about to slip through his fingers, Anthony has to move quickly, but a series of losses and his own certainty that he is unlovable leaves his future — and Rosemary’s — in doubt

CAST:

Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, Dearbhla Molloy, Christopher Walken

Streaming from 30th April 2021


Here Are The Young Men (DIR/WRI: Eoin Macken)

Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2020

Streaming from 30th April 2021

Dublin 2003. Aimless teenager Matthew (Chapman) and his disaffected friends leave school into a social vacuum of drink, drugs and thrill-seeking in one last summer of adolescence. Matthew romantically yearns after his free-spirited friend Jen (Taylor-Joy) and struggles to maintain his increasingly disturbing relationship with the magnetic but sadistic Kearney (Cole). Whilst their precocious friend Rez (Walsh-Peelo) has started to succumb to paranoia and depression.

Matthew and the group are soon led by the deranged Kearney into a world of nihilistic violence, falling into shocking acts of transgression that will irrevocably change their lives.

CAST: Anya Taylor-Joy, Travis Fimmel, Susan Lynch

“an engaging reflection on toxic masculinity and the futility of the youthful highs that quickly lose their lustre – drink, drugs, and video games” —Irene Falvey


Henry Glassie: Field Work (Pat Collins)

Premiere @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019

Streaming from 16th April 2021

A portrait of the most renowned American folklorist and ethnologist, Henry Glassie, now in his seventies.  With a view of Glassie’s life’s work, the film displays the director’s trademark eye for details of the deepest significance, and celebrates the people with whom he stands and their work.  Glassie’s subject is folklore but his abiding love for the people who create it resonates throughout the film.  Glassie’s long professional life encompasses the people and folklore of his native southern stages; from the sublime vocal purity of Ola Belle Reed whom he befriended and recorded in the sixties, to the potters, sculptors, metal workers, gilders and painters of sacred art in Brazil, the ceramic masters and the women rug makers and weavers of Turkey and the story tellers and singers of Ballymenone on the Northern Irish border. 


Citizen Lane (DIR: Thaddeus O’Sullivan)

Streaming from 12th April 2021

 CITIZEN LANE

Hugh Lane was an especially gifted art dealer and collector, whose ability to read and value a canvas garnered him huge wealth, influence and celebrity until his untimely death on the Lusitania in 1915.  A man of multiple contradictions, he was by turns infuriatingly frugal or extraordinarily generous, a professed nationalist and a knight; a monumental snob and a fearless campaigner for access to the arts.  His dream was to create a public Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin to show the work of living artists including his collection of great Impressionist paintings with works by Monet, Renoir and Manet. 


Town of Strangers (DIR: Treasa O’Brien)

Premiere @ Galway Film Fleadh 2018

Streaming from 19th March 2021

Image from 'Town of Strangers'

A stranger arrives in the town of Gort and announces that auditions will be held in the town hall for a new film.  “Come and tell me your stories, your dreams, your lies, your memories, any gossip.  All genders, nationalities and languages welcome. No acting experience necessary” is announced by the director via a loudspeaker on her van as she drives through the town.  One by one, people sit into an armchair on the set of a kitchen, surrounded by old props found in the Town Hall that could have been from John B Keane’s The Field, which had been produced by the local theatre group the year before. And they tell their stories….

” sensitive and engaging depiction of human connection, with all its fragilities, and, in doing so, beautifully reflects on contemporary rural Ireland”—Loretta Goff


The Winter Lake (DIR: Phil Sheerin • WRI: David Turpin)

Premiere @ Galway Film Fleadh 2020

Streaming from 15th March 2021

Review of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh 2020: The Winter Lake

Set in Sligo, The Winter Lake follows withdrawn teenager Tom who after making a grim discovery in a seasonal lake, discovers the truth about his neighbours, a father and daughter who are harbouring sinister secrets.

CAST: Anson Boon · Charlie Murphy, Emma Mackey.

“haunting, painful, gentle and hopeful”—Loretta Goff


The New Music (Chiara Viale)

Premiere @ IndieCork Film Festival 2019

Streaming from 18th January 2021

Irish Film Review: The New Music

When talented classical pianist Adrian  is diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, his world falls apart.  Afraid of the health implications and failing his family, Adrian runs away from home – destination Dublin.  Finding a room in a shared apartment he meets Will , David and Jodie aka ‘The Cellmates’ – a rebellious punk band who practise what they preach.  As a bond forms with his new-found friends, the band’s rock‘n’roll lifestyle and raucous music provide a lively distraction from his troubles.

The Cellmates are anything but uptight – will Adrian struggle to adjust, or could he find freedom in their chaos?

CAST: Cilléin McEvoy, Martina Babisova, Jack Fenton.

“a powerful debut from Italian director Chiara Viale”—Ciara Creedon


Coming Soon TBC

Herself 

DIR: Phyllida Lloyd  • WRI:  Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell 

Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020

The story of Sandra (Clare Dunne), who on the surface of it, is a young Mum struggling to provide her two young daughters with a warm, safe, happy home to grow up in. Beneath the surface, Sandra has a steely determination to change their lives for the better and when it becomes clear that there are no other options left to her, she decides to build it herself from scratch.

CAST: Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill


Wildfire

DIR/WRI: Cathy Brady

Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2020

The story of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has gone missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past, but as they uncover the secrets and resentments that have been buried deep down, it all threatens to overwhelm them.

CAST: Nika McGuigan, Nora-Jane Noone


The Bright Side

DIR: Ruth Meehan • WRI: Ruth Meehan, Jean Pasley

Premiere at Cork International Film Festival 2020

World-weary stand-up comedian Kate McLoughlin wants out. Her morbid prayers are answered in the form of a cancer diagnosis. For Kate, this is the perfect excuse. However, a last supper of dodgy shellfish and champagne puts paid to her overdose attempt and to placate her family she begrudgingly agrees to undergo treatment.

Armed with staggering levels of cynicism and a plethora of blackly comic jokes, Kate gets off to a bad start with the four other women she encounters on the chemo ward, whose unsolictited friendships are destined to blow open her shut-down heart.

CAST: Gemma-Leah Devereux, Siobhan Cullen, Karen Egan, Barbara Brennan, Derbhle Crotty, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor


Boys From County Hell

DIR/WRI: Chris Baugh

Premiere at 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

Summer 2021

Horror fans know Bram Stoker and his seminal novel Dracula, but what about Ireland’s Six Mile Hill? Word has it, Stoker visited Six Mile Hill in the mid-1890s, heard about the local legend of a humanoid bloodsucker who’s been buried under a pile of rocks for centuries, and then, shortly after, wrote about a certain undead Transylvanian—without crediting Six Mile Hill as his inspiration. Or so young ruffian Eugene Moffat and his friends like telling horror-loving tourists as a way to spice up their otherwise dull blue-collar lives. The thing is, they don’t actually believe in vampires. But when Eugene and his father are tasked with digging through the land surrounding that pile of rocks, they inadvertently awaken Dracula’s unsung inspiration.

CAST: Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland


“an engaging reflection on toxic masculinity and the futility of the youthful highs that quickly lose their lustre – drink, drugs, and video games” —Irene Falvey


Green Knight

DIR/WRI: David Lowery

A retelling of the 14th Century tale, ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s cousin, beheads the Green Knight easily. His opponent survives, however, and the Green Knight demands that Sir Gawain uphold his half of the oath and return in one year to be beheaded. Gawain leaves the court to spend the year traveling.

CAST: Barry Keoghan, Dev Patel, Alicia Vikande


Breaking Out

DIR: Michael McCormack

Filmed over ten years, Michael McCormack’s award winning documentary portrays Fergus O’Farrell, the charismatic voice of Interference, one of the most compelling and influential bands to emerge from the Irish music scene in the 1990s.


Redemption of a Rogue

DIR/WRI: Phillip Doherty

Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2020

Carrying a doctor’s bag containing a rope, Jimmy, the prodigal son, returns home to the austere beauty of Cavan to visit his ailing father and seek redemption before he intends to say goodbye to the world. As Jimmy’s father breathes his last, thunder rumbles and rain starts to pour. However, there is a condition in the will: his father cannot be buried on a wet day.As the rain continues, Jimmy embarks on a sacrificial and outlandish journey to rid himself of his guilt and shame from the past, ultimately redeeming himself through love.

CAST: Aaron Monaghan, Aisling O’Mara, Kieran Roche, Pat McCabe, Shane Connaughton


Father of Cyborgs

DIR: David Burke, Seán Ó Cualáin 

Irish neurologist Phil Kennedy made global headlines in the late 1990s for implanting wire electrodes in the brain of a ‘locked-in’ patient to control a computer cursor with their mind. Kennedy became known as ‘The Father of the Cyborgs’. Travelling to South America in 2014, he made further headlines when tiny electrodes were implanted inside his brain in order to continue his research. The film looks at the ethical quandaries presented by his self-experimentation. 


Rose Plays Julie

DIR/WRI: Joe Lawlor, Christine Molloy

Premiere @ BFI London Film Festival 2019

rose plays julie

Rose  is at university studying veterinary science. An only child, she has enjoyed a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. However, for as long as Rose can remember she has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity. After years trying to trace her birth mother, Rose now has a name and a number. All she has to do is pick up the phone and call. When she does it quickly becomes clear that her birth mother has no wish to have any contact. Rose is shattered. A renewed and deepened sense of rejection compels her to keep going. Rose travels from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother, Ellen and learns a secret that has been kept hidden for over 20 years.

CAST: Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, Aidan Gillen, Annabell Rickerby

“An uneasy and suspenseful collision of social drama, revenge thriller, and classical tragedy, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s Rose Plays Julie defies a quick or easy analysis.” —Cathy Butler


Be Good or Be Gone

DIR: Cathal Nally • WRI: Les Martin

Premiere at Garden State Film Festival 2020

Be Good or Be Gone, irish Film, Cathal Nelly

Set over the course of 4 days in contemporary Dublin, the film follows the story of Ste and Weed , two petty criminal cousins, who receive temporary release from Mountjoy prison.

CAST: Les Martin, Declan Mills, Jenny Lee Masterson, Enya Martin, Brid McCarthy, Gerry Shanahan, Aoife King, Alan Sherlock, Ruth Hegarty, Graham Earley


Skin+Soul

DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic

Premiere @ Dublin International Film Festival 2020

Skin+Soul was funded under the Arts Council Reel Art scheme which is designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme. Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.

“Rendering sublime into straightforward requires immense skills, of which Ogden has mastered every single one.” June Butler


The Castle

DIR: Lina Lužytė

Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2020

Set in Dublin, Monika has a dream to play a one in a lifetime concert. Her mother is sceptical and reluctant to support her daughter’s dreams, and so she sells their keyboard and forbids Monika from attending the concert. However, Monika stops at nothing to pursue her dream.

CAST: Barbora Bareikyte, Gabija Jaraminaite,  Jurate Onaityte

“a family tragedy which explores the deleterious and dream-destroying effects of Ireland’s marginalising attitude towards immigration and poverty”Sarah Cullen


Arracht

DIR/WRI: Tom Sullivan

Premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2019

Review of Irish Film @ DIFF 2020: Arracht

Set during the famine, a man loses everything and is accused of a murder. On the run for three years and with the help of a mysterious girl he attempts to rebuild his life. However, his past however comes back to haunt him.

CAST: Dónall Ó Héalaí, Saise Ní Chuinn, Michael McElhatton, Peter Coonan


Pure Grit

DIR: Kim Bartley

A documentary set against the captivating backdrop of the Wyoming wilderness, Pure Grit follows Sharmaine, a Native American bareback racer, and her girlfriend Savannah, as they strive to overcome the ghosts of past abuse.


The Nest

DIE/WRI:Sean Durkin

Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020 

Charismatic entrepreneur Rory relocates his wife Allison and their children Sam and Ben from suburban America to his native England with ambitious dreams of profiting from booming 1980’s London. While Rory thrives chasing lofty deals in the city, Allison and the kids struggle to adapt. Once a businesswoman in her own right, Allison finds herself idle and resuming the role of housewife in a run-down mansion they can’t afford to furnish. As the eerie isolation of their new home drives the family further apart, and the promise of a lucrative new beginning starts to unravel, Rory and Allison have to face the unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface of their marriage.

CAST: Jude Law, Carrie Coon


The Tribe of Gods

DIR: Loïc Jourdain

Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2020

The Tribe of Gods – Review of Irish Film at Galway Film Fleadh 2020

Documentary about Tory Island off the coast of county Donegal in Ireland and its inhabitants.

“a skillful blend of storytelling, music, song, heartache, celebration, strength, hardship and resilience.”—Orla Monaghan


A Bend in the River

DIR/WRI: Colin Broderick

Premiere at Belfast Film Festival 2020

Irish Film Review: A Bend in the River

A writer returns home to Ireland, after spending twenty-five years in New York, to confront the ghosts of his past. To make sense of the Northern Ireland he remembers as a child, in comparison with the place he finds it upon his return, still minus a united Ireland.

CAST: John Duddy, Kathy Kiera Clarke, John McConnell, Brendan Broderick, John Connors, Nicola Boyle, Jacqueline Kealy 

“a film which delves deep into the emotional landscape of re-visiting the past and demonstrates the effects of a landscape on a psyche.”—Irene Favey

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2 Comments

  1. Hi there.
    You forgot our film The tribe of gods ?? , irish premiere a the Galway film fleadh and french and world premiere at the FIPADOC in 2 weeks. Screening the 20th.
    Thanks
    Best
    Loic jourdain

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