8 Irish Film Festivals Sign Pledge for Gender Parity and Inclusion

Women in Film and Television Ireland (wft.ie) a chapter of Women in Film and Television International, has announced that to date 8 Irish Film festivals have accepted their invitation to sign up to the 5050×2020 Gender Parity and Inclusion Pledge which was launched by Cannes Festival chiefs at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

These are: Animation Dingle, Cork Film Festival, Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, GAZE LGBT Film Festival, Kerry Film Festival, Still Voices Short Film Festival and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
Founded in 2003, the Dublin International Film Festival sets the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film.

The official Irish festival signing was held yesterday at The Lighthouse Cinema with John Rice (Co-Founder & Director Animation Dingle), Aoife O’Toole (Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival), Fiona Clark (Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival), Ronan O’ Toole (Director Still Voices Short Film Festival) and Gráinne Humphreys (Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival) in attendance alongside Dr. Susan Liddy, (Chair of Women in Film & Television Ireland).


Dr Susan Liddy Chair of Women in Film and Television Ireland, Fiona Clark Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival, Aoife O’ Toole Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Grainne Humphreys Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival, John Rice Founder Animation Dingle and Ronan O Toole Director Still Voices Short Film Festival. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

It’s heartening that so many Irish film festivals have joined forces with us to formally commit to the principle of gender parity and inclusion in festivals. We warmly welcome their enthusiasm and solidarity and we hope this initiative will mark the beginning of a supportive partnership between us. We need more women in the film industry at every level. While girls’ and women’s voices are not heard and their stories are not told, our culture is the poorer for it. Film festivals are a hugely important part of any conversation about equality. They are an important link in the journey of a film and filmmaker. This is why we need greater transparency about what films are submitted, what films are selected and who is making the decisions. As with anything, information must be the starting point and we commend these festivals for agreeing to track that. This is an initiative that WFT Ireland will be building on over the coming months and we call on other festivals to join with us and embrace the challenge.
Dr. Susan Liddy, Chair – Women in Film & Television Ireland

Initiated by the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective, a charter was signed in 2018 by Cannes’ festival chiefs to work towards gender parity and inclusion.

The charter invites film festivals across the world to make the following commitment to gender parity and inclusion:

  • To compile statistics of gender of the directors of all the films submitted to selection (and when possible, to also compile statistics of the cast and crew when mentioned in the registration process).
  • To make public the gender of the members of selection committees, programmers and programming consultants.
    To make public the gender of executive boards and/or boards of directors and/or to commit to a schedule to achieve parity in these bodies.
    All Irish festival signatories have committed to giving a full update to Women in Film & Television Ireland, who will make public their progress during their respective 2020 festivals.
  • Women in Film & Television Ireland will also update the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective about the new signatories in time for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

As Ireland’s first and largest film festival, Cork Film Festival (CFF) is pleased to join WFTV in partnering with the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to pledge our commitment to the 5050×2020 Charter, alongside the first Irish signatories. CFF supports increased transparency and gender-focused change across the Irish film landscape. CFF actively advocates for equality and inclusion in our industry by creating opportunities for meaningful public and sector dialogue as part of the Festival and by monitoring gender parity across our programme, submissions, jurors, panelists, programmers, staff, Board and volunteers.

The 63rd edition of the Festival in 2018 demonstrated that the Festival is actively making steps towards achieving its gender parity commitment. For example, 42% of our Shorts Programme was directed, co-directed and/or produced by women and 72% of our award-winning films were directed, co-directed and/or produced by women, with 47% female awards jurors. While this demonstrates CFF’s commitment to achieving greater representation for women in our programme, we recognise the need to focus our collective energy on advocating for gender equality in the sector. We welcome the opportunity to participate in the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to strive for equal representation for women’s voices in film.
Fiona Clark, Producer & CEO – Cork Film Festival

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is proud to be part of the first group of signatories to the 5050×2020 Charter. The festival puts the films and filmmakers at its heart and understands the importance of nurturing new and experienced talent alike.

In 2019, of the over 100 feature length films screened at the festival, we are glad to say that 59% had women producers and 30% were produced by people of colour. However, the Festival is not complacent about its progress to date, and recognises that there is more work to be done to achieve diversity in all of its activities.

This partnership between the festival, WIFT and Cannes is another important step in proactively changing the power dynamics and creative output of the Irish film industry for the better.
Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director – Dublin International Film Festival


Submissions & Funding Deadlines


Looking for funding for your film? Want to submit your work to festivals? Keep an eye on upcoming deadlines here.

If you have a deadline you’d like us to include, please contact filmireland@gmail.com

Click on the link for further information:

TV Drama Production Funding 13th December 2019

Project Development Loans 13th December 2019

Documentary Development  13th December 2019

Screenplay Development  13th December 2019

Fiction: Irish Production 13th December 2019

TV Drama Development  31st October 2019

Project Development Loans 31st October 2019

Documentary Development  31st October 2019

Screenplay Development  31st October 2019

Eurimages Co-production Deadlines 22nd October 2019

TV Drama Production Funding 18th October 2019

Fiction: Irish Production 18th October 2019

NFF+HBF Co-production scheme 9th October 2019

Script + Project Development: Voices 1st September 2019

Project Development Loans 30th August 2019

Documentary Development  30th August 2019

Screenplay Development  30th August 2019

Eurimages Co-production Deadlines 22nd August 2019

TV Drama Production Funding 16th August 2019

Fiction: Irish Production  16th August 2019

Authored Works Funding Scheme 15th August 2019

Script + Project Development: Bright Future 1st August 2019

Submissions for TG4 Programming 2020-2021 12th July 2019

Submissions for Medimed, the Euromed Docs Market & Pitching Forum 30th June 2019

TV Drama Development  28th June 2019 

Project Development Loans 28th June 2019 

Documentary Development  28th June 2019

Screenplay Development  28th June 2019

TV Drama Production Funding 14th June 2019

Fiction: Irish Production 14th June 2019

Dublin Feminist Film Festival Submissions  14th June 2019

TFL World Co-Production Fund 12th June 2019

ACE 29 Production Training Programme 12th June 2019

IBF Project Development  10th June 2019

IBF Production & Post Production  10th June  

Selective Distribution 7th June 2019

Cinema Distribution Selective Scheme  4th June 2019

TFL Audience Design Fund 3rd June

Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Competition 31st May 2019

Television Programming 28th May 2019

48 Hour Challenge 24th May 2019

NI Screen Craft and Technical Skills Scheme 10th May 2019

Reel Art Funding Scheme 9th May 2019

Support To Film Festivals  7th May 2019

Kerry Short Film Bursary 30th April

WRAP Development Support 30th April 2019

Project Development Loans 30th April 2019

Documentary Development  30th April 2019

Screenplay Development   30th April 2019

Creative Europe MEDIA Single Project Development 24th April 2019

Screen Leaders 19th April 2019

TV Drama Production Funding 16th April 2019

Fiction: Irish Production 16th April 2019

Irish Delegation to BANFF World Media Festival and Vancouver Trade Mission 12th April 2019

Promotion of European Works Online 5th April 2019

True North Shorts  3rd April 2019

IDFA Bertha Fund 1st April 2019

Shot by the Sea Submissions 31st March 2019

Young Irish Film Makers Screenwriting competition 31st March 2019

FilmOffaly Short Film Award  22nd March 2019

Newport Beach Film Festival Submissions 21st March 2019

Harp Media Student Short Film and Screenplay Competition 15th March 2019

Northern Ireland Screen’s Feature Documentary Development Funding 15th March 2019

Arts Grant Funding 14th March 2019

EFP Producers on the Move 2019 12 March 2019

Doc Fest Ireland Film Submissions 9th March 2019

Film Education 7th March 2019

Project Development Loans 28th February 2019 

TV Drama Development  28th February 2019

TV Drama Production Funding 28th February 2019

Documentary Development  28th February 2019

Screenplay Development  28th February 2019

Pitch Pilot Workshop Galway 22nd February 2019

Slate Funding Development  20th February 2019

WFT Members’ Short Film Showcase Submissions 20th February 2019

St. Patrick’s Film Festival London Short Film Submission – 15th February 2019

Fiction: Irish Production 15th February 2019

Access to Markets  7th February 2019

Beara Film Fest    31st January 2019

Arts Council Film bursary award  31st January 2019

First Cut! Youth Film Festival 14th January

Submissions for Writers Conference 11th January

SDGI Arri Alexa Take 11th January 2019

Galway Film Fleadh Feature Film Submissions 18th January 2019

Irish Film Festa Short Film Submissions 10th January 2019

Artist Residencies and Bursaries  @ Centre Culturel Irlandais 10th January 2019

Cinema Distribution Selective Scheme  8th January 

Newport Beach Film Festival 21st December 2018

Junior Entertainment Talent Slate 20th December 2018

Support To Film Festivals  20th December 2018 

Television Programming 18th December 2018 

Creative Europe MEDIA Single Project Development 18th December 2018

Irish Animation Awards Submissions 10th December 2018

Dingle International Film Festival  Submissions – 3rd December 2018

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival Submissions – 1st December 2018

Cartoon Movie 21st November 2018

BAI Sound & Vision Round 3 TV & Radio – 8th November 2018

BAI Sponsorship Scheme 2019 29th November

Shebeen Flick Submissions Late Deadline – 1st October 2018

Celtic Media Festival Submissions – 31st October 2018

Dingle International Film Festival  Físín Submissions  – 26th October

Festivals Investment Scheme – 25th October 2018

Celtic International Fund – 24th October 2018

Reel Art and Authored Works  –11 October 2018

BAI Archiving Funding Scheme  –4th October 2018

Shebeen Flick Submissions – 1st October 2018

International Co-Production Development Fund – 30th September 2018

BAI Canada-Ireland Co-development Incentive  – 28th September 2018

IMRO | RTÉ Scoring For Film Programme 28th September 2018

EWA Network Scriptwriter’s Residency 24th September

RTÉ | BAI Round 32  21st September 2018

Irish Screen America New York  Submissions Extended Deadline 14th September 2018

Irish Film Festival London Submissions 14th September 2018

Dublin Port Short Film Prize 13th September 2018

Annual Directors’ Finders Series Showcase 7th September 2018

Cinemagic Young Filmmaker 31st August 2018

Waterford Film Festival Late Deadline 31st August

Richard Harris International Film Festival Submissions Late Deadline 18th August 2018

Screen Ireland Film Project Award – 16th July 2018

Wexford Stories Short Film Funding 31st July 2018

ADIFF  Submissions 31st July 2018

Richard Harris International Film Festival Submissions 31st July 2018

Wicklow Screendance Laboratory 27th July 2018

Waterford Film Festival Short Films & Short Scripts 27th July 2018

Writing Mentorship Scheme 23rd July 2018

Film Mayo Creative Ireland Residency Award 18th July 2018

Underground Cinema Film Festival Submissions 14th July  2018

Spook Screen Submissions 30th June 2018

ilDÁNA Documentary Funding 21st June

IFI Documentary Festival Submissions 20th June 2018

Pitching Competition Galway Film Fleadh 8th June 2018

Galway Film Fair Marketplace 1st June 2018

Irish Film Board Production Funding 31st May 2018 

TV Programming Support Scheme 24th May 2018

Galway Film Fleadh Short Film Submissions 12th May 2018

Cork Film Festival  Feature Film Submissions 4th May 2018

Film Bursary Award 2018 27th April 2018

dlr First Frames Scheme Short Film Funding 27th April 2018

Arts and Disability Connect Funding Scheme 26th April 2018

Light Moves Festival of Screendance Submissions 20th April 2018

Support for Development of Audiovisual Content – Single Project 2018 19th April 2018

Screen Training Ireland Screen Leaders 13th April 2018

POV Training Scheme for female writers & directors  13th April 2018

Northern Ireland Screen’s Feature Doc Development 6th April 2018

Film In Cork 2018 Short Film Award Submissions 6th April 2018

OFFline Film Festival Animation Residency 30th March 2018

Artist in the community scheme Arts Council Funding 26th March

Film Offaly & Filmbase 2018 Short Film Award  23rd March 2018

EFP Producers on the Move 22nd March 2018

SHORT STORIES IFB Funding 23rd March 2018

Student Media Production Awards Funding 20th March 2018

Youth Music Video Competition 28th February 2018

IFB New Writing Development 28th February 2018

First Cut! Youth Film Festival Short Film Submissions 28th February 2018

IFTA Film & Drama Awards 15th February 2018

Arts Council Film Project Award  15th February 2018

Galway Film Centre & RTÉ Short Film Commission Scheme 14th February 2018

Hope: 1998 All Ireland Referendum Funding 9th February 2018

Creative Europe Slate Funding – Support for Development of Audiovisual Content 6th February 2018

Frameworks Scheme – 2nd February 2018

Irish Film Board Screenplay Development 31st January 2018

 Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018  26th January

Arts Council Film Bursary Award  25th January 2018

Bursary Information Day for Documentary Filmmakers 18th January 2018

Irish Film Festa Submissions 10th January 2018

BAI Sponsorship Scheme 4th January 2018 

Storyland Submissions 15th December 2017

Junior Entertainment Talent Slate 14th December 2017

IMRO Music for Screen Seminar 6th Dec 2017 

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival 1st December 2017

Sound and Vision 1st December 2017

BAI Sound & Vision Scheme Round 30 1st December 2017

Irish Film Festival, Boston 30th November, 2017

RTÉ ECommissioning – Irish Scripted Comedy 29th November 2017

Support for Development of Audiovisual Content – Single Project 2018 23th November 2017 

ilDÁNA 20th October 2017

IFTA Awards 2018 Submissions Deadline for Film & Drama 17th November 2017

TV Programming Support Scheme 16th November 2017

Reel Art 13th October 2017

Cine4 Development Scheme 6th October

Shebeen Flick 1st October 

Audi Dublin International Film Festival 1st October 2017

Irish Filmmaker Competition 27th August 2017

Foyle Film Festival 29th September 2017

TV3 Spring 2018 31st July 2017

Cork Film Festival  15th July 2017

Kerry Film Festival  14th July 2017

The One Minute Film Festival 30th June 2017

Light Moves Symposium 30th June 2017

Cine4 Development Scheme 22nd June 2017

Wexford Documentary Film Festival 19th June 2017

Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Competition 7th June 2017

Close Up – Filmbase Talent Development Scheme 5th June 2017

Jameson First Shot 1st June 2017

Film 48 Hour Challenge 31st May 2017

TV Programming Scheme 30th May 2017

Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival 29th May 2017

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival 12th  May 2017

Still Voices Short Film Festival 14th May 2017

Arts and Disability Connect 4th May 2017

TV3 Single Documentary Call Out 2017 31st April 2017

TV3 Autumn 2017 30th April 2017

dlr First Frames Scheme 28th April 2017

Support for Film Festivals 27th April 2017

Support for Content Development of a Single Project  20th April 2017

Science on Screen 19th April 2017

Galway Film Fleadh 31st March 2017

TV3 Studio Call Out 2017 22nd March 2017

The Short Film Festival of Ireland 17th March 2017

Sci-Fi Film Festival 15th March 2017

ilDÁNA 10th March 2017

Frameworks Short Film Scheme 10th March 2017

Support for Film Education 2nd March 2017

Arts Council Film Project Award 2nd March 2017

First Cut! Youth Film Festival  28th February 

Young Animator Of The Year Awards 28th February 2017

RTÉ Factual 20th February 20 17

SHORT SHOTS Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Scheme 16th February 2017

Fastnet Film Festival 14th February 2017

Support for Development – Slate Funding  2nd February 2017

Short Film Commission Scheme 31st January 2017

Close Up – Development Scheme for Actors 26th January 2017

RTÉ Young Peoples Animated Shorts Scheme 18th January 2017

Factual Entertainment Series for RTÉ2 16th January 2017

Eurimages Co-production  12th January 2017

RTÉ  Comedy, Talent Development and Music proposals 5th January 2017

Irish Film Festa (short films) 20th December 2016

Film In Cork – Short Script Award 9th December 2016

Distribution – Selective Scheme  1st December 2016

Chicago Irish Film Festival 1st December 2016

Irish Film Board Development  30th November 2016

Irish Film Board Distribution 30th November 2016

Support for Film Festivals 24th November 2016 

TV Programming Scheme 24th November 2016 

Irish Film Festival London 23 – 27 November 2016

Support for Content Development of a Single Project – 17th November 2016

Irish Film Board Development 31st October 2016

Irish Film Board  Production & Distribution 28th October 2016

Audi Dublin International Film Festival  1st October 2016

IFB Production and Distribution Funding  30th September 2016

Canada-Ireland Co-development Incentive 28th September 2016

Northern Ireland Screen Short Film Funding 23rd September 2016

Radharc Awards 2016 23rd September 2016

Clones Film Festival Short Film Submissions 31st August 2016

Submissions for 10th Waterford Film Festival 26th August 2016

IFTA Gala Television Awards 22nd August 2016

IFB Focus Shorts  5th August 2016

IFB Real Shorts  5th August 2016

Underground Cinema Film Festival 31st July 2016

Cinemagic Belfast 25th July, 2016

Waterford Film Festival 15th July 2016

IFB Short Stories 15th July 2016

Kerry Film Festival 11th July 2016

Audi Dublin International Film Festival 11th July 2016

Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Competition 9th July 2016

Cork Film Festival 2nd July 2016

Fingal Film Festival 30th June 2016

IFI Documentary Festival 20th  June 2016

Galway Film Fleadh  The One Minute Film Festival June 23rd 2016 

IFB Production and Distribution Funding 17th June 2016

Distribution Selective Scheme 14th June 2016

Kerry Film Festival Short Film Submission 11th July 2016

Film on the Edge 10th June 2016

Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Competition 9th June 2016

Galway Film Fleadh 2016 Marketplace Applications 27th May 2016 

Light Moves 27th May 2016

Television Programming   26th May 2016  

Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival 15th May

Directors’ Finders Series Showcase 29th April 2016

Support for Film Festivals   28th April 2016

Single Project Development  21st April 2016

Eurimages Co-Production 15th April, 2016

Pitching Forum for Co-Production Projects April 15th 2016

March on Film 31st March, 2016

Feel Good Lost Filmmakers Competition  29th February 2016

Galway Film Fleadh  Feature Films 25th March 2016

Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund 18th March 2016

Frameworks 11th March 2016

Limerick Film Festival  4th March 2016

FilmOffaly Award 4th March 2016

Co-Production Funds 25 February 2016

IFB Production and Distribution Funding 19th February 2016

Jameson Gone in 60 Seconds 14th February 2016

Fastnet Film Festival 14th February 2016

March On Film 14th February 2016

First Cut! Youth Film Festival 12th February

Slate Funding 4th February 2016

Live Life National Film Competition 1st February

ASSET programme 30th January 2016

Short Shots @ Filmbase 28th January 2016

Access to Markets   28th January 2016

National Youth Media Awards 22nd January 2016

Fresh Film Festival 22nd January 2016

Arts Council Bursary Awards 21st January 2016

Young Directors Awards 2016 15th January 2016

Artists in Residence @ Centre Culturel Irlandais 11th January 2016

Jameson First Shot Film Competition 4th January 

Irish Film Festa (short film) 20th December

Belfast Film Festival Short Film Competition 18th December

Animation Dingle  December 4th 2015

Dingle International Film Festival 11th December 2015

Dublin Doc Fest 11th December 2015

EU Commission TV Programming Funding 3rd December, 2015 / May 26, 2016

Chicago Irish Film Festival 1st December 2015

Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 20th November 2015

EU Commission Single Project Development Funding 19th November 2015 / 21st April 2016

Splanc! Irish language Arts Documentary Scheme 16th November 2015

Boston Irish Film Festival 15th November 2015

Feature Documentary Development 6th November 2015

Animation Dingle Early Deadline 6th November 2015

Dublin International Film Festival Short Film Submissions  31st October 2015

Junior Galway Film Fleadh Story Pitching Competition 30th October 2015

Celtic Media Festival  30th October 2015

Short Film Proposal in the Irish Language 19th October 2015

Reel Art  16th October 2015

OFFline Filmmaking Challenge 8 – 10 October 2015

Clones 48 Hour Short Film Challenge 5th October 2015

Ronan Phelan Euroconnection Pitching Award 2015 4 – 11 October 2015

Cinemagic Young Filmmaker Competition 30th September

Capital Irish Film Festival  30th September

Irish Film Festival London  28th September

Feminist Film Festival Short Film Submissions  25th September

Foyle Film Festival 25th September

BBC Writersroom Script Room 24th September

Pitch 25-minute doc for TG4 18th September

Richard Harris International Film Festival  4th September

Clones Film Festival  30th August

Guth Gafa ‘Next Generation’ Short Documentary Student Competition  28th August

Creative Proposals for RTE 26th August

Documentaries for Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival 22nd August

Indie Cork 1st August

Irish Screen America  1st August

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival  30th July

Sky Road TV & Film Festival 17th July  [Early Bird]

The One Minute Film Festival  30th June

Fingal Film Festival  30th June

Underground Cinema Film Festival  30th June

IFI Documentary Festival  24th  June

Shortfilm48 12 – 14 June

Light Moves  10th June

Charlie Chaplin Film Festival  1st June

Arts and Disability Connect  21st May

Lady’s First International Film Festival 20th May

Short Films for Galway Film Fleadh 2015  15th May

Frameworks  15th April

FilmOffaly/Filmbase 2015 Short Film Award  20th March

Secrets of Offaly – Public Art Commission  13th February

 AFTER ’16  6th February

Jameson First Shot 2015 1st February

Dublin Doc Fest Short Documentary Film  30th January

Irish Animation Awards  23rd January

Youth Film Festival  9th January





East Asia Film Festival Ireland

For its third edition this April, the East Asia Film Festival Ireland (EAFFI) celebrates the diversity, artistry, and variety of filmmaking from East and South East Asia over four days from April 11-14th. The festival features established and award-winning filmmakers such as Hong Sang-Soo, Ying Liang, Zhang Ming and Ryusuke Hamaguchi. The festival also celebrates exciting new talent including Bi Gan, plus first features from Lina Wang and Phuttiphong Aroonpheng.

This year sees two guests of honour attend the festival: acclaimed director Tsai Ming-Liang and his long-time collaborator, actor Lee Kang-Sheng. They will present rare screenings of two of Tsai’s classic films, The River and I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone, plus his latest, Your Face. Tsai and Lee will also take part in a Masterclass, supported by Screen Skills Ireland and moderated by renowned critic Tony Rayns, on Saturday 13th.

A number of Irish premieres will also feature, including the festival’s opening film, Hong Sang-Soo’s latest comedy-drama Hotel by the River. With this new film, Hong has crafted an elegant tragi-comedy, a chamber piece that unfolds in less than 24 hours where an ageing poet is approaching his final days. Beautifully filmed in black and white, this is a fresh, humanistic exploration on family, life, love and death.

Commenting on this year’s slate, the festival’s Artistic and Programming Director Marie-Pierre Richard said, ‘’We are honoured to welcome auteur filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang and actor Lee Kang-Sheng to present rare screening of three films programmed for our festival by Tsai and his producer. Distinguished film critic and one of the world’s leading experts on Asian cinema Tony Rayns will be here to conduct a masterclass and Q&As with Tsai and Lee, and also to present our opening and closing films. The new films playing at this year’s festival bring together the voices of significant filmmakers from a multitude of geographical contexts in East and South East Asia, with each skillfully addressing questions of identity and the burning issues of our time including ethnicity, nationhood and family.’

Also featuring at this year’s festival are Lina Wang’s stunning A First Farewell, a prize winner at both the Berlin and Tokyo film festivals; A Family Tour, directed by Ying Liang, is a moving drama that puts political pressure exerted on filmmakers under the spotlight; Bi Gan’s sumptuous Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which features a long, virtuoso single take, shot in 3D; Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s modern romance Asako I & II; Zhang Ming’s The Pluto Moment; and Liu Jie’s fast-paced social justice drama Baby, which sees a young woman abduct an infant who has the same birth defect she herself had as a child.

Closing the festival this year will be Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s debut Manta Ray, which focuses on the relationship between a fisherman and the Rohingyan refugee he finds unconscious in the local swamps. This poignant film tackles the refugee experience and associated questions of identity, self, border, ethnicity and nationhood.

Tickets for the East Asian Film Festival Ireland are available now at www.ifi.ie/eaffi-2019 or by calling the IFI Box Office on 01-6793477. More information is also available from www.eaffi.ie.



Film Festivals 2019 – Here & Abroad


St. Patrick’s Film Festival London 2019

The St. Patrick’s Film Festival London 2019 will take the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s ‘London is Open’ campaign as its inspiration, with a programme reflecting the spirit of diversity and inclusion in this great city. As Brexit approaches, many non-British people living in London are feeling unsettled, and Khan has said that he wants “all Londoners to be in no doubt: London Is Open and no matter where you’re from, you will always belong here.”

With this in mind the festival, which is presented by Irish Film London and forms part of London’s official St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade, brings together a collection of films celebrating outsiders, mavericks and the delightfully unique.

The Irish Film London Founder Kelly O’Connor said, “This year is set to be a real turning point for the UK, and against this backdrop we’re proud to be putting the notion of inclusion front and centre, reminding Irish people here that they are loved, championed and that they have a voice. The programme reflects the modern Ireland that we are all so incredibly proud to be a part of, especially within in the current global climate.”

Regent Street Cinema Programmer Shira MacLeod said, “It’s fantastic to once again join Irish Film London and the official St. Patrick’s Day Festival with this weekend celebrating Irish film. We’re particularly pleased to be a part of the conversation about diversity and inclusion. At Regent Street Cinema, our ongoing programme reflects the great diversity of London and we are proud to host unique film festivals like this one.”

Events for all ages will be held over the course of the weekend, with the main Festival Programme being shown at the Regent Street Cinema, just a two-minute walk from Oxford Circus tube station.


Friday 15th March

Venue: Regent Street Cinema

6.30pm: Opening the festival is a collection of short films from Ireland, including Hugh O’Connor’s beautiful animation The Overcoat, which was voiced by Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy. The film tells the story of a young outcast clerk who desperately seeks the approval of the popular office group by spending his every last penny on an impressive new overcoat, only to find it brings him more attention than he bargained for.

The shorts programme also includes Ireland’s first ever vertical dance film Walls of Limerick, a statement on the psychological effects that harsh political borders have on people. The experimental short, which features versatile performers blending the worlds of dance and aerial dance, explores notions of barriers, borders and breaking loose.

8.15pm: John Butler (Handsome Devil, The Stag) once again delights with cross-cultural comedy drama Papi Chulo, starring Matt Bomer and Alejandro Patiño as unlikely companions. The film sees a lonely Los Angeles weather-man ‘hire’ a middle-aged Latino migrant worker to be his friend, in this darkly comedic reflection on class, ethnicity, and companionship in a busy contemporary world.

Saturday 16th March

Venue: Regent Street Cinema

2.00pm: Family and unusual friendships are at the centre of Colin McIvor’s exciting film Zoo, based on a true story set in Belfast in 1941. It sees Young Tom and his misfit friends fight to save ‘Buster’ the baby elephant during the German air raid bombings of the city.

3.45pm: An intergenerational puppet creatures craft workshop with Kabutar Arts. Based on the characters from the film Zoo, IFL invites children, their parents and grandparents to come together create their own 3D animals from everyday objects. Places are limited for the workshop so please book in advance to avoid disappointment. http://bit.ly/Tix_InterGenWShop

6.00pm: Take to the skies with a life-affirming documentary The Man Who Wanted to Fly. Capturing the wonder of one man’s dreams, the film tells the irresistible story of 80-something bachelor farmer Bobby Coote. He is determined to take flight. Even if it’s the last thing he does… Bobby is the perfect example of someone who sticks to his convictions, despite everyone’s preference, although well-meaning, for him to conform to a stereotype. Director Frank Shouldice will attend this screening to share his own experience of making the film.

St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday 17th March

Venue: Trafalgar Square & Regent Street Cinema

12noon-6pm: Pop in to chat with the Irish Film London Team among the community stalls on Trafalgar Square. You will be able to check out the festival trailer live on The Big Screen in the square, while enjoying the live music, food, dance and festivities.

6.30pm: After celebrations come to a close on Trafalgar Square, it’s back to Regent Street Cinema for the Festival Closing Night, with a final selection of Irish short films.

The full programme will be available on www.irishfilmlondon.com.


See You Next Thursday Festival

See You Next Thursday Festival

See You Next Thursday Festival

The See You Next Thursday Festival has announced five events on the theme of womanhood, gender and sexuality in film. 

See You Next Thursday Festival

The Festival will host a mixture of internationally acclaimed and controversial films to tell the stories of women (and men!) trapped within the cultural and sexual conventions of their time but break free in a desperate attempt to realise themselves. Each session will give the audience the opportunity to directly engage with the film and its themes by opening the floor for discussing at the end of the screening.

This festival is organised by Louise Kari Méreau, the French Department, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies,  Trinity College.


In the final session, a group of leading professionals and experts in the film industry will join in a debate on the nature of female sexuality and gender roles in cinema. Those in attendance will have the chance to ask questions, share their thoughts, and discuss the topic with a group of excellent guests, amongst which Dr. Ruth Barton (Film Studies, Trinity College Dublin), Vanessa Gildea (documentary filmmaker), Dr. Susan Liddy (Chair of Women in Film and TV Ireland)…


Four films:

  1. Thursday 14th March 2019 : Love Meetings, Pier Paolo Pasolini (1966)
  2. Thursday 21st March 2019: Baise-Moi, Virginie Despentes and Caroline Trinh Thi (2000) [Rated R]
  3. Thursday 28th March 2019: The Hours, Stephen Daldry (2003)
  4. Thursday 4th April 2019: Farewell my Concubine, Chen Kaige (1993)

One discussion:

Thursday, 11th April 2019 7-9pm: Roundtable on womenhood and sexuality in films, moderated by Dr. Ruth Barton (Film studies, Trinity College Dublin)

With speakers including Vanessa Gildea (documentary filmmaker), Dr. Susan Liddy (chair of Women in Film and TV Ireland association)

For the other events of the festival, or to register your place visit their Eventbrite page.


Irish Film @ 2019 Berlinale

The 2019 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) runs from 07 – 17 February. Irish films on offer are:

A Dog Called Money


As imaginative as the creative process it documents, A Dog Called Money is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record.

Director Seamus Murphy
Irish Production Company Blinder Films
Sales Agent Autlook Sales

Sat 09 Feb, 17:00, International (Premiere)
Sun 10 Feb, 14:30, Colosseum 1
Mon 11 Feb, 12:00, CineStar 7
Thurs 14 Feb, 14:00, International
Sat 16 Feb, 17:00, International
Sun 17 Feb, 20:00, CineStar 7

Shooting the Mafia


Shooting the Mafia unflinchingly explores the stark reality of life, and death, under the oppressive yoke of the Corleonesi Mafia.

Director Kim Longinotto
Irish Production Company Lunar Pictures
Sales Agent Submarine Entertainment

Sat 09 Feb, 11:00, CineStar 8
Wed 13 Feb, 17:00, CineStar 7 (Premiere)
Thurs 14 Feb, 22:30, CineStar 7
Fri 15 Feb, 17:30, Cubix 7
Sat 16 Feb, 14:30, Colosseum 1

Metal Heart

Sisters Emma and Chantal are worlds apart. Emma is self-conscious, and unsure of which path to take in life. Chantal, meanwhile, is beautiful, confident, and knows exactly where her life is headed. When their parents go away for the summer, their simmering sibling rivalry threatens to boil over, especially when the mysterious boy next door moves back in.

Director Hugh O’Conor
Screenplay Paul Murray
Irish Production Company Treasure Entertainment
Sales Agent Bankside Films

Thurs 07 Feb, 17:00, Cinemaxx 14

She’s Missing

Heidi and Jane are best friends living in a small town in the desert. Jane — a Rodeo Queen contestant and military wife — goes missing and Heidi, now alone in the world, must begin a search across the desert.

Director/Screenplay Alexandra McGuinness
Irish Production Company Ripple World Pictures, TW Films
Sales Agent Carnaby Sales & Distribution

Fri 08 Feb, 13:35, Cinemaxx 15         Sun 10 Feb, 12:00, Cinemaxx 15


Bringing us to a unique place beyond the reach of television and politics, Gaza presents a portrait of its citizens who attempt to lead meaningful lives beyond the rubble of perennial conflict.

Director Garry Keane, Andrew McConnell
Irish Production Company Real Films
Sales Agent Filmoption International

Thurs 07 Feb, 13:40, Cinemaxx 11     Sun 10 Feb, 12:40, Cinemaxx 12


Offering unprecedented access to legendary Irish boxer Katie Taylor, Katie charts the astonishing journey of the woman who put female boxing on the map.

Director Ross Whitaker
Irish Production Company True Films
Sales Agent WestEnd Films

Sat 09 Feb, 11:10, Cinestar 2
Mon 11 Feb, 14:35, Gropius Bau Cinema


A fierce and unapologetic celebration of female friendship, Animals is an intimate, funny and bittersweet examination of the challenges of turning talent into action, and being a modern woman, with faults, longings and competing desires.

Director Sophie Hyde
Irish Production Company Vico Films
Sales Agent Cornerstone Films

Fri 08 Feb, 11:20, Zoo Palast 3

Dirty God

Dirty God is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance, which follows Jade, a young mother recovering from an acid attack that has left her with severe facial burns.

Director Sacha Polak
Screenplay Sacha Polak, Susanne Farrell
Irish Production Company Savage Productions
Sales Agent Independent Films

Fri 08 Feb, 14:50, Cinemaxx 3
Mon 11 Feb, 13:05, Cinestar 5

Dark Lies the Island

Adapted from Kevin Barry’s collection of short stories, Dark Lies the Island follows the characters in a long standing family feud in a small Irish town over the course of a week.

Director Ian Fitzgibbon
Screenplay Kevin Barry
Irish Production Company Grand Pictures
Sales Agent Independent Films

Sat 09 Feb, 16:30, Cinestar 2

Never Grow Old

When a ruthless gang of outlaws terrorise a sleepy frontier town, the local undertaker, Patrick, faces a profound moral dilemma and as the death toll rises and without law or religion to turn to, Patrick must find a way to defeat the outlaws as they turn their brutal attention to this family.

Director/Screenplay Ivan Kavanagh
Irish Production Company Ripple World Pictures
Sales Agent Metro International Entertainment

Fri 08 Feb, 15:50, Zoo Palast Club A


Roddy Doyle @ Fastnet Film Festival

Roddy Doyle will attend the 11th Fastnet Film Festival (Wednesday the 22nd to Sunday the 26th of May 2019).

The Fastnet Film Festival is a major showcase for Irish and International short film production, focusing on the craft of film, held in high regard on a national and international level for several years now.  The Festival this year will run a series of Seminars, Masterclasses and Workshops covering, Acting, Sound, Screenwriting, Casting, Auditioning, Creating Content on Your Mobile, Shorts to Feature, Costume and more. Fringe events include the Long Island Cinema, Live music, Drama, Book readings, Movie Quiz, Café viewing all over town and high quality free family entertainment for all.



Irish Film London presents the UK Premiere of Katie Taylor film and Women in Film Panel

Irish Film London’s St Brigid’s Day Film Festival runs at Regent St Cinema on Sunday 3rd February at 6pm

Irish Film London, the organisation that champions the Irish film industry in the UK, will host the much-anticipated UK premiere of Katie, the award-winning documentary that offers an incredible and emotional insight into the realm of world champion boxer Katie Taylor. Described by British champion Anthony Joshua as ‘phenomenal’, the notoriously private Irish Olympic Gold medal winner has become the most decorated and celebrated female fighter of all time.

Katie Taylor has won six amateur European championships, five world amateur championships and an Olympic Gold Medal at London 2012. She turned professional after a disastrous campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which saw her spectacularly crash out in the first-round despite being the firm favourite to take successive Gold medals.  She won her first world title within a year and currently holds a perfect professional record of 12 straight wins, including the successful defence of her WBA and IBF World titles in December at Madison Square Garden. In March 2019 Taylor will fight to become the Undisputed Lightweight Champion of the World.

This film unravels the deeply personal reasons behind Taylor’s heart-breaking career low in Rio and shows the champion’s grit and determination to start over as a professional in one of the toughest industries for a woman to make her mark in. Despite many having written her off, Taylor allowed a small crew to document her journey as she worked to rebuild her career.

Directed by Ross Whitaker (Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story) and produced by Aideen O’Sullivan (When Ali Came to Ireland), the film has received critical acclaim internationally and won the Best Irish Feature Documentary award at the 2018 Galway Film Fleadh.

Kelly O’Connor, Founder and Programming Director at Irish Film London said:

“Katie Taylor will likely go down in history as one of the greatest boxers of all time. She is an inspiration for young women the world over, not just in sport. The film reveals astonishing insights about her journey to the top of what is one of the toughest industries for anyone to compete in. But this is so much more than a film about boxing; it explores the challenges of being a woman in a male dominated industry, being an Irish woman living abroad, and the personal journeys we face when forced to separate ourselves from our family and mentors.”

The screening of Katie is part of the Irish Embassy in London’s St. Brigid’s Day Festival – an annual celebration of Irish Women, which includes a number of other events taking place in London. The festival also reaches across the globe, with events at many Irish embassies, consulates and other Irish venues around the world.

The film will be preceded by a panel discussion, which will highlight some of Ireland’s most successful female professionals both behind and in front of the camera and reflect on the current climate for Irish women in the UK industry. Bringing together the monumental forces of the UK & Ireland’s major networks for women in Film & Television, Irish Film London presents panellists Dr. Susan Liddy (Women in Film & TV Ireland Chair), Anne Morrison (Women in Film & TV UK), Brooklyn and Mary Queen of Scots actress Eileen O’Higgins and producer Sienna Beckman. The discussion will be followed by a networking reception, free for panel ticket holders.

Tickets are available from www.regentstreetcinema.com/st-brigids-day-festival

Discounts are available with a code, which is the Irish word for women: MNA.


13th Annual Capital Irish Film Festival

Solas Nua presents the 13th Annual Capital Irish Film Festival (CIFF) February 28th – March 3rd at AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring. Celebrating Irish identity, culture and artistry, CIFF brings the best in contemporary Irish cinema to the Washington, DC, area.

The Festival opens with Nick Kelly’s crowd-pleasing buddy dramedy The Drummer & The Keeper, winner of the Best Irish First Feature at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh, and closes with stirring documentary Lomax in Éirinn, a look at American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax’s role in preserving Ireland’s rich folk music heritage. Other highlights include playwright Carmel Winter’s coming-of-age boxing drama Float Like a Butterfly, winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival; found-footage chiller The Devil’s Doorway, with director Aislinn Clarke in attendance; Don’t Leave Home, Ireland’s answer to Get Out, with director Michael Tully in attendance; highly anticipated horror The Hole in the Ground , fresh from Sundance; Ireland’s first stop-motion feature animation, Captain Morten And The Spider Queen; and hot-button documentary I, Dolours with journalist and producer Ed Moloney in attendance. Northern Irish actor Lalor Roddy  is set to attend the festival to discuss his roles in three of this year’s selections.


Preview of Irish Films @ Dublin International Film Festival 2019

It’s always the best way to kick the new year into gear when the Dublin International Film Festival announce their schedule. This year there are treats, goodies and film fun for all. Below we take a gander at the Irish films hitting the festival screens.

The festival runs 20 February – 3 March 2019.


Papi Chulo (DIR/WRI: John Butler)

WED 20 FEB/6:00PM/8:30pm CINEWORLD

Papi Chulo

A solitary and alienated television weatherman “hires” a middle-aged Latino migrant worker to be his friend, in this darkly comedic reflection on class, ethnicity, and companionship in contemporary Los Angeles.

CAST: Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patiño, Elena Campbell-Martinez

Tickets (6pm)

Tickets (8.30pm)

When Hitchcock Met O’Casey (Brian O’Flaherty)


When Hitchcock Met O’Casey

It was a collaboration between one of Ireland’s most noted playwrights and cinema’s greatest directors, yet the 1930 release of Juno and the Paycock is often neglected in the repertoire of both men. Brian O’Flaherty’s documentary aims to find out why.


Dublin on Screen

The First Was a Boy (Shaun Dunne) / Confinement(Trish McAdam) / There’s No Place Like Home (Mia Mullarkey and the Screen8 Participants)

Dublin on Screen

A Girl From Mogadishu (Mary McGuckian)

Fri 22nd/8:30pm/Odeon Point Village 2

Based on the real life story of Ifrah Ahmed – youth leader and advocate against Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia and Horn of Africa.

CastAja Naomi King, Barkhad Abdi, Martha Canga Antonio

Dub Daze (DIR/WRI: Shane J. Collins)


Dub Daze

Dan and Baz are two friends looking for kicks on their last day of school. Cork medical students Jack and Seán arrive in the capital to find their way amongst Ireland’s affluent youth, while songwriter Fi struggles to break through on the cut-throat Dublin music scene.

CAST: Jack Hudson, Derek Ugochukwu, Abdul Alshareef

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 1 (Various)

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 1

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 2 (Various)

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 2


Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 3 (Various)

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 3

Floating Structures (Feargal Ward, Adrian Duncan)

Floating Structures
A researcher travels across Europe, exploring an array of buildings and structures that seem other-worldly. Drawing on the ideas and visions of the great Irish engineer Peter Rice, the film explore the hinterlands that gave rise to these structures. Wandering from a quiet Bavarian town, to the streets of Paris, to the city of Seville, our past is sifted through and interlinked with precision and wonder


What Time is Death? (Paul Duane)

What Time is Death?
In 2017 Bill Drummond & Jimmy Cauty, formerly The KLF, returned after 23 years of silence – but they were no longer a pop group. They were now undertakers, planning to build a monument, the People’s Pyramid, out of 34,952 bricks made from the remains of dead people.


Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 4 (Various)

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 4

Dark Lies the Island (DIR: Ian Fitzgibbon WRI: Kevin Barry)

Dark Lies the Island
If you’re going to get involved with men in a small Irish town, they might as well be the Mannions – and Sara is involved up to her neck. The Mannions are a feuding family in the town of Dromord who are all set at each other. Sara is married to Daddy Mannion but holding a candle for her first love, his son Doggy. When she also gets involved with his brother, trouble looms.


CAST: Peter Coonan, Charlie Murphy, Pat Shortt, Moe Dunford


Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 5 (Various)

Virgin Media DIFF Shorts 5

Land Without God (Gerard Mannix Flynn, Maedhbh McMahon, Lotta Petronella)

Land Without God
This deeply personal documentary feature is a culmination of Mannix Flynn’s writings and experiences spanning over four decades. The film centres on Flynn and members of his own family as they recall the effects of decades of institutional abuse, and the impact it has had – and continues to have – on their lives.  The film asks the question: How does one exit the trauma buried deep in the bones of generations? A family’s journey into the dark side of the Irish State.


She’s Missing (DIR/WRI: Alexandra McGuinness)

She’s Missing
Heidi’s best friend goes missing at a rodeo after meeting a mysterious man. Determined to find out what happened to her, she sets out across the desert, unveiling astonishing secrets and encountering the unexpected violence of life on the road. Crossing paths with several characters along the way, Heidi is determined to find her friend – but there’s an ominous presence on her tail.


CAST: Lucy Fry, Eiza González, Josh Hartnett, Christian Camargo


GAZA (Garry Keane, Andrew McConnell)

A portrait of the resilience of people in the most challenging of circumstances. Set among the communities who live in Gaza, the documentary aims to go beyond the reach of television news and politics in its account of these people and their daily lives. It’s the story of eloquent, funny and above all ordinary people as they endeavour to live meaningful lives in the shadows of perpetual conflict


Prisoners of the Moon (Johnny Gogan)

SAT 2nd Mar/4:30PM/Light House Cinema

This drama/creative documentary brings to life the story of Arthur Rudolph, a scientist who played a key role in NASA’s historic 1969 moon landing. He was one of a number of Nazi rocket scientists who assisted America as they tried to win the space race. The film examines Rudolph’s work and alleged involvement in war crimes, and screens as the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing approaches.

CAST: Jim Norton, Cathy Belton, Marty Rea


Greta (DIR: Neil Jordan WRI: Neil Jordan, Ray Wright)



A sweet, naïve young woman is trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances doesn’t think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends – but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems.

CAST: Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Isabelle Huppert


Shooting the Mafia (Kim Longinotto)


Shooting the Mafia

This documentary strips back the glamorous image of the Sicilian Mafia, showing the harsh reality of life, death and business at the hands of those who wield it. It does so through the eyes and lens of photographer Letizia Battaglia, who captured their brutality on her own terms. Fear and threats did not prevent her from documenting what has been described as her “archive of blood” in all of its raw power.


Dirty God (DIR: Sacha Polak WRI: Susie Farrell, Sacha Polak)

Sun 3rd MAR/ 5:30pm/Light House Cinema

A young mother aims to rebuild her life following a vicious acid attack which left her seriously injured and with life-changing facial burns. As the impacts of her trauma on family life and relationships make themselves felt, she must dig deep to get her life back. In the lead role, Polak has cast newcomer Vicky Knight, herself a burns survivor.

CAST: Eliza Brady-Girard, Dana Marineci, Wendy Albiston


Download programme here


Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Return

Papi Chulo

The 17th Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, Ireland’s premier film event, returns to the capital from February 20th to March 3rd, with a packed programme, which features over 125 events across 12 days including the finest local and international feature films, short films and documentaries, along with a dedicated children’s and young people’s programme and a host of special events featuring  industry leaders. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.diff.ie

Kicking off the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival in style will be the Opening Gala and Irish premiere of Papi Chulo, the new film from Irish director John Butler, known for the award winning Handsome Devil and The Stag. Joining John on the red carpet for the premiere will be the stars of the film, Matt Bomer, known for A Normal HeartMagic Mike and The Magnificent Seven, and his co-star Alejandro Patiño. The comedy drama tells the story of a well-heeled, lonely, gay TV weatherman who strikes up an unusual friendship with an older straight migrant worker from Mexico and deals with themes of friendship, class, ethnicity and economic migration.

Fans of cult TV show The Office will be thrilled to hear that Stephen Merchant visits the Festival for the premiere of his new movie, Fighting With My Family, bringing with him the true, colourful and crazy story of the rise of WWE Superstar Paige. Merchant wrote and directed the film, which tells the story of reformed gangster and former wrestler Ricky, his wife Julia, daughter Saraya and son Zak who make a living performing in tiny venues across the country.  Ricky and Julia want a better life for their children and when brother and sister get the chance to audition for WWE, it seems the family dream is coming true and all their troubles will be solved, but their family bonds are soon put to the test. Wrestling fans seeing the movie should also keep an eye out for a memorable on screen appearance from champion wrestler turned movie star, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who also produced this film.

One of the most exciting talents to come from Ireland in recent years and 2019 BAFTA Rising Star Award nominee, Killarney actor Jessie Buckley, attends Virgin Media DIFF with her new film Wild Rose for the Closing Gala. Starring alongside the much-loved and twice Oscar-nominatedJulie Walters and Hotel Rwanda’s Sophie Okonedo, Jessie displays her considerable musical and dramatic talent as Rose-Lynn Harlan in this inspiring, infectiously joyous heart warmer, where Rose-Lynn dreams of getting out of Glasgow and emulating the country singers she idolises by making it as a singer in Nashville, but life decisions and circumstances soon find her facing what she perceives as a choice between family and stardom.

Other high profile guests to walk the red carpet at the Festival include Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour), Lucy Fry (Wolf Creek) and Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver) who visit for the world premiere of She’s Missing. The drama thriller by Irish writer and director Alexandra McGuinness is about a young woman, Heidi, whose best friend goes missing at a rodeo after meeting a mysterious man. She sets out across the desert, unveiling astonishing secrets and encountering the unexpected violence of life on the road.

Speaking about the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019 programme, Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director said: “As well as celebrating the best of Irish film talent, the programme for this year’s festival once again features a global line-up including world premieres and visits from the industry’s best known stars. We’ve found some fantastic titles for this year and we’re looking forward to sharing these discoveries. Whether it’s feature films, documentaries exploring topical themes or a celebration of Charlie Chaplin’s iconic The Kid, the 2019 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival definitely celebrates the love Irish people have for cinema and those who make it. We’re delighted to be working with Virgin Media as the festival’s title sponsor for three years too. They’re known for their association with the best movies and television content as Ireland’s leading connected internet provider and our partnership will allow us to bring some of the world’s most exciting cinema to a wider audience.”

As always, Virgin Media DIFF supports established and emerging home-grown talent and the programme is packed with a terrific line-up of new Irish features. Neil Jordan’s Greta, a psychological thriller about a lonely, mysterious widow whose friendship with a naïve young woman becomes increasingly disturbing. The film stars Kick-Ass’ Chloë Grace Moretz alongside César Award-winning French actress Isabelle Huppert whose performance is described as a dark, delicious treat; while Dark Lies The Island, written by Irish author Kevin Barry and starring some of our best acting talent including Pat Shortt, Charlie Murphy, Tommy Tiernan and Moe Dunford is a pitch-black comedy centring on a small Irish town over a week-long period.

Audiences’ continued love of documentaries is reflected in the 2019 programme. Maiden is the critically acclaimed sailing documentary centring on the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989 skippered by Tracy Edwards and also featuring Irish woman Angela Heath on the crew. Irish produced Shooting the Mafia is Kim Longinotto’s powerful documentary, through the eyes and lens of photographer Letizia Battaglia, which strips back the glamorous image of the Sicilian Mafia, showing the harsh reality of life, death and business at the hands of those who wield it. Virgin Media DIFF also hosts the world premiere of Land Without God is a deeply personal documentary which movingly centres on Mannix Flynn and his family as they recall the effects of decades of institutional abuse, and the impact it had, and continues to have, on their lives.

This year’s shorts programme includes some exciting titles, including Psychic, the directorial debut by one of Irish cinema’s most respected actors, Brendan Gleeson, about a charismatic psychic and his two manipulative sons who are gaining a cult following, played by his real-life sons Domhnall and Brian. Oscar long listed and BAFTA nominated Wren Boys is the story of a Catholic priest from Cork who drives his nephew to prison to marry a maverick gay inmate on a bleak Stephen’s Day; while War Paint, written by and starring Yasmine Akram, who previously starred in TV’s Sherlock, is the dark story of an enigmatic narcissist who befriends a despondent loner from her book club and drags her on a gruesome misadventure.

The Inspirations Strand of the festival features movies chosen by some of Ireland’s best loved authors, including Tana French who selects Picnic At A Hanging Rock, Peter Weir’s 1975 classic, widely acclaimed for its sense of mystery, sexual fear and hysteria, stunning cinematography and cultural undertones; Liz Nugent has chosen Perfume: The Story of a Murderer starring Ben Whishaw as a perfumier who uses the scents most evocative to him to create his unique fragrances; and Sinead Gleeson picks Stanley Kubrick’s cult horror The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

Virgin Media DIFF continues to recognise the new generation of film talent marking their place in the Irish film industry through the Discovery Award. The 2019 nominees are Writer/ Directors Alexandra McGuinness (She’s Missing), Oonagh Kearney (Five Letters To The Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain) and Shane Collins (Dub Daze); Writers Darach McGarrigle (Low Tide) and Jonathan Hughes (Mother, Mary); Director Ian Hunt Duffy (Low Tide), Production Designer & Art Director Alice Vignoles-Russell (The Trap); Make Up Artist Madonna Bambino (Low Tide); and Producer Roisín Geraghty (Five Letters To The Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain). Filmgoers will also have the chance select the Virgin Media Audience Award, their favourite film from the programme. Other awards include best Documentary and Short.

The Fantastic Flix strand of the festival for mini movie fans marks the 40th anniversary of one of pop culture’s most iconic movies, The Muppet Movie, and also celebrates difference and diversity in film with highlights including Rosie & Moussa which looks at embracing multiculturalism; Kenyan film Rafiki, a gorgeous LGBT film which shows how love can bloom even in difficult circumstances; and a visit to Dublin by Bo Burnham for the Irish premiere of his new movie Eighth Grade.

The Surprise Film continues to be one of the most popular events in the Virgin Media DIFF programme but, as always, its identity remains a tightly-guarded secret known only to the Festival Director. Another exciting event from the Festival’s Creative Catalyst series, which recognises the passionate advocates who are changing what we see on screen, is Sean Bailey in Conversation with Eoin Colfer and sees the author of the Artemis Fowl series chat with the President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. A 25-year industry veteran, Bailey’s feature film producing credits include Disney’s Tron: Legacy and  Miramax’s Gone, Baby, Gone.

The Festival is known for setting the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film. This week saw the announcement of the 2019 Oscar nominations with a number of titles which will be shown at the Festival receiving nods. Element Pictures’ The Favourite, which had a special preview with Director Yorgos Lanthimos at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival in November, received ten nominations; Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons, nominated for Documentary (Feature), centres on a radical Islamist family and their harsh existence as war rages around them in Syria; and from the shorts programme, Mother and Detainment were both nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category.  From last year’s programme Paul Schrader, who also visited the festival, is nominated in the Writing (Original Screenplay) category forFirst Reformed.

Previously announced events include An Evening With David Shire, a career retrospective interview with the Academy Award and two-time Grammy winning composer hosted by Aedín Gormley from RTÉ Lyric FM’s Movies and Musicals; and the Irish premiere of Australian comedy dramaThe Merger, which will also tour to six other Irish venues around the country.


Film Festivals 2019 – Here & Abroad

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

Film Festivals in Ireland

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival (26th January 2019)

Subtitle European Film Festival (31st January – 3rd February 2019)

Psychoanalytic Film Festival (1 – 2 February 2019)

Silk Road Film FestivalDublin (5 – 9 February)

Rathmullan Film Fest Donegal (21 – 24 February 2019)

VM Dublin International Film Festival (20 February – 03 March 2019)

Cork French Film Festival (3 – 10 March 2019)

First Cut! Youth Film Festival (6 – 9 March 2019)

Killarney Mountain Festival  ( 10 March 2019)

See You Next Thursday Festival  (from 14th March on)

Dingle International Film Festival (21  24 March 2019)

Fresh Film Festival Limerick (25  30 March 2019)

Irish Adventure Film Festival  Westport, Co. Mayo (29 – 31 March  2019) 

International Student Documentary Festival  Cork (2 – 5 April)

East Asia Film Festival Ireland Dublin (11 – 14 April 2019)

Belfast Film Festival (11 20 April 2019)

Japanese Film Festival (6th April onwards nationwide)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Dublin (TBA) 

Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival Cork (22 – 26 May 2019)

Korean Film Festival Ireland (13 – 15 June 2019)

China Ireland International Film Festival (24 – 29 June)

Beara Film Fest (6th July 2019)

Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July)

Guth Gafa Meath (TBA)

Radical Film Network Conference Dublin (TBA)

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin (1  5 August)

Respect Human Rights Film Festival Belfast (TBA)

Fingal Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

Still Voices Short Film Festival Longford (15 – 18 August)

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival Kerry  (23 – 25 August)

Underground Cinema Festival Dublin  (TBA)

Clare Island Film Festival (TBA)

Wexford Documentary Film Festival (TBA)

IFI Documentary Festival  Dublin (TBA)

Disappear Here Film Festival Donegal (TBA)

Spook Scene Cork  (TBA)

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival (4 – 6 October 2019)

Dublin Arabic Film Festival (TBA)

IndieCork (6 – 13 October 2019)

OFFline Offaly (9 – 13 October)

Dublin Greek Film Festival  (TBA)

Kerry Film Festival (17 21 October)

The Clones Film Festival (25 28 October)

Richard Harris International Film Festival Limerick (22 – 28 October)

Limerick Film Festival (TBA)

IFI Horrorthon Dublin (TBA)

Light Moves Festival (TBA)

Cork Film Festival (7 – 17 October)

Subtitle European Film Kilkenny (25th November  1st December 2019)

Feminist Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

Waterford Film Festival (22nd November  – 24th November)

Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

Junior Galway Film Fleadh (TBA)

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 (8 – 9 February)

Capital Irish Film Festival Washington (28th February – 3rd March)

Chicago Irish Film Festival (28th February – 3rd March)

Toronto Irish Film Festival (1 – 3 March)

Irish Film Festival Boston (22 – 24 March 2019)

Irish Film Festa Rome (27 – 31 March)

Irish Film Festival Ottawa (29 – 31 March)

Irish Film FestivalSydney (1 – 5 May), Melbourne (9 – 12 May)

Irish Reels Film FestivalSeattle (16 – 17 March 2019)

Celtic Media Festival Isle Aviemore  (4 – 6 June 2019)

Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival (26 – 27 July 2019)

British & Irish Film Festival (13-22 September 2019)

Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival (13 – 16 November)

Festival of Irish CinemaWarsaw (TBA)

San Francisco Irish Film Festival(TBA)

The Irish American Movie Hooley   (TBA)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Irish Screen AmericaLos 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


Capital Irish Film Festival: Chairman, Paddy Meskell & Director, Pat Reilly


John Collins spoke to Chairman of the Capital Irish Film Festival, Paddy Meskell and Festival Director Pat Reilly about the origins and evolution of the festival, the importance of an Irish film festival in Washington and the challenges the festival faces.

The Capital Irish Film Festival celebrates annually the best of new Irish features, documentaries, shorts and animation, and particularly welcomes Irish language films.




Film Ireland Podcasts



‘Tradition’ Screens @ Chicago Irish Film Festival

Tradition, the second feature film from OC Productions, has been selected to have its US premiere at the Chicago Irish Film Festival, which takes place in February 2019.

Directed by Damian O Callaghan, Tradition tells the story of a Judge, who, on his last day on the bench, finds himself presiding over the most controversial case – his court – and his town has ever seen.

Written by Claire Corrigan and Damian O Callaghan with a cast that includes Paul Ronan , Pascal Scott, James Daly, Brian Harty, Laura Reidy and Brendan Grace.



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






Capital Irish Film Festival: Editor, Tony Cranstoun

John Collins spoke to Tony Cranstoun, editor of A Date for Mad Mary and The Farthest, which closed this year’s Capital Irish Film Festival in Washington D.C. John was good enough to send us on his recording of their conversation.

The Farthest chronicles NASA’s 1977 launch of twin space probes, sent to capture images of remote planets and bear messages from Earth.

The Farthest screened on 4th March 2018 as part of the Capital Irish Film Festival


Film Ireland Podcasts


InConversation: Tony Cranstoun


Festival Report: Hamptons International Film Festival

Ronan O’Sullivan reports from the 26th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival, which included screenings of The Favourite and Making The Grade. Along the way Ronan shared a cigarette with Eva Trobisch, director of Alles Ist Gut.


The Hamptons consist of a number of towns on the east end of Long Island, one hundred miles east of New York City.  Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, South Hampton, Hampton Bays, Sagaponack and Sag Harbor, are a few of these ‘hamlets’, and the further east you go, the more expensive things become. I spent four of the festival days in East Hampton, a town which could have been lifted straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. Property prices in Dublin may be scary, but the cost of some of these homes on the Atlantic is phenomenal. The Hampton Film Festival is where the famous mingle with the rich and glamorous, not unlike The Cannes Film Festival.

This year marked the 26th year of the HIFF.  Hundreds of movies were to be seen, ranging from shorts, documentaries to narrative feature films. Every cinema on the East End was booked out for the duration of the festival, which usually takes place over the Columbus holiday weekend (Oct 12th). Screenings were often followed by Q&As with actors/directors.

My introduction to the festival began on Friday morning at a #MeToo filmmakers’ talk in Rowdy Hall, a local restaurant. Three women filmmakers spoke to a capacity crowd. They spoke from their heart with the courage of their convictions. Nancy Schwartzman, one of the speakers warned all males present that even if they weren’t involved in abuse scandals – to be on their bended knees thanking females for any and all sexual relations. No men spoke at the Q&A. I approached the three speakers afterwards, in particular Nancy Schwartzman. She laughed when I brought up her earlier opinion, admitting it was a little extreme. What they said by and large made a lot of sense, and in person they were warm, less intimidating and not as extreme. 

The two Irish films on offer were The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) and Making the Grade (dir. Ken Wardop). Mike Trentacosti, a volunteer from Babylon, Long island, sampled the reaction to Making the Grade and considered it overwhelmingly positive. This view was reflected in an audience vote. Toni Ross, a founding member of the HIFF and a local restaurant owner also gave it two thumbs up.  It made her cry, and the cinematography was beautiful, she said.  She wanted to know if all Irish houses were similar to the kind depicted in the film. 

Some movies are “Spotlight” films, meaning to attend their screening needs a special invitation. Unfortunately, The Favourite was one such film. I was unable to attend the screening or speak to any of the cast or crew.  It was awarded two prizes at the Venice Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actress Award for Olivia Colman. It is Lanthimos’ second feature film working with Rachael Weiss.  The Favourite was shot by Element Pictures. Screen Ireland helped with the funding. It is not the first time Lanthimos has secured funding through SI.  The movie will be released in the US later this year and in Ireland early in the new year.

The HIFF is renowned for its ‘Breakthrough Performance Program’.  Former breakthrough artists include Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt.  This year, the festival selected Cory Michael Smith, Amanda Stenberg and Kayli Carter.  Smith plays the Riddler in the ‘Gotham’ TV series and currently plays the lead in an indie production 1985.  Stenberg gives a riveting performance in The Hate U Give, playing a high-school student who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend by the police. Carter who had a small part in Netflix’ Godless will next star in Private Life for the same company. Full-house audiences gave these actors very warm, receptions.  All three spoke about their lives as actors and discussed how their careers are progressing. Smith joked about the dilemma of acting in independent films versus working in TV roles to make a living. Carter, born and raised in Oviedo, Florida, grew up in a farming community and had no idea that acting would shape her life. 

I met Eva Trobisch almost by mistake in a small restaurant off East Hampton’s Main Street. A waitress pointed out a vacant chair and a half-finished glass of white wine, informing me that a German director was present if I wanted to stick around. I knew of only one German film represented at the HIFF, which was Alles Ist Gut. The movie has received extremely good reviews as has its female lead, Aenne Schwarz. So I stuck around. A short-haired woman soon appeared with an apprehensive smile and immediately I liked her.  I introduced myself as a contributing writer for Film Ireland. She smiled again, telling me that Alles ist Gut has been selected for screening at the Kilkenny SUBTITLE European Film Festival,running 19 – 25 November.  She asked for a cigarette and I gave her a few, which she carefully tucked into her bag and I liked her even more.  Eva wasn’t rich, and she wasn’t famous.  She had just travelled alone from Germany and was nursing a glass of wine at the bar. Alles Ist Gut was set for screening at 8:30, an hour from now. She struck a lonely figure, very unusual in a town populated by publicity seekers and film pushers. She gave me several minutes to ask a few questions on a bench outside Babette’s Restaurant.  Her command of English was very good, and she spoke with a disarming, soft German accent.

How long did it take you to write Alles Ist Gut?

I think I was one and a half years writing it. I wrote it during my screenwriting masters at the London Film School, which I can very much recommend, and  then I came back with the second draft, and then another four drafts…

And how did you get the funding?

There was a broadcaster involved, a German broadcaster with very little money, like €60,000 and then my school – since it’s a graduation film and then we had German film funding – Bavarian film funding worth €150,000.  So, all in all we had €260,000 which is nothing compared to other films.  So, we all earned €8.50 an hour.  The entire crew, the actors, everyone.

You said you were in the London Film School?

I was studying Directing at the Munich Film School, but I was longing for a deeper understanding of screenwriting so I went to London Film School.  First, I went to Tisch School in New York (Tisch School of the Arts) for half a year and after that I did a screenwriting masters from the very first idea to the second draft – you go step by step in one year.

If the film makes money; does everybody get more money!?

(Eva nods her head and smiles)

Perfect. And it’s going to make money I hope? 

Yeah!  It looks good.  It’s been picked up for France and in Germany it’s going to be released, and Austria, and Switzerland is confirmed now.  And other countries are coming… 

Hopefully we will get America on board…

(Laughs) Yeah…

What are the plans for the future?

Doing my next film (big grin)

Do you have it written?

I have a treatment quite developed.  Yes, and we will apply for funding. To write it next year and then shoot it 2020 I guess.


And then she had to leave, slinging her bag over her shoulder with a goodbye smile.  She had to introduce her film and it was getting late. I watched from my friend’s pick-up truck as she weaved her way towards the movie theatre, losing sight of her in a snake of car headlights and a slow-moving line of pedestrians. 

Alles Ist Gut won the Big One the following day: The Best Narrative Feature of the Hamptons International Film Festival.  It was up against a number of Hollywood greats. I expect we will be watching Eva Trobisch’s films for years to come.  You can catch Alles Ist Gut at the Kilkenny Film Festival and hopefully Eva will be in attendance. 

No article about the HIFF would be complete without an honourable mention to a short film called The Hidden. Throughout the five days of the festival, this virtual reality short film played in a barn on a local property known as the Mulford farm. The experience was open to the public, free and very well attended. Earlier, its creators BJ Schwartz, Anne Lukowski, James Della Famina and Bruce Vaughn (Music by Ched Tolliver) also spoke in Rowdy Hall.  The Hidden was my first experience of a virtual reality narrative film. I watched it with two friends, an off-duty East Hampton cop and a fellow Irish man. We wore VR goggles and headphones throughout, an experience in itself. The story concerns itself with an ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raid on an unsuspecting Latino family whose father is hiding in the house. The movie was shot with 8 different cameras giving a full 360-degree point of view. You could turn and look over your shoulder to see what was behind you. It was an eerie, spectacular experience. The off-duty cop had a few issues with the narrative. He felt that the ICE agents were at times unprofessional and negatively portrayed.   

I came into contact with many films at the festival. I would highly recommend a few of them, including the Best Documentary Winner, Divide and Conquer. It’s the story of Roger Ailes and is directed by Alexis Bloom.  I must stress that with so many films screened, I only had the opportunity to see a fraction.

Kindergarten Teacher, directed by Sara Colangelo and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Gael García Bernal.

Wildlife, directed by Paul Dano, and starring Carey Mullingan, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ed Oxenbould.

Birds of Passage, directed by Christina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, from Colombia

First Man directed by Damien Chazelle starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy.

A beautiful, bright sun shone throughout the HIFF autumn weekend. I was made most welcome by the festival staff and my sincere thanks to the many organisers and volunteers for making the experience so pleasant. 

I have attended a few festivals in my time, some of which could learn from the courtesy and kindness on display at the HIFF, where I was treated like an equal, never separate from the elite.


Ronan O’Sullivan


The 26th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival took place 4 – 8 October 2018


Ronan O’Sullivan is a filmmaker and photographer with a degree in Film Production from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. He has shot many short films, music videos and commercials. He also tutors film and photography for Transition Year students in Dublin.  He has a feature film screenplay ‘Scorched’ under development with a NYC-based production company.


Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: One Million American Dreams

Loretta Goff discovers the secrets of New York’s mass graves in Brendan Byrne’s One Million American Dreams.

Brendan Byrne’s One Million American Dreams brings into focus the often unnoticed Hart Island, a small New York City island that is used as a burial ground for the city’s unclaimed dead, and for those whose families cannot afford burial expenses. Byrne’s documentary takes a personal approach to the subject matter, following the stories of four families with members buried here. In doing so, he removes the anonymity of the Hart Island cemetery, reinscribing it with the narratives of these individuals and providing a sort of commemoration for them that is not fully offered on the island itself.

Introducing the film at the 63rd Cork Film Festival, Byrne commented on his own relationship with New York City, from his first visit at age 17, when he was in complete awe, to his multiple returns that have also revealed the city’s tougher edge. When he was made aware of a two-minute recorded news piece on Hart Island he realised it deserved more attention and that he could make a whole film about it. This led to One Million American Dreams, which he describes as “a difficult love letter to the place I’ve had a longstanding love affair with” that takes a “deeper look into the soul” of the city.

Several animated segments in the documentary, along with narration by Sam Rockwell, provide viewers with the necessary historical details of Hart Island, which are expanded upon in interviews with scholars, journalists and politicians. We learn that burials began there in 1869, with over one million individuals laid to rest on the island to date, that it was also used as a Union Civil War camp (amongst other things) and that it is currently run by the Department of Correction, with inmates employed to bury the bodies and no access to the general public. These details are made more visceral with the striking animations that accompany them. One of these, in particular, stands out; it shows layers upon layers of nameless coffins piling up below the island, forming it, but also giving shape to a human head, reminding us that each coffin contains an individual that had a part to play in the story of New York City, and that those who are marginalised should not be forgotten or cast away.

Our attention is turned to some of these marginalised individuals through the stories of the families affected by loved ones’ burials on Hart Island. We meet an African-American Vietnam War Vet whose baby daughter was buried there while he was away, a Cuban family whose father died alone with dementia in the city, a Puerto Rican woman whose stillborn child was due to be buried on Hart Island and the family of a man suffering from drug and alcohol addiction who ultimately ended up there without his family’s knowledge. Through their stories, not only is Hart Island personalised, but we are confronted with the deeper underlying issues affecting New York City and contemporary American culture more broadly—racism, immigration, substance abuse and poverty.

Commenting on his film in a Q&A after the screening, Byrne noted that he used the cemetery on Hart Island, and the stories that emerged from it, as a “frame to confront issues that still face America”, which are threaded throughout the film. We see this in the stories of the individuals that the documentary follows, but also through the film’s carefully crafted cinematography. This captures the beauty of New York City—in the bright lights of Time’s Square, the skyline and diverse groups of people—but also its struggles and darker sides, focusing attention on the homeless sitting overlooked on busy streets and those that exist in the fringes. A particularly striking image follows the ferry travelling out to Hart Island as it, and the island are engulfed in fog. This offers a skillful visual depiction of the islands shrouded nature, cast into the shadows of the dazzling city.

Discussing the process of making the film, Byrne noted that the project as a whole took between three and four years (with 18 months of filming). He commented that it was a process to get the stories of the individuals, but that “without their stories we wouldn’t have the film”. It is the honesty of these that resonates with the audience, offering the documentary’s powerful social commentary.

One Million American Dreams is a timely, well-crafted, poignantly shot and animated documentary that speaks to a number of contemporary social issues neatly encapsulated by Hart Island—the story of which is remarkable in itself.


One Million American Dreams screened on Saturday, 17th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival   (9 – 18 November)



Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: The Belly of the Whale

Cian Griffin enters The Belly of the Whale which screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.

The Belly of the Whale is the debut film from Irish director Morgan Bushe and stars veteran Irish comedy star Pat Shortt and up-and-coming Scottish actor Lewis McDougall. The film tells the story of recovering alcoholic Ronald (Shortt) and his relationship with young misfit Joe Moody (McDougall) as they plot to steal from local politician Gits Hegarty.

The main strengths of the film are its characters and the performances. The two main characters are extremely relatable but tragically flawed at the same time. Both Shortt and McDougall turn in great performances that make you laugh out loud while also pulling at your heartstrings. Shortt’s performance is especially moving as he departs from his typical over-the-top comedic roots and delivers a surprisingly nuanced and layered performance as a man struggling to come to terms with the blows that life has dealt him. Michael Smiley (known for his work in Luther, The Lobster and Rogue One) also turns in a memorable performance as local politician Gits Hegarty. He is extremely menacing and threatening while also chewing the scenery in every single scene, providing most of the laughs in the film. The cast as a whole are great with strong supporting performances from Game of Thrones star Art Parkinson and young Irish actress Lauren Kinsella as Moody’s friends Lanks and Sinead.

However, the film suffers a bit from some pacing issues. The film takes too long to get to the actual plot, spending the majority of the runtime setting up the characters and their circumstances and at times drags, spending a lot of time wallowing in the misery of the characters. In contrast then, the ending of the film is a bit rushed and clumsy, culminating in a finale that lacks the emotional payoff we have been building up to throughout the film.

In saying that, for a first-time director, Bushe (who also co-wrote the script) manages to find a great balance between humour and tragedy to make a film that is bursting with heart. On top of this, he makes some great artistic choices and the film is quite beautiful, creating a vivid and realistic picture of rural Ireland. Based on his first film, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Overall, The Belly of the Whale is a charming and endearing film that tells a poignant and at times, heartbreaking story of two flawed characters coming to terms with the challenges in their lives. It’s a touching story of love, loss and friendship bolstered by a great director and strong performances and while it’s not perfect, it is sure to delight audiences while also making them cry.


The Belly of the Whale screened on Friday, 16th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival    (9 – 18 November)

Opens in Irish cinemas 7th December 2018.



Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: Maeve

Jack O’Dwyer gets caught up in the fractured narrative of Pat Murphy’s seminal Irish film Maeve, which screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.


In an attempt to describe her state of mind as an artist during the appalling years of the Irish troubles, feminist filmmaker Pat Murphy has posited that the North suffered primarily from everyone trying to shoehorn it to fit snugly into their own system of beliefs. This is a clear starting point in an analysis of her seminal 1981 film Maeve, co-directed with John Davies, which depicts the problematic ways in which personal and political beliefs can coexist within a troubled nation, often leading to layers of conflict which act as further barriers to peaceful resolution. At its core the film portrays a sort of uprising through inaction, a tentative method by which an individual may behave if they feel that they are excluded from the promised land which lays at the end of the revolutionary road. Through its radical aesthetics and characterisation, the film offers a unique perspective on one of the darkest periods in the island’s turbulent history.

The driving force of Murphy’s film is the titular Maeve, seen in both present day 1981 and also in recurring flashbacks to unspecified times in the past. In the present day, she returns home to Belfast from bohemian London, fully embodying the stringent lifestyle of a feminist ideologue. In the past, with these nascent ideals starting to take shape in her mind, she is seen as a young adult who vows to escape from the hostile community which stifles her. Maeve, played with skilful restraint by Mary Jackson, is often a difficult character for the audience to relate to, likely a reflection of Murphy’s acknowledged debt to Bertolt Brecht and the so-called ‘’distancing effect’’ which he utilized in his theatre. Much of her dialogue is heady and intellectual, delivered as a series of feminist mantras which refer to metaphysical ‘’Woman’’ rather than earthly, anecdotal ‘’women’’. Traditional womanhood, devout Catholicism, revolutionary insurrection; Maeve chooses to shun all of these potential paths in an effort to gain her own autonomy and identity. In one scene, Maeve and her schoolmates are being forced to rote-learn a religious commemoration to the victims of the local conflict. Maeve instead stares out the window, demonstrating a conscious decision to shun the milieu in which her peers are enmeshed.

Acting as a traditional counterpoint to Maeve’s personal protest is her sister, Roisin, played by Brid Brennan. One masterful aspect of Murphy’s screenplay is the heightened importance placed upon storytelling, particularly in relation to how it enlightens the characters who take up the role of storyteller. Roisin tells a number of stories throughout the film, usually depicting some form of tyranny inflicted upon the population by the armed British guards who patrol the streets. One such story implies that Roisin and her friend were the victims of an attempted rape by an intruding soldier, but the nonchalance and humour with which it is told does little to convey the potential severity of the situation. Moments such as these subtly paint Roisin as a character who is caught in the flux, unwilling to critically examine her role as a traditional, oppressed, catholic woman. Despite her sister’s warning that marriage ‘’only keeps woman down’’, there is never the suggestion that she will follow in Maeve’s non-committal footsteps. Even further alienated from Maeve is their mother, Eileen, played by Trudy Kelly. A quiet well of frustration with little dialogue in the film, she is a helpless bystander to the rampaging tide of patriarchal nationalism in her nation, serving as the outdated archetype to which Maeve internally revolts. Perhaps the film’s most emotional scene takes place in a room filled with religious relics, designed by Eileen as a place devoted to her daughter’s future courting. Such a traditional fantasy comes off as absurd given the nature of Maeve’s character, with the scene soon devolving into a heart-breaking monologue from mother to daughter recounting the first time that Maeve boarded the plane as she left to London – ‘’You never looked back once to say goodbye’’. Tragically, this marks the only point in the film at which Eileen is given an extended opportunity to speak, with each word driving a further nail into the coffin that is their incompatible relationship.

The most articulate challenger to Maeve’s unique vision of nationalism comes in the form of her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, Liam, played by John Keegan. Murphy has expressed the importance within feminist fiction of creating authentic, coherent male characters so as to create an equal playing field of debate. In this regard, the character of Liam is a triumph. A committed republican, he matches Maeve both in the strength of his personal convictions and the fierceness of his debate. The film’s philosophical assertions are founded upon a masterful series of scenes in which the two debate each other in various locations, their rival viewpoints clashing together in a captivating stream of insights and insults. Murphy’s idea for these scenes was that the two would cease to be characters for the duration of these debates, instead transforming into unfiltered mouthpieces for their espoused ideologies; a clear admission of her Brechtian and Godardian influences. The first of their debates happens upon Cave Hill, as they gaze upon a deceptively serene-looking Belfast in the distance. Maeve is first triggered into stating her defiant viewpoint as a response to Liam’s praise of lifelong nationalists, those passionate men who have ‘’been able to keep that image together through all the madness’’. Her issue lies in the fact that the romantic image of Ireland which has guided nationalism thus far excludes her as a woman, it leaves no space for her, she is ‘’remembered out of existence’’ as part of its clause. Next, in her rented apartment in London, Maeve speaks of her decision to ‘’withdraw from it’’, to distance herself from the ‘’country’s neuroses’’. To this, an apoplectic Liam castigates the cowardliness of her actions, pointing to the fact that those who have fought and died for the cause have not had the luxury of her aloofness and free speech, warning that ‘’you’re going to have to come back’’. Virtually every line of their gripping debates could and should be isolated and unpacked by viewers of the film; rarely has such a testament to the efficacy of the Socratic method appeared on screen.  Their intellectual sparring culminates near the film’s end as they saunter gloomily through Clifton Street Cemetery, mutually accusing each other of copping out of their ideals. At the argument’s climax, Maeve compares Britain’s treatment of Ireland to man’s treatment of woman, warning that, if Liam and his counterparts should someday be successful in their struggles, then women will ‘’recognize you as the next stage in their struggle’’. In a film which thrives upon exploring the intersection between nationalism and feminism, this stands as perhaps its most radical political expression.

The film’s challenging subject matter is reflected in the austere visual style which Murphy and director of photography Robert Smith choose to adopt. Considering that the film is set in an environment which features constant, often unexpected intrusions into the daily life of Belfast’s citizens, the cagey 4:3 aspect ratio feels suitably oppressive when viewed on a large screen, as if the characters must struggle in order to escape beyond the borders of the frame. This is further enhanced by the usage of a number of internal framing devices, often doorways, which further squash the characters in to fit their surroundings.  During the tense night-time scenes, the camera creeps behind characters or flits about from left to right, suggestive of the widespread paranoia which haunts the streets. Maeve’s increasingly disillusioned father, Martin, played by Mark Mulholland, returns in a series of scenes throughout the film during which he generally tells a story involving the local population, and these are among the film’s most intriguing moments from a visual perspective. In the first such instance, the camera suddenly wheels around to Martin as he interrupts his wife during a story, and frames him in the middle of the boxy screen staring directly into the camera as he completes a long, thickly-accented monologue. These scenes which feature Martin staring into the camera increasingly come to feel as if he is breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience directly. The subtle increase in intensity each time this occurs reinforces a sense of desperation and fear which has creeped into his character, culminating in the heart-breaking, quietly fearful words which he tells himself at the film’s closure. The film therefore arises from the lineage of European modernist cinema not only in its bold subject matter, but also in the way it creatively manipulates the filmic tools to give rise to new modes of artistic expression.

Maeve is comparable to Seamus Heaney’s famous ‘’bog poems’’ in the sense that it holds an abstract mirror up to this unspeakable Irish tragedy in a way which seems to shed cognitive and emotional light upon the subject without offering any form of trite solution to what is an endlessly thorny situation. The film is a whirlpool of ideas, of narratives, of memories, described by Murphy as a ‘’political document rather than a film’’. It feels like a political document not only during the war of words and ideologies at its core, but also in its harrowing evocation of a city where children play in the presence of armed soldiers, and searchlights cut through the dark streets like knives. One of the nation’s finest films, Maeve is a brave, important film, whose intellectual honesty and defiant spirit ought to inspire generations of Irish filmmakers.



Maeve screened on Thursday, 15th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival (9 – 18 November)



Programme Announced for the 13th Annual IFI & Kinopolis Polish Film Festival

The IFI & Kinopolis Polish Film Festival returns for its 13th season from December 6th to 9th with a programme of films from one of Europe’s strongest and most prolific national cinemas. The festival kicks off with a screening of warm comedy A Cat With A Dog from director Janusz Kondratiuk, which will be followed by a Q&A with actor Olgierd Łukaszewicz. The festival also welcomes acclaimed director Małgorzata Szumowska to present her latest film, Mug, on Saturday 8th.

As always, the festival includes a wide range of genres from black comedy and domestic drama, to short-form animation, period drama, and classic science fiction. The festival serves as a snapshot of the national industry over the past year, with selected titles coming from both debut filmmakers and established masters. The admirably egalitarian nature of the Polish filmmaking community ensures that women are well represented behind the camera, whether as first-time directors, such as Olga Chajdas, or as an internationally acclaimed director with a significant body of work, such as Małgorzata Szumowska.

Commenting on the programme, IFI Cinema Programmer Kevin Coyne said, ‘This presentation of new Polish titles is an important event in the IFI’s calendar, and we’re delighted to be joining withKinopolis once again in offering Irish and Polish audiences the opportunity to enjoy some of the most distinctive films to emerge in the last year from this distinctive national cinema.’

Festival opener A Cat With A Dog features Robert Więckiewicz and festival guest Olgierd Łukaszewicz as estranged brothers Janusz and Andrzej. When Andrzej suffers a debilitating stroke, Janusz’s wife Beata, aware that she has never met her brother-in-law, encourages her husband to reconnect with his sibling. This warm-hearted and moving comedy is based on Janusz Kondratiuk’s own experiences, and benefits from excellent performances by its four main actors.

In Paweł Maślona’s blackly comic Panic Attack, characters endure a variety of anxiety-inducing situations, from a couple seated beside the passenger from hell on a bumpy plane ride, to the woman suffering a painful meeting with her ex. As the tension in each situation ratches up, Maślona proves expert at finding the humour therein, making for a film that will provoke laughter from viewers even as they watch through their fingers.

Olga Chajdas’s debut feature Nina is a story of love and identity. Unable to bear children, Nina and her husband are searching for a surrogate, when they cross paths with Magda, an openly gay woman who Nina feels is the perfect candidate. As Nina discovers her attraction to Magda and the two begin a meaningful affair, her marriage begins to disintegrate as she seeks to define herself in light of these new and unexpected developments.

Krzysztof Zanussi’s Ether centres on a mannered yet sinister doctor who accidentally murders a beautiful young patient he had planned to sexually assault after rendering her unconscious with the titular drug. Fleeing the scene, he takes a post as a military medic in a remote outpost where he persuades his commanding officer to allow him to begin experiments that he believes will increase soldiers’ stamina and endurance.

IFI & Kinopolis are delighted that Małgorzata Szumowska, one of the most significant contemporary Polish directors and director of new film Mug, will visit the festival on Saturday 8th. In Mug, well-liked heavy metal fan Jacek undergoes Poland’s first face transplant following an accident. After the operation, the attitudes of his neighbours, his girlfriend, and even his family change, making him an outsider in his own home. Szumowska’s approach balances playfulness with more barbed comments on contemporary Polish society in this dark satire.

Polish science-fiction cinema suffered a great loss in August of this year with the passing of one of its foremost exponents, Piotr Szulkin. The festival pays tribute with a rare and timely screening ofThe War of the Worlds: Next Century, a reworking of H.G. Wells’s classic novel. The film begins with Martian visitors being warmly welcomed by authorities, who use the media, and television in particular, to encourage the human populace in pursuing this benevolent relationship. However, this proves mere camouflage for the imposition upon the people of an increasingly authoritarian regime.

This year’s closing film, Julius, stars Wojciech Mecwaldowski as a serious teacher, forever at odds with his incorrigible artist father. Ignored by his students and unlucky in love, Juliusz falls into a relationship with a carefree veterinarian until events begin to conspire against him. Featuring cameos from such familiar Polish faces as Jerzy Skolimowski, Maciej Stuhr, and Andrzej Chyra, this quirky and frequently very funny film is arguably the year’s best and most original Polish comedy.

Finally, the always popular animated shorts programme also returns this year in its regular Sunday lunchtime slot. This year’s diverse selection includes films about the effects of the media on women, a portrayal of the meat industry, and the horrors of World War II. Eight of the nine short films that make up the programme this year are directed by women.

For more information about the festival and to buy tickets, visit www.ifi.ie/kinopolis. Individual festival tickets cost €11 and a festival multi-pass, four festival films for €38, is available in person or by phone from the IFI Box Office on 01-6793477.






FRIDAY 7TH (20.30): NINA


SATURDAY 8TH (18.00): MUG + Q&A





Film Festivals 2018 – Here & Abroad

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

Film Festivals in Ireland


Dublin Smartphone Film Festival (27th January 2018)

Subtitle Film Festival Dublin (1st February – 4th February)

Psychoanalytic Film Festival (2nd February)

Rathmullan Film Fest  Donegal (15 – 18 February)

Audi Dublin International Film Festival (21 February – 04 March)

Dublin University Film Festival (23rd – 25th February)

Cork French Film Festival (2 – 7 March)

Killarney Mountain Festival  ( 11 March)

Silk Road Film Festival Dublin (7 )

Fresh Film Festival Limerick (20  25 March)

Dingle International Film Festival (22  25 March)

East Asia Film Festival Ireland Dublin (5 8 April)

Belfast Film Festival (12 21 April)

Japanese Film Festival ( 8 21 April)

First Cut! Youth Film Festival (25  28 April)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Dublin (10 20 May) 

Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival Cork (23 – 27 May)

March on Film Dublin (4th June)

Korean Film Festival Ireland (7 – 9 June)

Beara Film Fest 2018 7th July

Galway Film Fleadh (10 – 15 July)

Guth Gafa Meath (20 – 22 July)

Radical Film Network Conference Dublin  (27 – 29 July)

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin (2  6 August)

Respect Human Rights Film Festival Belfast (5 – 11 August)

Fingal Film Festival Dublin (10 – 12 August)

Still Voices Short Film Festival Longford (16 – 19 August)

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival Kerry  (23 – 26 August)

Underground Cinema Festival Dublin  (31st August – 3rd September)

Clare Island Film Festival  (31st August – 2nd September)

Wexford Documentary Film Festival (21 – 23 September)

IFI Documentary Festival  Dublin (27 – 30 September)

Disappear Here Film Festival Donegal (28 – 30 September)

Spook Scene Cork  (6  9 September)

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival (5 – 7 October)

Dublin Arabic Film Festival  (5 – 7 October)

IndieCork (7 – 14 October)

OFFline Offaly (10 – 14 October)

Dublin Greek Film Festival (18  21 October)

Kerry Film Festival (18  21 October)

The Clones Film Festival (25 – 28 October)

Richard Harris International Film Festival Limerick (25 – 29 October)

Limerick Film Festival (25 29 October)

IFI Horrorthon Dublin (25 29 October)

Light Moves Festival   (8  11 November)

Cork Film Festival (9 – 18 November)

Subtitle European Film Kilkenny (19 25 November)

Feminist Film Festival Dublin (21 22 November)

Waterford Film Festival (30th November  2nd December)

Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival Dublin (30th November  2nd December)

Junior Galway Film Fleadh (6 – 10 November)

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 (23 – 24 February)

Capital Irish Film Festival Washington (1 – 4 March)

Chicago Irish Film Festival (1 – 4 March)

Toronto Irish Film Festival (2 – 4 March)

Toronto International Film Festival (2 –4 March)

Shebeen Flick Berlin (15 – 18 March)

Shebeen Flick  Düsseldorf  (24  25 March)

Irish Film Festival Boston (22 – 25 March)

Irish Film Festival Penrith (18th April), Paddington (19  22 April), Melbourne (26  28 April)

Irish Film Festival Ottawa (23  25 March)

Irish Film Festa Rome  (21  25 March

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Celtic Media Festival Isle Carmarthenshire (2 – 4 May)

Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival (September TBC)

Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival LA (27 – 28 July)

Kansas City Irish Fest  (1st August – 2nd September)

Festival of Irish Cinema Warsaw (14 – 16 September)

British & Irish Film Festival  (19 –29 September)

San Francisco Irish Film Festival (27 – 29 September)

The Irish American Movie Hooley (28 – 30 September)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Irish Screen America Los Angeles (25 – 27 October)

Irish Screen America New York (19 – 21 October)

Irish Film Festival London (21 – 25 November)

Vancouver Irish Film Festival (7 – 9 December)


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


Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: Town of Strangers


Loretta Goff meet the locals in the County Galway town of Gort, in Treasa O’Brien’s Town of Strangers, with a diverse cast, including young Irish Travellers, English New Age hippies, Brazilian factory workers and Syrian refugees.


Before the screening of Treasa O’Brien’s new documentary, Town of Strangers, at the 63rd Cork Film Festival, her short The Blow-In (2016) was played. Both feature the town of Gort in County Galway, and those newer residents to the town, considered “blow-ins” or “strangers”. The Blow In is narrated by a French woman who we meet at the start of the film, cleverly framed with an uprooted tree by O’Brien. This woman’s voiceover explains that, as a result of moving around a lot during her youth, she often felt like an outsider and developed a habit of observing people through her windows. This is used as a thread throughout this short documentary as she “looks in” on the lives of several of Gort’s residents.

A narrative thread similarly runs through Town of Strangers, but this time it is the director herself, who interweaves elements of her own life with those of the individuals she interviews in the film, notably drawing together similarities between them. The premise behind this documentary was an open-call film audition O’Brien held in Gort, from which emerged several stories that she felt compelled to follow. In the Q&A following the film, the director explained that she initially had the idea of making an experimental film based off of a script she was working on located in Gort, tackling the subject of changing Ireland and what that meant to a small town. However, she was “very surprised and really moved” by the stories people shared and her experimental film turned into a documentary.

In Town of Strangers we meet individuals from around the world—Afghanistan, Brazil, England, Ireland and Syria—who have all come to call Gort home. As these individuals open up about their lives we are invited to learn about their different backgrounds and unique stories, but what stands out are the commonalities between them (and ourselves) at basic emotional levels. Answering questions about what “home” means to them, about their families and about their dreams, the participants in this documentary reveal their fears, insecurities, hopes and strengths both through what they say and what they don’t. O’Brien subtly catches the whole range of emotions in quiet moments where the camera lingers on individuals’ faces, allowing the audience to read, and connect with, them. Discussing the film, O’Brien said that she was “trying to show empathy in a cinematic way”, and she certainly does.

All of the individuals are presented as different types of “outsiders”—with immigrants, hippies and Travellers among them. However, what emerges throughout the film more than a sense of living between two cultures, though that is evident, is what O’Brien notes as “displacement from the family”. It is through O’Brien’s exploration of this, along with its associated loneliness, that she is able to connect her audience with these “strangers”. Portraying them with empathy and understanding, rather than looking away from difficult stories, reveals just how familiar these individuals really are.

Speaking after the screening, O’Brien said that she “wanted to make a film for our times”. She went on to note the rise in right-wing politics and the fear that is developed by not fully understanding large events, explaining that, with this film, she wanted to bring things back to the personal and focus on connection. Ultimately, she hopes that this documentary contributes to a “shift in your consciousness [in terms of] how you might perceive people”.

Town of Strangers visually challenges perceptions—juxtaposing shots of the Gort Show (agricultural, baking and animal events) with rappers and dancers and Brazilian shops—in order to open up our understanding of rural Ireland, and reinforces this with its interwoven narrative of deeply moving, personal stories. All in all, the documentary offers a sensitive and engaging depiction of human connection, with all its fragilities, and, in doing so, beautifully reflects on contemporary rural Ireland.


Town of Strangers screened on Tuesday, 13th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival (9 – 18 November)



Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: Free Radicals


Vjekoslav Vondra was at the Cork Film Festival to take in a selection of experimental film works screened in memory of Josephine Massarella (1957 – 2018).


Using a church as a cinema may be unconventional, but Free Radicals is a selection of experimental shorts which are exactly that and the venue of Triskel Christchurch actually helps the films in leaving a stronger impression. To some experimental film may appear as just flashing imagery and loud noises nonsensically put together and because of that they refrain from watching. Experimental film is by its very nature unorthodox and will always struggle to reach a wide audience. For this reason, I’d imagine that the organisers weren’t expecting a high attendance. Nevertheless they must have been delighted with the respectably high turnout for the Free Radicals programme screened in such beautiful surroundings.

Right of the bat we were presented with an interesting picture, which we got to see twice due to some technical issues, Selfie Test #1 by Sybille Bauer. It depicts two women trying to find the perfect pose for a selfie in black and white followed by ominous music, leaving us with an uncomfortable feeling. During the first screening there were some imperfections on the projection which seemed intentional to everyone seeing the film for the first time and you could say that they actually contributed to the uneasy feeling the film was trying to incite. On the second showing though, another detail could have been noticed that shows the creative ability of the director. The footage was taken with the framerate adjusted so that the camera would pick up the flicker of the lights. Even though this short film is  only two minutes long, it has a great build-up resulting in a relieving climax.

Triskel’s very own head of cinema Chris O’Neill also had a film screened and was present among the audience as well. His piece Fragments was made using out-takes from a project that was shot 16 years ago. We see a woman taking out a cigarette and preparing to smoke it and the film evokes a strong sense of anticipation and a feeling of frustration. After we witness the woman taking the cigarette out of the box it appears as if the same couple of shots are just repeating themselves but the transitions in between each shot help in making them feel different. Additionally, it is hard to distinguish why these shots are out-takes as we would often see them during the credits of comedies so we expect them to be just actors breaking character or forgetting their lines. Here the issues may be technical or visual ones since there are no lines and the character is just standing in place with a seemingly normal face expression.

Another film that left a good impression is Abduction Scars by Jorge Núñez. It was the closest of the bunch to having a mainstream narrative, or at least slightly resembling it. It was also the longest film showed at 21 minutes long and at some points it felt stretched out, but overall it works well because it adds to the mystery behind it. The mystery that we learn more and more about throughout the film revolves around a bed and the man who is or should be in it but is not because of an abduction. This mystery also creates a spine-chilling atmosphere that some Hollywood horror productions could only dream of having, and here the flashing imagery and loud noises are justified and furthermore required to create such a terrifying environment and drag us into it. The editing implies that the character is having trouble sleeping and is tortured by a nightmare but it also makes us feel as if we are the ones who are having this nightmare.

Ultimately, there were certainly a number of films that stood out among the rest. Other films worth noting are: Mark Jenkin’s David Bowie is Dead and Vertical Shapes in a Horizontal Landscape, which feel as if they are the same length, even though the difference is 11 minutes, because of the pace at which the narrator speaks and the pace of the visuals; Mike Hoolboom’s 3 Dreams of Horses, which presents three different scenarios revolving around horses, admitting only one actually includes real horses, accompanied by contrasting beautiful visuals for each one; and 165708 by Josephine Massarella, who unfortunately passed away before receiving the news that her film would be shown at the festival, thus the screening was shown in her memory.

If you already enjoy experimental film, Free Radicals is definitely worth your time, and if you haven’t yet been exposed to experimental film, this is a good gateway.


Irish Film Review @ Cork Film Festival: Cellar Door

John Finbarr McGarr goes beyond the Cellar Door, which screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.

Cellar Door is Viko Nikci’s second feature film as a writer (his debut being 2015’s Fading Away) and his first as a director. The film follows a young woman, Aidie, played by Karen Hassan, who is trying to recall the last thing she remembers and soon realises that her child is missing.

Cellar Door is both an interesting and frustrating film simultaneously. Nearly every compliment that can be given to this film can also be seen as a flaw, depending on the person. For one, it lacks the traditional narrative of most films, instead opting for what seems like a directionless montage of disjointed scenes. Simply describing it wouldn’t do it justice as it’s more akin to an experience than a story.

The audience is learning information at the same time as the protagonist is, allowing for one to get into the same state of confusion as the protagonist. The cinematography also plays an important role in this confusion; the majority of scenes are filmed with a handheld camera, giving a sense of disorientation and instability. Cellar Door also lacks any establishing shots, being filmed in either close-up or medium shots. This is crucial, as it makes the whole film feel entrapping and claustrophobic.

However, what makes it frustrating is when watching it (for the first time); one has no idea what is going on. It is also not very clear what is happening to the protagonist, as Nikci plays his cards very close to his chest. Because of this, everyone watching this film would each have their own individual theories as to what the true nature of the film is.

But the audience is not supposed to understand what is being presented on the screen, as stated by producer David Collins in a Q&A after the screening of the film at Cork Film Festival, who also went on to say how much of a subjective experience the film is. Depending on who you are, you may find the lack of tangible answers intriguing or off-putting.

Easily the best aspect about Cellar Door is the editing. Most scenes bleed into the next seamlessly in a dream-like flow. As a result, the film never feels jarring or disruptive, despite the drastic change in setting that can occur at any moment. These smooth transitions are what helps the film succeed; the protagonist hops from location to location so frequently that these transitions help ease the audience to the next scene.

The film borrows some elements from horror films, and I would consider this the least successful part of it. There are multiple jump scares where a character screams or makes a loud noise after a prolonged silence, which happens so often that you could predict when the next one is about to happen.

Regardless, Cellar Door is a great film with interesting cinematography, a solid performance by Karen Hassan and some fantastic editing. It is clear that Nikci and Hassan have put a lot of work and research into the creation of this film, allowing it to get better the more you think about it. While it may not be for everyone, I would recommend this to anyone interested in seeing something weird, different and unique, as it is an intense experience that won’t ever be replicated.



Cellar Door screened on Sunday, 11th November 2018 as part of the Cork Film Festival (9 – 18 November)


Irish Film Festival London


Back for its 8th year, the Irish Film Festival London presents Ireland’s latest mainstream and independent films over 5 days across London with exclusive previews, panel discussions and director’s Q&As. Having recently announced Colin Farrell as its latest patron, IFFL is on a roll that’s not about to stop any time soon, given the growing strength and influence of Ireland’s talent on the global film industry.


Kelly O’Connor, Director of Irish Film Festival London said, “Ireland’s place in the global film industry is growing year by year, whether as a location for some of the most high-profile productions of recent times, or through the extraordinary quality of the talent and output being generated. Having received a raft of quality submissions for the Festival, our 2018 programme genuinely has something for everyone, including fans of comedies and thrillers, soundtrack and live music aficionados, documentary devotees, through to young children and family audiences.


“Once again, we have very strong female representation in the programme – in front of and behind the camera – particularly among the two shorts programmes, which indicates to me that the future of Irish Film will boast an abundance of world-class female directors and producers.


“Regent Street Cinema will be our home again this year and we encourage anyone looking for exposure to some of the highest quality film making, a new cultural experience, or just a taste of home, to join us in celebrating Irish talent in London.”


IFFL 2018 opens on a romantic note with Smithy & Dickie, Hannah Quinn’s delightful short about Irish 1940’s love letters, followed by Under the Clock, directed by Colm Nicell, which tells the enchanting stories of a generation of people whose relationships began under one of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks, Clerys clock.


The closing film is We Ourselves starring Aidan Gillen, Catherine Walker, Declan Conlon, Paul Reid, Seána Kerslake, Gavin Drea, and Caitríona Ennis. Paul Mercier’s second feature is an intimate and intense journey into the minds and hearts of a group of idealists and careerists as they go their separate paths in life, though are still bound together through a shared experience, a shared culture and a shared nation.


To officially launch the Festival, the Irish Film London Awards return to the beautiful setting of the Irish Embassy Ballroom on 13 November, honouring world-class Irish feature films, shorts and documentaries alongside Irish acting and filmmaking talent. Among the awards will be the annual Ros Hubbard Award for Acting, which identifies the performance of the year. Previous winners of the award include The Young Offenders’ Chris Walley and Alex Murphy. This year sees the addition of the Best Irish Music Video, in association with The Irish Jam.


Irish Film London Patron and Academy Award-winning director Lenny Abrahamson returns to London for the festival, providing a pre-festival teaser with an appearance on Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI (MK3D) on Monday 19th November. He then joins his long-term musical collaborator Stephen Rennicks for a talk on music and sound in their films (Sounds Guys, Thurs 22nd November), which will be followed by a screening of his latest film The Little Stranger, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson.


IFFL 2018 has plenty for the curious mind, with documentaries including Poc na Gael, in which Irish sporting legend Ger Loughnane traces the origins of Canadian ice-hockey all the way back to the Irish emigrant hurlers, and celebrates their legacy across the country today, and The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, (screening at Bertha Dochouse), in which a small Irish farmer goes head to head with US microchip Manufacturer Intel in a land battle.


Part of Irish Film London’s mission is to support Irish filmmakers from the beginning of their careers, and this year’s line-up includes two programmes of Irish Short Films (Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd November), full of up and coming Irish filmmaking talent. There will also be a panel discussion aimed at shorts filmmakers at The Union Soho as part of the festival, which reflects on the challenges and rewards of developing from shorts to feature films.


For family audiences, the heart-waring Grace and Goliath, from Cinemagic and Tony Mitchell, screens on Saturday 24th November at 2pm, in which an arrogant Hollywood big shot, Josh Jenkins sweeps into Belfast to make a movie, but before long he finds he needs the help of the very people he’s been overlooking.


As always, the festival’s Friday night film will be a special preview screening, from one of Ireland’s rising star directors, with details available only via the festival brochure or newsletter.


A duo of films highlighting the current Irish homelessness crisis screen on Saturday 24th November. Shelter Me: Apollo House, produced by Jim Sheridan, follows the world-renowned director, and a motley crew of inadvertent activists including Glen Hansard, Hozier, Damien Dempsey and Dean Scurry who were involved in the takeover of NAMA building Apollo House over the Christmas of 2016 to house Dublin’s homeless. It is followed by Rosie, a poignant moment in the life of a family displaced, with a show stopping performance by Sarah Greene. The creation of Roddy Doyle and Paddy Breathnach, two of Ireland’s leading storytellers, Rosie is ‘inspired by too many true stories.’


In keeping with the political times, IFFL 2018’s Sunday 25th November includes an afternoon focused on Northern Ireland, and the tensions arising around the border. Brexit: The Border Issue comprises a collection of short films on the topic, including the Financial Times’ recently commissioned Hard Border from Juliet Riddell and Clare Dwyer-Hogg which opens with Stephen Rea’s “Jacob Rees-Mogg you’re right. You don’t need to visit the border… you need to have lived here.” Later that day Tom Collins’ bi-lingual drama Penance reveals just what living in Derry felt like through the twentieth century, as a 1916 firebrand preacher priest later faces his demons during the 1960s era of The Troubles.


In the first collaboration of its kind, IFFL 2018 includes a joint event with the UK Jewish Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute, and the Barbican, with The Cohens and the Kellys, an uproariously funny 1926 silent film based in New York’s poorer quarters, accompanied by a live quartet of award-winning Irish and Jewish musicians.











10th Annual Psychoanalytic Film Festival 2019. Same Time Next Week?

In its various guises, Psychoanalysis has never failed to provoke fantasies and controversy in the socio-cultural imagination and the cinematic screen with things “Freudian” invariably signalling a sexy and/or bizarre theme. From Hitchcock through to Lynch the Oedipus complex and the unconscious are often central and reliable foci, almost meriting a credit of their own. The figure of the psychoanalyst or “subject-supposed-to-know ” and the potentially endless process of analysis have also been the butt of many satirical and comic takes, not least in the prolific filmography of Woody Allen. Curiously however, Freud did not believe that psychoanalysis could be represented accurately through film and was himself resistant to appearing on camera.

This festival asks , what can film represent of Freud’s “talking cure” and the conception of the psychoanalytic clinic as it has existed both in its previous incarnations and today. What do these representations say about the relation of culture to psychoanalysis? What do these characterisations of therapy and/or analysis perform in 21st century culture?

Programme Friday 1st February.

Friday 1st February 6pm. Screening of The Meeting in the company of

Director Alan Gilsenan, Producer Tomas Hardiman, Psychotherapist Dr. Marie Keenan and Ailbhe Griffith.

Discussion hosted and chaired by Olga Cox Cameron

8.30 Wine Reception

Programme Saturday February 2nd.

Parallel Screenings 9.30am-11.50am.

Theme: From Neurotic Misery to Ordinary Unhappiness

Ordinary People – Barbara Fitzgerald

Jimmy P – Michelle Sludds Hickey

The Lives of Others – Gen Watters

Another Woman – Sarah Meehan

11.50- 12. 05. Coffee

12.05-1.30 p.m. Screening from the BBC Archives 1972 dramatization ofFreud’s Case study of The Rats Man

In the company of Prof. Dany Nobus

Respondent – Rik Loose

1.30-2 pm Lunch

2 -4.20pm Film Screening Session II: To be a Therapist?

Bad Timing – Carol Owens

Mad to be Normal – Donna Redmond and Ross Skelton

Spellbound – Veronica Johnson NUIG

Now Voyager – Marie Walshe

4.20 -4.35pm Tea

4.35-6pm First Irish screening of historical documentary:

Sigmund Freud, His Family and Colleagues. By Philip Rafael Lehrman

In the company of Prof. Dany Nobus

Respondent: Olga Cox Cameron





Call For: Submissions for Irish Animation Awards

Animation Ireland, the representative body for animation studios in Ireland are accepting entries for the 2019 Irish Animation Awards.

The 2019 awards ceremony will take place in Dingle on 23rd March 2019 and is Animation Ireland’s biennial awards ceremony to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding, world-class creative talent within the Irish animation, VFX and gaming industries.

The ceremony will take place during the Animation Dingle festival, an internationally renowned annual event which has been hosted in the Kerry town for the past five years.

There will be a total of seventeen award categories, including Best Animation, Best Animation for Apps and Gaming and Best VFX in an Animated TV Series or Film.

Commenting on the call for entries, Animation Ireland Chairperson Moe Honan said; ‘’Over the past twenty years, Ireland has gained a reputation as a world leader in the animation industry. The Irish Animation Awards is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the amazing creative and technical talent we have in Ireland and all the hard work and dedication of the studios and producers across the country.’’

Moe went on to say; ‘’the entry process is now open in all categories and we welcome submissions from all. With so many amazing productions over the past eighteen months it will be an extremely tough year for the judges, which is just what we want.’’

Winners of each category will receive a statuette designed by animator, film maker and teacher Eimhin McNamara. The statuette resembles a Phenakistoscope which was an early animation device used to create an illusion of motion.

Visit the Irish Animation Awards website​ for further information about the awards and how to enter.

Entries close on the 10th December 2018.


Aoife O’Toole, Dublin Feminist Film Festival Manager

Gemma Creagh talks to Aoife O’Toole, the Dublin Feminist Film Festival Manager, about what we can expect at this year’s festival with screenings in the Light House Cinema 21st and 22nd November plus Special Launch Events taking place on 20th November in The Generator Hostel, Smithfield. 



The Dublin Feminist Film Festival runs 20 – 22 November 

#DFFF2018 = Reframe/Refocus



Film Ireland Podcasts