A Celebration of the Life and Works of Ireland’s Late Great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibin ” Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London

On Saturday February 8th & 9th February 2020, The Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London presents a celebration of the life and works Of  Ireland’s late great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibin.

Niall Tóibin Ireland’s great actor and comedian passed away in November 2019. During his long career, spanning over six decades Tóibin appeared in more than 30 feature films. Among them, Ryan’s Daughter, Murphy’s Stroke, The Ballroom of Romance, Eat the Peach, Far and Away (in which he played opposite Tom Cruise), Veronica Guerin, Caught in a Free State, The Clinic and Bob Quinn’s’ ‘Poitin’.  As a stage actor the range of his work was vast and included unforgettable performances in Irish theatres as well as some of the most important theatres in London and New York. From Beckett, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill to embodying Brendan Behan in multiple productions at The Abbey and on Broadway. Niall Tóibín was capable of great intensity and complexity as an actor, but he was also hugely entertaining. His wicked glint of devilment, his gift for character observation and his ear for accents have seen his many ‘one- man shows’ garner praise by audiences all over the world. He did a great line in priests, from the formidable parish priest Fr Frank MacAnally in Ballykissangel, to the psychopathic Fr Geraldo in ‘Rat’ and the gentle cleric in ‘Brideshead Revisited’. He was hugely loved and respected by all who worked with him. Upon hearing about Niall’s death, the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said “His contribution to Irish theatre was a unique one, in both the Irish Language and English. The depth of interpretation that he brought to a wide variety of characters showed a very deep intellectual understanding and, above all, sensitivity to the nuance of Irish life. To the latter he brought a distinctive voice which made him a much-loved interpreter of Irish life and its challenges’.

In order to honour and pay tribute to Niall Tóibin, The Irish Cultural Centre London presents this unique season of films which brings to the screen some of Niall’s most magical and most powerful performances.  As part of the season the ICC will present the UK Premiere of the documentary ‘Niall Tóibín – Everyman’. There will be a Q&A with the director of the film Brian Reddin. We will also have rare screenings of ‘Eat the Peach’, ’Murphy’s Stroke’ ‘A Pint with Brendan Behan’ and Bob Quinn’s ‘Poitín’. There will also be a special gathering of some of Niall’s friends, colleagues and members of his family, who will share remembrances and anecdotes about his extraordinary career.

See the full programme below:

Saturday February 8th     

3.00pm

‘Murphy’s Stroke’ (Feature Film / Drama) Directed by Frank Cvitanovich

To launch this special tribute weekend The Irish Cultural Centre presents a Free Screening of this acclaimed, entertaining and much-loved feature film starring Niall Tóibin.   A businessman concocts a horse racing scam that involves passing off an inexperienced horse as a race winner to rig the betting odds. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Niall Tóibin and Tony Doyle.

FREE SCREENING 

5.00pm

Poitín (A Film/ Drama, in the Irish Language.)  

Directed by Bob Quinn.  Written by Colm Bairéad.  To pay tribute to Tóibin’s love for the Irish language, the ICC presents this special film which was in fact the very first feature film ever made in The Irish Language

Produced by Cinegael.    

A sometimes hilarious, but fundamentally grim  story about two poteen agents, Labhrás (Donal McCann) and Sleamhnan (Niall Tóibín), who steal their confiscated goods back from the Gardaí and cheat  their elderly poteen-maker, Micíl (Cyril Cusack) out  of his share of the money. Poitín made history in Connemara as the first feature film ever to be made in the Irish Language. Set against a desolate background Quinn’s raw and grim depiction of Irish rural life and living generated outrage when it was first screened in 1979. Images of stupidity and cruelty dominate this defiantly unsentimental film that, even today, retains its power to act as a riposte to idealisations of Ireland.

 Tickets £8.00 (65 mins) Ireland 1979:    

7.30pm

UK Premiere:  NIALL TÓIBÍN – EVERYMAN – (Documentary)  

Directed by Brain Reddin.  Dearg Films (2019)

Ireland’s great actor and comedian Niall Tóibín passed away on 13th November 2019, just eight days shy of his 90th birthday. This documentary celebrates his long life and career which spanned seven decades, entertaining us with characters and stories. 

In this intimate and often hilarious documentary, Niall’s daughters begin the task of documenting and archiving the huge collection of movie and theatrical memorabilia which Niall had collected over his long career. As they look back over these memories, the documentary celebrates Niall’s life and career, through a series of talking heads from fans and colleagues. What emerges is a poignant and funny story of a man who has managed to excel in every field of Irish entertainment . The film gives an insight into what made him so popular and a look at the lasting legacy he left behind. The film includes interviews with Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Rea and Jim Sheridan. 

This Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the Film Director Brian Reddin

Tickets £8.00 (60 mins) Ireland 2019. 


DAY 2 

Sunday February 9th  

3.00pm

‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ – Directed by Bergette Pierre – Produced by Godfrey Graham

 ‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ is a one man show from 1970 starring Niall Tóibín as Brendan Behan. Tóibín was known for his portrayal of Behan, starring in ‘Borstal Boy’ many times in The Abbey Theatre and on Broadway for which he won a Tony Award for his portrayal.  This is a rare chance to see this wonderful one man show from 1970 where Niall Tóibín plays Brendan Behan, as only he can.

Tickets £8.00 Length 1 hr

 

5.00pm

A Gathering of Some Friends and Colleagues of Niall Tóibin – ‘Remembering Tóibín The Man’ 

We are gathering friends and colleagues and some members of Niall’s family, among them his daughter Sighle.  This event is currently in planning –If anyone has a memory or story to share about Niall, please do get in touch and we will see if it can be included; 

Contact Rosalind Scanlon – Programmer@Irishculturalcentre.co.uk                                      – Free Event. 

 

7.30pm

‘Eat the Peach’ Directed by Peter Ormrod.  (Samson Films) Feature film / Drama

In 1984, inspired by Elvis Presley’s motorcycle antics in the film Roustabout and a visit to Dublin’s Funderland, two unemployed Irish brothers-in-law built a 40-foot cylindrical Wall of Death in their backyard.  RTÉ News reporter Peter Ormrod covered their story and was so enthralled that he decided to make a feature film about it. ‘Eat the Peach’ is a wryly comic tale of eccentricity and determination set in an Ireland of high unemployment and emigration. It is populated by entirely likeable and textured characters: the dreamers, Vinny (Stephen Brennan) and Arthur (Eamon Morrissey); longsuffering wife, Nora (Catherine Byrne); and the fake-American, Boots (Niall Toibin). 

‘Eat the Peach’ was voted as ‘one of the top 50 Irish films you must see’. The Irish Independent. 

Starts 7.30pm Tickets £8.00 (93 MINS,) IRELAND, 1986, 

 

This Special Tribute to Niall Tóibin has been curated by Sé Merry Doyle (Loopline Films) and Rosalind Scanlon – (For Irish Cultural Centre.)

 

Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith Blacks Road W6 9DT

Book Tickets;  www.Irishculturalcentre.co.uk    020 85638232

 

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Irish Film Review: Horrible Creature

Irene Falvey attended an IFI screening of Horrible Creature, Áine Stapleton’s film based on the life of Lucia Joyce between 1915 and 1950.

Áine Stapleton’s film Horrible Creature featured at the IFI as part of the First Fortnight festival on 8th January.  The feature is the second in Áine’s trilogy of films which depict the life of Lucia Joyce, James Joyce’s daughter who was a talented dancer. Lucia’s life was considerably altered by her time spent in and out of psychiatric care across Europe from the early 1930s onwards. Horrible Creature was a pertinent choice for the festival as it explores both creativity and issues surrounding mental health.

A stunning visual experience, Horrible Creature focuses on Lucia’s life from 1915-1950, providing a glimpse into Lucia’s childhood, her years as a successful dancer and her experiences of mental asylums across Europe. The narrative is told through highly interpretative and experimental dance to evoke an understanding of Lucia’s emotions. Alongside dance sequences, there are snippets of edited extracts from Lucia’s diaries and letters, providing the audience with brief yet illustrative glimpses into Lucia’s life and mental state. The chosen techniques of dance and carefully crafted extracts steers Horrible Creature away from a straightforward recounting; instead it feels as though we are going through Lucia’s experiences alongside her.  

To tell the story of Lucia Joyce’s life through the medium of dance gives us a clearer idea of who Lucia was, the movements manage to fill in the gaps of this important person’s life. The dancing is far more than just dance; it is expression, it is the outpouring of her story. The dance sequences are designed as a dialogue, representing everything Lucia could have possibly been experiencing and wanted to express but couldn’t.  

The location choices play a significant role within this depiction of Lucia’s life. Filmed across various locations in Switzerland, the natures scenes that DOP Will Humphris’ capture are breath-taking. Locations chosen include snow-covered Swiss mountains, clear lakes and hillside chapels. To contrast the natural landscapes a school, a hospital and a library room are also featured. These visually arresting landscapes and buildings/rooms add an extra symbolic quality to the dance performances. The locations switch between wide open spaces and confined spaces. Perhaps this could be interpreted to reveal the contrasts in Lucia’s life. The sprawling and open nature scenes represent how expansive Lucia’s career could potentially have been. To contrast this, the confined spaces, such as schools and hospitals, represent a closing in, a lack of freedom, spaces in which she could not express herself through dance. In particular, there is one shot of one of the dancers wedged into a fireplace. The effect of this makes us think of the talented dancer who wanted to achieve equal creative success to her father; yet her confinement to psychiatric care rendered her unable to perform which was suffocating and entrapping. 

Horrible Creature manages to bring to life the story of person who has been overshadowed. Not only is a very worthy story being told, it is also being done so with a highly creative vision. Horrible Creature acts as a meditation on how we imagine Lucia would have felt. While the film principally consists of dance sequences, the composed snippets of dialogue provide a revelatory window into Lucia’s life. We are provided with insights from her school days, the friendships of her youth, her family, her love life and her career. What Horrible Creature provides is a stylised interpretation of the emotional experiences which may have underpinned the highs and lows of Lucia’s life. The delicately nuanced yet powerfully visceral choreography ensures that this feature respects and represents Lucia’s life, her struggles and her ambitions. Overall the film relies more so on expression than documentation; it reveals the suffering Lucia must have faced while evocatively and effectively employing dance to paint a picture of Lucia’s mental state.  

 

Horrible Creature screened at the Irish Film Institute on 8th January 2020.

 

 

Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Horrible Creature’

 

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Review: Uncut Gems

DIR: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie • WRI: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie • DOP: Darius Khondji • ED: Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie • DES: Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins • PRO: Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Eli Bush, Scott Rudin • MUS: Daniel Lopatin • DES: Sam Lisenco • CAST: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett

Benny and Josh Safdie, aka the Safdie brothers, are quickly defining themselves as crown jewels of New York cinema, who can go toe to toe and pound for pound with the greats.  Uncut Gems marks their follow up to their critically acclaimed film Good Time, starring Robert Pattison.

There’s a spontaneity and vitality to Gems, that feels totally improvised, but make no mistake it’s a finely crafted structure; a diamond through and through.  It might have something to do with the Safdie’s spending a decade honing the script, distilling it down to its absolute purest form. But somehow even this explanation doesn’t cut it. It’s more likely the result of some mysterious unseen process, that’s nothing short of cinematic alchemy. Uncut Gems is an incendiary display of virtuoso, acid-soaked filmmaking. It seems to have been born straight out of the head of Zeus, like a bolt of lightning. The film follows a full-tilt day in the life of jeweller, and chronic high-stakes gambler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler).

There’s a wild glisten in Howard’s eye, a yearning ambition that seems unfathomable in its scope. As Howard traverses the New York diamond district, we’re brought into the sphere of his world.  His working and domestic lives are an interconnected mess, and where one ends and the other begins is impossible to discern.  He settles bets. Trades bets. And pawns goods, only to place more bets. He’s separated from his wife. But has a lover at work. But he has to see his kids. And then, of course, he’s up to his neck in debt. But the values of his relationships rise and crash from moment to moment. It’s a perpetual hell-like dynamic, and his soul’s split in two, as he struggles to balance his insatiable desire, with his paternal responsibilities.  But when Howard’s violently beaten by debtors, he pawns anything and everything, and lays down the bet of a lifetime; and everything hangs in the balance.

The Safdie’s have capitalized on the spiritual essence of Sandler, and utilized it in a way that casts aside any doubters. And Sandler is riveting, his anxious charisma and beating heart have never been this finely tooled.  He grounds Howard with a humanity, and an existential longing which rages through his heart and drives his destabilizing lifestyle. This is the defining performance of Adam Sandler’s career, it’s a masterclass in acting that utilizes his talent to hypnotizing effect.  The cast is rounded out with a wealth of talent including Indina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch and NBA superstar Kevin Garnett.

The Safdie’s turn the New York diamond district into a vista of fluorescent and neon-soaked horror. Their vision is crystallized by the inimitable genius of legendary cinematographer Darius Khondji, who wields his camera and lighting with ferocious honesty. There’s a heightened naturalism and reality to everything that feels more like a documentary. Every second within the frame there’s a tension that anything can happen, and it does; life unfolds, at a dizzying gymnastic pace.

This is complemented with a score courtesy of the Safdies’ regular collaborator Daniel Lopatin. His punchy dance score is a battle of beating synthesizers and brass that are moulded and cast to euphoric effect.  Between the sonic insanity of uncategorizable beats, there’s an impenetrable loneliness that’s so Howard Ratner.

But past the glisten of diamonds and the cocaine mist of Uncut Gems, the Safdie Brothers have a crafted a potent mediation about the cost of our desires. And it’s a mesmerisingly unique human experience. The Howard Ratner experience. His life instantly feels both familiar and unfamiliar, and it’s this paradoxical mystery that won’t let you stop watching. There’s a profound cosmic hunger and melancholy that fuels Howard at the core. He’s magnetically drawn to the chaos of the moment even when he risks gravitating towards destruction. Ultimately, this all adds fuel to fire, making Uncut Gems an open-veined shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.

Michael Lee

135′ 21″
16 (see IFCO for details)

Uncut Gems is released 10th January 2020

Uncut Gems – Official Website

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Arts and Disability Connect 2020

The Arts Council and Arts & Disability Ireland announce the 2020 Arts and Disability Connect funding scheme for artists with disabilities.

Specifically targeted at individual artists with disabilities Arts and Disability Connect includes New Work, Mentoring and Training awards.

Application forms and guidelines for Arts and Disability Connect 2020 are available to download from Monday 13 January at www.adiarts.ie/connect.


Arts and Disability Connect deadline: Monday 24 February at 4pm

Information Sessions
Join Amie Lawless as she talks through how the scheme works and take the opportunity to ask any questions over tea and coffee. This year we will host information sessions in Cork, Carlow, Navan and Dublin.

21 January – Crawford Art Gallery, Cork at 2pm
29 January – Visual, Carlow at 2pm
30 January – Solstice Arts Centre, Navan at 2pm
06 February – Project Arts Centre, Dublin at 2pm

Please email amie@adiarts.ie if you would like to attend an information session. All of the venues are accessible to wheelchair users. Let us know if you have any additional access requirements.

For information about the awards and application support please contact: Amie Lawless, amie@adiarts.ie / 01 8509006

Arts and Disability Connect is Funded by the Arts Council and managed by Arts & Disability Ireland.

 

Submissions & Funding Deadlines

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Get into Film: Training, Courses, Workshops & Masterclasses

 

Looking to get into film? Want to start out or upskill? Here’s some upcoming training programmes to help you make that move. 

If you are running a training course and would like to be listed, email filmireland@gmail.com

 

Genre Writing with Ferdia Mac Anna  9th March 2020. An Droichead Arts Centre. 2020. Have you ever wanted to write a Thriller, Horror tale or Comedy? This 1 day course is aimed at emerging writers and will focus upon Thrillers, Comedy and Horror to explore character, storyline, structure and more. A lively and informative introduction to writing for genre.

Writing for Animation with Kristina Yee 3rd March 2020. Irish Writers Centre, Dublin.This is a practical 6-week course for writers looking to break into the animation industry. There will be a focus on writing for children’s television, while exploring the industry in the UK and Ireland.

Filmmaking  Basics  18th February 2020. Cork Film Centre. A hands-on course for entry-level filmmakers. Over six evening classes plus one day-long shooting session, participants will acquire the basic skills to devise and shoot films.

Write or Rewrite YOUR Short Film with Eilish Kent 12th February 2020. Dublin, TBC. Want to write a short film that will get noticed? Over four weeks you will get continuous feedback on your script and learn the dos of short scripts that get made.

Writing Female Centered Films 10th February 2020. Dublin, TBC. In this eight-week course you will explore the fundamentals of writing feature film, with special emphasis on stories about and for women. How to give agency to female protagonists who frequently don’t fit the role of active hero. Explore the narrative risks worth taking and the rules to break.

Creating Screenplays for Short Films with Stephen Walsh 3rd February 2020. Irish Writers Centre, Dublin. A 10-week introduction to visual narrative and the screenplay form which is also a workshop in which participants can develop their ideas into short scripts.

Managing Mentoring Workshop 1st February 2020. Dublin TBC. This workshop looks at mentoring, how to manage this as part of your overall role and how, if done effectively it can have a positive impact on individuals and the industry as a whole.

Full-Time Professional Actor Training Programme 31st January2020. Gaiety School of Acting. The intensive two-year actor training programme is designed to prepare participants for work as an actor in Ireland and internationally

Leading Successful Teams  Dublin TBC, 25th January 2020. This course is the second in a number of three workshops run for people working in the screen industry.  It is ideal for department heads, those managing people in the industry, and people who are about to step up to this role.

The Lir Audition Workshop Cork, 25th January 2020. At this acting audition workshop, one of the core acting teachers at The Lir Academy, will guide participants through preparing for auditions, through careful selection of monologues and developing characterisation.

Abel Ferrara Masterclass Trinity College Dublin, 23rd January 2020. This inspiring masterclass will focus on the director’s work, style & creation of films including working with non actors discussing films to date. It will feature open discussion, allowing for interactive questions & answers, and will be of particular interest to directors, writers, cinematographers, actors, and producers.

Assistant Editing for Non-Fiction in Association with Irish Screen Editors 24th January 2020. In this course participants will gain a full insight into the role and responsibilities of the assistant editor.

In The Writers Room III 20th January 2020. MICHAEL ZAM was co-creator, writer and co-producer on the FX miniseries, Feud: Bette & Joan, which was nominated for 18 Emmys, including two for Zam, which was based on his Black-Listed screenplay, Best Actress. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon starred in the 2017 series

BAME/Afro Hairstyling Workshop 19th January 2020. This one-day workshop, run in partnership with the Hairstylist Guild of Ireland and Image Skillnet, is the first in a suite of courses aimed at upskilling hairstylists working with BAME hair (Black Asian Minority and Ethnic), focusing on Afro Hair.

The Lir Audition Workshop Dublin, 18th January 2020. At this acting audition workshop, one of the core acting teachers at The Lir Academy, will guide participants through preparing for auditions, through careful selection of monologues and developing characterisation.

Jeb Stuart Masterclass IFI, 19th January 2020. Join award-winning screenwriter Jeb Stuart (Die HardThe Fugitive) for a masterclass in writing action movies. Using clips from his blockbusting classics, he will explore the process of mapping twists, creating charismatic characters and crafting memorable lines.

Write that Script! – Screenwriting Workshop with Lindsay J. Sedgwick Dublin, 18th January 2020. This workshop will look at how to adapt an idea for the screen, from developing characters and writing powerful scenes, through to structuring stories, creating worlds and everything in between. The goal: that you will know what you need to have the confidence to write a compelling and visual screenplay. Cancelled.

Building Resilience and Time Management Skills 18th January 2020. This course is the first of three workshops run for people working in the screen industry. This course will focus on helping attendees manage their time and remain resilient in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

 

 

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Film Festivals 2020 – Here & Abroad

 

Keep an eye on film festivals here and Irish film festivals abroad.

This list will be updated throughout the year as festival dates are announced.

If there’s a festival you are involved with or know of that we haven’t listed, please do let us know at filmireland@gmail.com

Film Festivals in Ireland:

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival (25 January 2020)

Silk Road Film Festival Dublin ( 21 – 25 January 2020)

Psychoanalytic Film Festival (31 January – 1 February 2020)

Rathmullan Film Fest Donegal (20 – 23 February 2020)

Dublin International Film Festival (26 February– 8 March 2020)

Irish Adventure Film Festival  Westport, Co. Mayo (29th February  2020)

Cork French Film Festival (TBA)

First Cut! Youth Film Festival (11 – 14 March 2020)

The Catalyst Film Festival Limerick (20 – 21 March 2020)

Animation Dingle (20 – 21 March 2020)

Killarney Mountain Festival  (27 29 March 2020)

See You Next Thursday Festival  Dublin (TBA)

Dingle International Film Festival (TBA)

Fresh Film Festival Limerick (23  28 March 2020)

International Student Documentary Festival  Cork (TBA)

East Asia Film Festival Ireland Dublin (TBA)

Belfast Film Festival (1 – 9 April 2020)

Japanese Film Festival (TBA)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Dublin (TBA)

Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival Cork (20 – 24 May 2020)

Korean Film Festival Ireland (TBA)

China Ireland International Film Festival (TBA)

Beara Film Fest (TBA)

Galway Film Fleadh (7 – 12 July 2020)

IFI Family Festival Dublin (TBA)

Radical Film Network Conference Dublin (TBA)

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin (30 July – 3 August)

Still Voices Short Film Festival Longford (13 – 16 August 2020)

Dublin Feminist Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival Kerry  (TBA)

Ireland Wildlife Film Festival Cork (TBA)

Underground Cinema Festival Dublin  (TBA)

Clare Island Film Festival (TBA)

Guth Gafa Meath (TBA)

IFI Documentary Festival  Dublin (TBA)

Disappear Here Film Festival Donegal (TBA)

Spook Scene Cork  (TBA)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Belfast TBA)

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival (TBA)

Dublin Arabic Film Festival (TBA)

Kilkenny Animated (TBA)

IndieCork (4 – 11 October 2020)

OFFline Offaly (TBA)

Dublin Greek Film Festival  (TBA)

Dublin Animation Film Festival (October TBC)

Kerry Film Festival (15 – 18 October 2020)

The Clones Film Festival (TBA)

Richard Harris International Film Festival Limerick (TBA)

IFI Horrorthon Dublin (TBA)

Light Moves Festival (TBA)

Dublin Independent Film Festival (TBA)

Cork Film Festival (12 – 22 November 2020)

Carlow International Film Festival (14 – 17 November 2020)

Iffy Short Film Festival Dublin (November 2020 TBC)

Waterford Film Festival (TBA)

Subtitle European Film Festival (23 – 29 Nov 2020)

Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival Cork (TBA)

Junior Galway Film Fleadh (10 – 14 November 2020)

Foyle Film Festival Derry (TBA)

IFI French Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

KINOPOLIS Polish Film Festival Dublin (TBA)


Irish Film Festivals Abroad:

Irish Film Festival New Jersey (1st February 2020)

Capital Irish Film Festival Washington (27th February – 1st March 2020)

Chicago Irish Film Festival (27th February – 1st March 2020)

Toronto Irish Film Festival (28th February – 1st March 2020)

Irish Film Festival Boston (22 – 24 March 2020)

Irish Film Festa Rome (March 2020)

Irish Film Festival Ottawa (3 – 5 April 2020)

Irish Film Festival Sydney (13 – 17 May), Melbourne (21 – 24 May 2020)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Celtic Media Festival  Quimper  (2 – 4 June 2020)

Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival (TBA)

British & Irish Film Festival (TBA)

Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival (TBA)

Festival of Irish Cinema Warsaw (TBA)

San Francisco Irish Film Festival(TBA)

The Irish American Movie Hooley   (TBA)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Irish Screen America Los Angeles(TBA)

Irish Screen America New York  (TBA)

Irish Film Festival London(TBA)

Vancouver Irish Film Festival (TBA)

This list will be updated throughout the year as festival dates are announced.

If there’s a festival you are involved with or know of that we haven’t listed, please do let us know at filmireland@gmail.com

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – 45th Anniversary Screening @ First Fortnite

This year is the 45th anniversary of the release of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  Writer and broadcaster Ann Marie Hourihan tells us why the film is still relevant today.  The film screens in Donegal, Leitrim and Kildare as part of First Fortnight Festival, which makes the beginning of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest still feels fresh.  The film was released in 1975, it  was based on the novel written by Ken Kesey, published in 1962. But  its theme is eternal. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is about control, that is social control. And it is also about the insanity of sanity.

When it first appeared the book – which also became a successful Broadway play-  was recognised  as a portrait of the individual against the system, of the fight between the old culture of conformity against the new alternative counter culture of which Ken Kesey was a enthusiastic member. He had also worked nights at the Palo Alto Veterans’ Hospital.

The film  is about mental illness as a form of protest against the madness of the world, and as a shelter from the world, and also as a punishment meted out by the world.   One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is set in  a mental hospital that functions because both sides – the staff and the patients – agree on this view and conform to it: “Medication time!”

Into this calm and desolate system comes R.P McMurphy who wants  to be incarcerated in a mental hospital rather than face time in jail. He has been convicted of statutory rape for having sex with a fifteen year old girl. McMurphy is unrepentant : “She was fifteen going on thirty five and she was very willing… no man could resist that.”

In fact throughout the film sex  (for men) is regarded as the cure for most things. Several of the patients have been  incarcerated precisely because the outside world does not allow them to have sex. Both Billy’s mother and Mr Hardy’s wife have forbidden their men sex and therefore, by implication, consigned them to the madhouse . On their hospital ward  they are dominated and patronised by Nurse Ratched, whom McMurphy quickly identifies as the enemy.

There are no female patients in this  hospital and there is only one non-white male on McMurphy’s ward : Chief, a Native American, played by Will Sampson. The male orderlies are all African-Americans. So  McMurphy has a group of white men to play with, and to bring pleasure to.  He cleans up at their card games, takes them fishing, tries to sharpen up their basket ball, and petitions for them to watch the World Series: “Come on, be good Americans”.

One of the greatest scenes in the film is when, although Nurse Ratched has forbidden patients to watch the World Series, R.P. McMurphy sits them down in front of a blank television screen and has them cheering at an imaginary baseball game whilst he provides a running commentary.

Most of the time though his fellow inmates are shy, obedient and terribly afraid. They don’t want any trouble and, as McMurphy discovers to his horror, the majority of them are voluntary inmates, free to leave whenever they want but reluctant to even try for liberty.

The film is brought to greatness by the actors portraying these patients. The stuttering Billy ( Brad Dourif), Danny DeVito as Martini, who eats the Monopoly pieces, and Cheswick, played by Sydney Lassick. Cheswick is full of despair as he protests at Nurse Ratched’s withholding of his cigarettes by sobbing “ I ain’t no little kid.”

The punishment for Cheswick’s outburst is swift and terrible, and we see clearly what McMurphy is only beginning to understand: that the relative calm of Nurse Ratched’s ward is based on a ruthless penal system just as bad as any prison’s.

In the book the story of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is narrated by the Chief – its title comes from a nursery rhyme from his childhood. At the end of the film McMurphy’s anarchy gives the Chief courage to start living again, although the system at the hospital remains  unchanged.

The director of  the film, Milos Foreman, had escaped to America from the Soviet totalitarianism in his native Czechoslavakia. He was determined that the film, before anything else, had to feel real. He and many of the film’s actors stayed at the Oregon State Mental Hospital where it was filmed. In fact Dr Spivey, who interviews McMurphy on his arrival, was played by Dr Dean Brooks, who was the director of the hospital. Other parts in the film were taken by real patients and staff. Even at the time of filming the mental health system’s attitude to incarceration was changing:   the population of Oregon State Mental Hospital had been fallen to just 600 patients. Some of the  film’s attitudes would not be tolerated now. But some things do not change and anyone with experience of the modern mental health system will identify with it. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest still feels all too real.

 

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest screens

04 January @ 20:00 Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair, Donegal
14 January @ 20:00 The Dock, Leitrim
16 January @ 20:00 The Riverbank , Kildare

 

First Fortnight utilises arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma while supporting some of Ireland’s most vulnerable people through creative therapies. 

In Ireland, one in four people are predicted to struggle with their mental health at some point in their lives.

 

www.firstfortnight.ie/

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Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Horrible Creature’

'Horrible Creature', Aine Stapleton

Áine Stapleton introduces us to her film Horrible Creaturewhich screens on Wednesday, 8th January 2020  at 18.30 at the IFI as part of IFI & First Fortnight January 2020.

Horrible Creature is the second part of a proposed trilogy of films about Lucia Joyce. It examines her life between 1915 and 1950 and is filmed at locations where she spent time in Switzerland. The first film, Medicated Milk, was inspired by Lucia’s diaries which she wrote at a psychiatric hospital in Northampton, England, between the 1960s and 1980s. 

Whereas Medicated Milk offers a more disembodied and fluid exploration of Lucia’s memories and dreams, Horrible Creature brings the body to the forefront and follows a linear structure of events. It meets Lucia during her earlier formative years and examines her education, dissension between her parents, childhood friendships, romantic relationships, her professional dance training, and ill-treatment suffered whilst in psychiatric care. It also looks at how memories of traumatic experiences can become clouded, repressed, and stored away in the body, but ultimately these subconscious and unconscious energies find expression through our feelings, dreams, and actions.

I began working on Horrible Creature directly after finishing Medicated Milk in 2015. I moved to Zurich, Switzerland, for one year and researched part-time at the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, which is directed by the legendary Fritz Senn. The Joyce family moved from Italy to Zurich in 1915, to escape the turmoil of WW1. Lucia later trained as a professional dancer in France and performed throughout Europe. She returned to Switzerland for psychiatric treatment in the 1930s, most famously with Carl Jung.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many firsthand accounts by Lucia from this time period. I revised the letters and diaries that I had gathered for Medicated Milk and searched various archives for earlier writings and letters of communication by Lucia, her friends, family, and doctors. I edited these texts to create a film script and a choreographic score. A choreographic score is a detailed language score, that is interpreted by performers through movements and vocalisations. For example, this score was filmed in the church at the Madonna Del Sasso monastery in Locarno – ‘She goes to the garden where she remains inaccessible. The garden is rather sad, but there are some beautiful colours and stained glass inside. She sits in the green like flowers on a grave, and is in sympathy with the present. The light here is wonderful so she can sing at last, and her bird song is a little monotonous. Her song is a reminder of a lifeless place.’

Horrible Creature is a retelling of Lucia’s life through the art form which was her passion and explores the transformative nature of dance. I was grateful to work with a cast of three diverse and outstanding dance artists from different countries – Michelle Boulé (USA), Sarah Ryan (IRE), and Céline Larrére (FR). We began our process by rehearsing in-studio at Dance Ireland, Dublin, and Culture D’arbois, located in the Jura mountains close to Geneva. Over a number of weeks, the performers embodied and reinterpreted the details of the language score. The score was also layered with experimental movement practices, that aim to cultivate present moment awareness. A separate voiceover was performed beautifully by Dublin based actresses Aenne Barr and Rebecca Warner. 

I acted as producer and searched for locations in Switzerland where Lucia spent time. I was provided with some archival materials including Swiss German school books from Lucia’s school years, and an old treatment machine from her psychiatric hospital. The school books contained lesson plans about war and nature. I combined these texts with imagery of mountainous landscapes and the dancers’ bodies, to further reference the effects of violence and human destruction of the natural world.

Lucia’s own dancing was also inspired by nature. She created a stunning fish costume for a performance in Paris, as well as playing the role of a tropical vine in a ballet. I worked with a fantastic Dublin-based Italian designer Ivan Moreno Bonica, to redesign these original costumes and other clothing from Lucia’s early life. 

Director of Photography was Will Humphris from England. Will is an extremely experienced cinematographer and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to work with him – plus massive thanks to Zoe at My Management for her support. It was Will’s first time working with dancers, but he remained constantly alert to the changeability of their movements and fully embraced the style of the project. The nature of the choreographic practice meant that both the dancers’ movements and their use of space altered with each take, so the performers and Will had to be extremely creative in their collaborations during the filming process. 

All of the venues, such as hospitals and schools, are still functioning in their original forms. Due to privacy and access limitations, as well as budget constraints, we filmed with a small crew of myself as director, DOP, and the three dance artists, over a nine-day shoot. We began at Lucia’s psychiatric hospital near Geneva, then drove across to Simplon Pass, a mountainous area where the Joyce’s crossed from Italy to Switzerland, Ticino, and finally up to Zurich and the surrounding districts. We filmed in early February, so both travel and filming conditions were a bit extreme at times. The dancers were exposed to varying weather conditions and environments – as well as my driving skills!. They worked diligently to practice the language score whilst remaining present and open to the energetic textures and histories present at each location. 

It was never my intention to create a solely historical account of Lucia’s life, so I didn’t alter the design of the locations much at all. I wanted to allow for a sense of connection between then and now. The buildings are all really stunning in their present conditions, and at Lucia’s school, for example, there was a beautiful display of student’s artwork from modern-day combined with 100-year-old science posters from Lucia’s school years. 

In post-production, I decided to first structure the entire film as a purely visual piece. I wanted each element of the production to have its own creative space and rhythm, before layering everything at the final stages. For me, this way of working adds a layer of tension to the work, which helps to sustain my interest as a viewer. This was quite a slow working process, and I spent a lot of time picking apart the footage before post-production. I worked on the edit with a good friend and wonderful editor / filmmaker José Miguel Jiménez, who I had worked with previously on Medicated Milk. 

A very beautiful and haunting soundtrack was created by Ed Chivers and David Best, two members of the British band Fujiya and Miyagi. The duo worked from extracts of Lucia’s writings and gained further inspiration from songs that she would have sung or played on the piano. As a choreographer, I’m not particularly interested in dance following music or vice versa, so Ed and David didn’t watch any of the footage until the last stages of their creation process. 

Horrible Creature premiered at the IFI in June 2019, and I’m delighted to present it again as part of the First Fortnight Festival. I’ve had an exciting and ongoing relationship with the First Fortnight team since they presented Medicated Milk at the IFI in 2016. I’m also curating a series of dance and wellness workshops in partnership with First Fortnight, Dance Ireland, and Galway Dance Project for the festival in 2020.

Horrible Creature is kindly funded by The Arts Council of Ireland, The Embassy of Ireland in Switzerland, with additional support from Arts & Disability Ireland, Dance Ireland, The James Joyce Centre, The Ticino Film Commission, Zurich James Joyce Foundation, Tanzarchiv Zurich, and FringeLab. Thanks to everyone who offered advice and support during the making of the work. I’d also like to say a big thank you to Sunniva O’ Flynn and the IFI team for their ongoing support of my film work. 

 

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Áine Stapleton.

Book tickets here.

 

 

 

Interview: Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Medicated Milk’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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