IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Lisa Fingleton

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Film Ireland talks to award-winning artist, activist and filmmaker Lisa Fingleton ahead of a programme of her films, The Power of the Personal Story, which feature at this month’s IFI Ireland on Sunday – this programme includes a series of short unapologetically autobiographical films documenting pivotal moments in her life.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about the evolution of your video diaries.

It is hard to believe that You Tube was only founded in 2005 and now there are millions of ‘selfies’ and autobiographical videos online. When I started to make films ten years ago that was not the case and I was simply using the camera to help me better understand my world. All of these films were made at challenging points in my life and the act of filming helped me to process these situations and move on.

I never intended to make video diaries but I have always had ethical dilemmas about filming other people, which of course may seem strange for a filmmaker. I work a lot with groups and have always believed in the principle of not asking other people to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

I was in Art College, thinking I would be a painter, when I picked up my first video camera. It just seemed obvious to start filming myself, as I was available and willing. A year after I graduated from NCAD I was asked to speak at a seminar for artists in Galway. I was preparing for my first solo show and had participated in a lot of group shows and commissions that year. The idea of my presentation was to explain my process of working and how I sustained myself. I thought, “How perfect. I will film a week in my life and inspire them all.” I honestly thought it would be fabulous, a kind of promo video. How naïve! In fairness it all started brilliantly on the Monday morning when Catherine Marshall, then Head of Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art agreed to open my solo show. I was delighted. But somehow the week took a bit of a nosedive from there. I felt pressure about the show and was cursing myself for agreeing to film myself. What a stupid idea. There were issues with rats, a dead magpie, flying shoes, dreams about losing my hair. Because I always try to honour my word, I felt I had to try and pull something out of it and eventually extracted a 12-minute film called Delighted and Deranged which I showed to the group of artists. I was so nervous. My ego really didn’t want to show them, as I wanted to hold onto some credibility.

The response was amazing. Everyone laughed and many people cried. They felt that the film captured the sometimes rollercoaster emotions of a creative life. One woman said, “I just can’t believe you had the nerve to make this and show us. I thought I was the only person who felt like that.” I guess it was so honest that it hit a chord with people.

The second film in the programme is Happy Out. Again, this was never meant to be a film per se. I was a member of Ireland’s only lesbian choir at the time in Cork, Mná Mna. I loved it. It was so much fun and we had such craic under the brilliant direction of Evelyn Quinlan. I loved the fact that women often came in the door nervous and shy and within weeks were singing their hearts with the choir at public events.

After 2 years with the choir, my partner and I had decided to move to Kerry. I was genuinely heartbroken about leaving the choir. Around the same time I got accepted onto ESODOC (the European Social Documentary Film Programme). I had to make a social documentary film about a human rights issue. I wanted to make a film about the choir but it really shocked me that many of my European colleagues felt that being gay in Europe was no longer an issue and certainly was not worthy of a documentary. I was really frustrated as I couldn’t seem to articulate why it was so important.

We were meeting in Latvia at the time and I met a man one night who was really distressed about his experience of filming the first Gay pride in Riga. He described how thousands of protesters lined the streets that first year, hurling abuse at the few brave people who were marching. I read in the paper that things had improved greatly as there were only 700 protesters the second year.

With that information I felt I just had to articulate why my film was important. I had to pitch my film idea to a panel so I turned the video camera on myself. I kept asking myself “Why do I want to make this film? Why do I want to make this film?” Actually in retrospect it felt like an interrogation. Eventually it hit me why the choir was so important. When I cam out in 1997 I was terrified that would lose everyone I loved. I was so scared. And I realized that even though that was years before, I still wasn’t seeing happy lesbians portrayed in the media. There were still very few places where lesbians could come and be quiet not to mention sing. I talked and talked until I understood why I needed to make the film. I intercut some footage from the choir and pitched the film idea that afternoon.

I never had to explain again why I wanted to make the film. When I brought that back to the choir every woman without exception said they wanted to make a film. We ended up creating a musical called ‘The Farmers Daughter’ and I created a five-part installation called ‘Outside I’m Singing’ about the process. The IFI screening includes a powerful interview with the choir director Evelyn Quinlan.

As I said earlier my partner Rena and I had decided to move to Kerry around that time. We  were trying to have a baby and decided to make her/him a video diary hoping that one day it would explain the journey of how s/he came into the world. Waiting for You is a document of that five-year emotional roller coaster. We decided to make it public as we met so many people over the years who were on similar journeys.

 

How would you describe the themes that run through your work?

I am really interested in the personal story. I believe that is how change happens. I believe that when another human reaches our heart then something changes.

I am also interested in sustainability and living in a more holistic way. We grow most of our own food and are currently working towards a year of eating only food grown on the island of Ireland. I am currently preparing for a solo show at Siamsa Tire Gallery in Tralee. This show will incorporate new films as well as drawings. Last week, I was awarded the Create Artist in the Community Scheme Research Bursary.  This means that I will have the opportunity to work with artist/mentor Aideen Barry to develop film and art projects with local farmers.

I am really interested in the creative process itself. I work a lot with Julia Cameron’s Book The Artist’s Way. Delighted and Deranged (2008) is about my own artistic process. I am really interested in collaborating with other artists on cross-disciplinary projects. Corrected is a short film with Mojisola Adebayo and Mamela Nyamsa about the corrective rape of lesbians in South Africa. I spent a week at the Arthouse in Laois last summer with Hennessy Portrait Prize-winner Nick Miller as he painted 35 portraits in a week. That filmed called Sitting was screening at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

 

Obviously in the current moment your work is of particular significance – could you talk a bit about the importance of social activism and artistic practice.

The current campaign for marriage equality is encouraging people to tell their own personal story and to engage in one-to-one conversations. Film is a great way of sharing the personal story and reaching people. On social media it is heartwarming to see the proliferation of videos in support of a Yes vote. It is wonderful to see grandparents, parents, sisters, brothers, friends and allies using their voices and standing up in solidarity in advance of this referendum. In a way everyone is ‘coming out’ and that in itself is changing the country for the better.

I really feel that we need to hold a vision of the type of country we want. Do we want an open, fair society, which values all of its citizens equally? Do we want a country where people can marry whom they love and have their love and commitment recognized by the state and constitution. Just because I marry my partner doesn’t affect anyone else’s relationship. I feel very strongly that we all have to act in solidarity with others, especially in the case of minorities.

I am very aware of the power of fear to disempower people. When we are scared we lose our power. When we feel frightened or confused we need to ask ourselves: Is this true? Is this fact or is someone trying to confuse or scare me. Being brave is always liberating. A friend said to me last week that we need to focus on the light and positivity. She said, “Imagine two adjoining rooms, one totally dark and one totally bright. If I open the door the darkness disappears as it cannot overcome the light. Light will always win.” I need to believe this and that is why I keep trying to make films which I hope will bring some light to dark situations.

The personal is very much political and I don’t want to separate art and the real world. I believe it is important that artists and filmmakers channel our energies to work towards the type of country and world we want to love in. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I believe strongly in the power of art and film to bring about change.

 

The intimacy of Waiting for You is very touching – and has a tremendously emotive effect on the viewer.

Waiting for You is still hard for me to watch but I know it has a huge impact on audience because it is so honest and raw. It won the Audience Award at the Dingle Film Festival last year. The audience in the converted church was mainly full of men over fifty who came to see the other Kerry films in that screening about the Dingle train and Killarney deer. We were pretty nervous about how the audience would react to our film about two lesbians trying to have a baby.

The response was so touching. People kept clapping. When the screening was over it was just like a funeral, with men queuing to shake our hands. So many had tears in their eyes and were saying ‘sorry for your troubles.’

 

Your work extends beyond filmmaking – can you tell us about your community work and working with young people in schools and how that filters into your own work.

 

I have done a lot of work as filmmaker in residence with young people in Kerry, Cork, Limerick and Kildare. Everyday I work with young people convinces me that our country is in good hands. They are brave, open and strong. I am touched by their overwhelming support for this referendum and their understanding that “of course everyone should be equal”.

They also motivate me to keep speaking out and advocating for the kind of world I want to see. I don’t want young people to feel the fear I felt when I came out. I don’t want young people leaving rural Ireland for cities because they feel they want live freely and openly. We can’t afford the  loss of their wonderful energy and creativity.

 

Screening at the IFI is a great opportunity for an audience to see your work… 

I have delivered workshops for the IFI in the past and we have worked closely together for years in my role as Filmmaker in Residence. I am very excited about this screening. It is very special as it is the first time these films are being shown together. I hope they will resonate with the audience.

 

 

The Power of the Personal Story, a programme of Lisa Fingleton’s films, screens on Sunday, 10th May 2015 at 13.00 at the IFI as part of its Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

 

The films screening are: 

Delighted and Deranged (2006)
The everyday life of a struggling artist.

Happy Out (2008)
Celebrating Ireland’s only lesbian choir.

Waiting for You (2014)
Documenting Lisa and her partner’s five-year-long quest to have a baby.

 

Director Lisa Fingleton will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets for The Power of the Personal Story are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

 

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Neasa Ní Chianáin, director of ‘The Stranger ’

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Neasa Ní Chianáin’s talks to Film Ireland about The Stranger, her documentary about Neal MacGregor, an English artist who lived in solitude on Inishbofin and died alone, aged 44.

The Stranger screens on Sunday, 18th February 2015 at 13.00 at the IFI as part of its Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

 

Neal MacGregor was an English artist who died alone in 1990, aged 44, in a stone hut built for hens on the remote island of Inishbofin, off the coast of Donegal, where he lived without water and electricity. The Gaelic-speaking islanders on the rapidly depopulating island knew little of Neal during the 8 years he lived there.

Neasa Ní Chianáin’s documentary The Stranger uses interviews with those who knew or knew of him, reconstructions, poetic diary extracts and archive material to piece together the fascinating story of this mysterious recluse and ponders the question Neasa herself poses at the start of the film: “Why do some people choose to retreat – to withdraw from the world; from people; from life? Why would someone choose to live in solitude and isolation?”

Memories of Neal vary from his life in England in the ’60s as a handsome popular teacher come jewellery artist in London, Acid-victim drop out and husband, to the life of loneliness he chose to pursue on a remote Irish island, which raised various questions from the inhabitants – was he a British spy recording IRA gun-running routes? Was he trying to take control of the island? Was he crazy? Or was he just seeking solitude? The different versions of who he was is something that attracted Neasa to making the film.

“I was interested in the notion of what is left of us when we die,” Neasa explains, “the idea that the dead become a collection of memories held by those still living, fragments of a life interpreted by others, memories fused with truth and sometimes myth. Neal was interesting in that he inspired so many conflicting stories about who he was, the Neal in London was a very different person to the Neal who arrived on Inishbofin. I was interested in how the jigsaw of his life varied depending on the storyteller and of course how memory evolves and changes overtime.”

The film plays on our interest in isolation and the life of a mysterious recluse, which feeds into a certain romantic narrative that film is exploring more and more. What is this particular fascination with solitude? “I think as life speeds up it gets very complicated for people,” says Neasa. “Everybody is busy being busy, one distraction after another, no time to reflect. Neal was a thinker and communicated only when he had something to say, one of his friends describe him as being very silent (in Donegal) but his silence was very noisy. I think he was trying to make sense of it all. He was searching for some meaning, he had to reduce his life, turn down the noise, so that he could focus, meditate, whatever way you want to describe it. I think there’s a little part of that in all of us, a yearning for solitude, a yearning to find some meaning. Maybe that’s why people want to hear the stories of those who were not afraid if it, because we think they might have found some answers. I have conflicting feelings about solitude, I sometimes yearn for it, but at the same time I fear it…like silence, I know it’s good for me, but it’s difficult to surrender to it. The film is a celebration of someone who had no fear of being alone.”

 

The Stranger screens on Sunday, 15th February 2015 at 13.00 at the IFI as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

Neasa Ní Chianáin will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets for The Stranger are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

The film is presented in association with Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival, who are working with Soilsiu Films on a festival outreach strategy for The Stranger, following its two successful screenings at Guth Gafa in Donegal and Meath.

The Stranger will also screen at The Glen Centre, Manorhamilton on Friday, 20th February at 8.30pm; at the Phoenix Cinema, Dingle, Sunday, 15th March at 12 noon (as part of the Dingle Film Festival); at Century Cinema, Letterkenny on Thursday, 19th March at 8.30pm; and at Glór, Ennis on Thursday, 26th March at 8pm. 

All screenings are part of the Guth Gafa and Soilsiú Films’ collaboration, and are made possible with direct distribution support from The Irish Film Board.

Further dates to be announced shortly.

Check www.thestrangerdocumentary.com for details.

 

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Laura Aguiar, co-director of ‘We Were There’

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We Were There features the unique experiences of women in the predominantly male world of the Maze and Long Kesh Prison during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, including stories of a prison officer’s wife, prisoners’ relatives, Open University tutors, Probation Service staff and a visual artist.

Directed by Laura Aguiar and Cahal McLaughlin, the film explores how the prison impacted on women’s lives, how they coped with the absence of their loved ones, and highlights the important contribution to the peace process by educational and welfare staff.

Speaking to Film Ireland, Laura explains how the film came out of the Prisons Memory Archive (PMA) material, as part of her PhD research at Queen’s University Belfast. “The PMA recorded a wide range of experiences, from prisoners to prison staff and relatives, in 2006 and 2007, inside the empty sites. Participants were filmed by a single camera operator who followed them while they walked and talked. The focus was on the participants’ engagement with the site and on their memories of it, therefore leading questions were rarely asked. In this manner, participants acted as co-authors as they had control over the content of the interviews. Co-ownership of the recordings and the right to veto or withdrawal were also given to them.”

Laura’s own collaboration with the archive and the participants began in the post-production phase, four years after the interviews were recorded and digitised, and lasted for three years, from 2011 to 2014. “I chose to work with the female recordings of the Maze and Long Kesh prison because of the nearly absence of their diverse lived experiences in cinematic depictions of the prison and of the Troubles in general. ‘Troubles Cinema’ has been pretty much a male territory and when women are placed more centrally within the plot, their roles are often limited to the sacrificial mother, fanatic femme fatale, or the girlfriend or wife. So we wanted We Were There to go beyond these limited portrayals and to offer a more multi-layered representation by highlighting women’s agencies within the prison walls – as educational and probation staff – and outside the walls – as active mothers, as political activists, and so forth.”

The importance of recording such stories, stories that are often excluded from the traditional narrative of history, provides a valuable record of otherwise hidden people and stories which can deeply enrich our understanding of the past. Laura tells me that “We all at the PMA believe that personal stories are crucial to history, especially when the human side is privileged over the political, as it can help reduce, rather than reinforce, the sense of othering, which is so common in divided societies, as Northern Ireland.

“In We Were There, we did this by intercutting the stories according to what united these women – their diverse experience of the same site – rather than what separated them – their contrasting political affiliations or religion – and we refrained from adopting a ‘reconciliatory’ tone. As one of the participants of the film rightly put it, We Were There uses personal stories to tell the history of the prison in ‘a more multi-faceted way, not one side or the other, but many sides, many truths, many journeys, many stories’. These were her own words.

“However, when one works with personal stories, special attention must be paid to individual versus collective needs and aspirations and the public/private boundaries of sensitive stories. Some experiences may be too personal to be shared and can lead to embarrassment, harassment and even life-threatening situations for participants. That’s why working closely with participants, sharing authorship and ownership of the film with them can be key in minimising these risks. Minimise, not eliminate, as we can never know how stories will be publicly received, especially in sensitive places such as Northern Ireland.

“Furthermore, as war history is highly male-centred – and that’s not just me saying it but just think about all the war movies you have seen – personal stories are a powerful way to uncover women’s plural experiences of war and to deconstruct some of the myths of femininity and masculinity that have been reinforced by institutions such as the Church or the military.”

Also through these stories the film provides both a record of and moving insight into how the suffering of prison extends beyond the prisoners to relatives, partners and friends.It definitely goes beyond the prisoners,” Laura explains. “Estimates suggest that over 100,000 people have been directly affected by imprisonment during the Troubles. That’s a considerable number for such a small population of over 1.5 million.

“However, it is very important to acknowledge not just the women’s suffering but also their agency within the peace process and the history of the conflict. At the same time as the men were enduring the hardships of imprisonment, women on the outside were becoming not only the de facto head of the household but also more politicised and active, with many joining women and community groups and even paramilitary groups in some cases.

“The welfare and educational staff also played a key role, including in the peace process. A lot of them were responsible for planting the seeds for the talks that emerged in the prison. Their educational and welfare programme helped some of the men reflect on the armed struggle and opt to follow a more peaceful route after their release. It is very important to acknowledge their importance, as they often think that their stories matter less than the relatives’ stories. And this is not true; all stories are unique and equally important to the overall history of the prison and the conflict.”

I ask Laura to tell me about the editing process of the project.I regularly met Cahal McLaughlin, the PMA’s director and the film’s co-director, and carried out four individual meetings with participants. In these encounters we discussed the rough cuts and made joint decisions on the inclusion and exclusion of parts of the recordings and on the addition of visuals of the prison, soundtrack, and text. Hence, consent was an on-going process of negotiation, not just a single signature at the beginning or end of a project and ensured that the participants’ earlier role as co-authors was maintained throughout the editing phase.

“We agreed to let participants narrate their own stories and to use visuals of the prison, text and soundtrack minimally to support the women’s own voices. We favoured the contemporary imagery recorded by the PMA and eschewed adding other archival material, for example BBC newsreel or newspaper photographs. Text was used only to offer basic details on events, dates and location. We also agreed that the music should not be too intrusive nor too ideological and collaborated with sound designer Liz Greene, who produced a soundtrack that enhanced the ambient sound of the recordings, without intruding upon the women’s testimonies or guiding audience’s emotions.

“Since the film has been completed, participants have been invited to attend the screenings and take part in panel discussions, which have given them the opportunity to see how their stories impacted an audience and to engage in dialogues with them.”

We Were There screens on Sunday, 19th October 2014 at 13.00 as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with directors Laura Aguiar and Cahal McLaughlin and participants.

Tickets for We Were There are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

 

 

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‘Poison Pen’ Screens at IFI

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Poison Pen, a new feature film based on a screenplay by internationally renowned author Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), is set to follow up its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh with an exclusive screening in Dublin at the IFI as part of its Ireland on Sunday season.

P.C. Molloy (Lochlann Ó Mearáin), a Booker-prize-winning author, is coerced into writing for a tabloid gossip magazine. Cultures clash and sparks fly as the cerebral Molloy finds himself immersed in the world of vain celebrities and he begins to fall for his boss (Aoibhinn McGinnity). A smart and savvy romantic comedy, Poison Pen asks questions about the nature of celebrity, integrity and deception.

The directors will participate in a Q&A and Eoin Colfer and the film’s cast and crew will be in attendance. Poison Pen is a production of the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course.

Poison Pen screens on Sunday, 31st August 2014 at 18.00

Tickets are on sale here

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Martina Durac, director of ‘Mairéad Farrell: Comhrá nár Chríochnaigh’

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On the 6th March 1988, Mairéad Farrell, Sean Savage and Daniel McCann, three members of an unarmed IRA unit, were shot dead by British SAS forces in Gibraltar in extremely controversial circumstances. Martina Durac’s film, Mairéad Farrell: Comhrá nár Chríochnaigh, explores the life and death of one of the IRA’s most iconic female members. The journey is guided by Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, who spent many hours in discussion with Mairéad in the year before her death, and travels back to Belfast, Gibraltar and England to revisit her memories of that time. The film screens this Sunday at the IFI as part of its monthly showcase for new Irish film.

Recalling how the project came about, director Martina Dulac tells Film Ireland how a number of years ago she was researching a documentary series that she was going to make for TG4/BAI about women who served in the IRA and Republican paramilitary organisations during the last 40 years and more – “I felt their stories had not been told before, in their own words.”

As Martina was working on this and seeking the women who would be involved, she began to think more about Mairéad Farrell, whose story she was broadly familiar with. Mairéad joined the IRA in her late teens; spent over ten years in Armagh Women’s Prison for planting a bomb at the Conway Hotel in Dunmurry; was appointed the OC of the women in the Armagh jail; went on hunger strike along with Mary Doyle and Mairead Nugent seeking the same five demands to be met as the men in Long Kesh were; was tipped to occupy a very significant role in the now changing Republican movement in the late ‘80s when she was released; attended the University in Belfast for a short while; and was shot dead in Gibraltar by the SAS.

“It seemed to me a life story waiting to be explored,” Martina explains. “Speaking with the commissioning editors in TG4 I said I wanted to make a film about her. That’s when I discovered that Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, who I already knew, had been planning to make a film also and had been writing a book [unpublished] about Mairéad just around the same time that the killing in Gibraltar took place. Myself and Vanessa Gildea [producer of the film] went to meet with Bríona and we decided to work together. I would direct the film and Bríona would get involved as consultant. However, as I delved into the research more it seemed to me that the best way to tell the story would be for Bríona to be our on-screen guide as she revisited the events of that time and what they meant for her as well. When she agreed to this we set off on the journey along with Vanessa and Paddy Jordan, the cameraman, and we travelled with Briona from Dublin to Leitrim, Belfast to England and then on to Gibraltar and Spain, in search of the story.”

Bríona Nic Dhiarmada had had a very particular relationship with Mairéad Farrell for about a year and a half before her death while writing her book and because she also had a strong family connection to the North of Ireland and had been visiting it quite regularly from the mid-1970s, her role as “on-screen guide” is vital in bringing a better understanding to Mairead’s life. “I felt she was well placed to tell the story, Martina says. “It was important for me that we did not attempt a straightforward chronological biography as I don’t think it would have been the right way to approach this. How do you get inside the head of someone who lived through these times, did what she did and died as she did? The film was always going to be partial, in a sense, an exploration and a series of questions and reminiscences. Bríona brought a humanity and a curiosity to the project and I think she’s a compelling on-screen guide through what was a complex story. Even so, it was not possible to look into every facet of the story in detail as we are hidebound by the exigencies of making a 52-minute film.”

Martina points out that Mairéad’s journey from a middle-class upbringing in Belfast to a high-profile member of the IRA is seen as being somehow different from most of the other IRA activists because she came from a comfortable background and might have been more expected to end up in university than jail. “I’m not sure this distinction entirely made sense as she was definitely exposed to what was happening in Belfast and beyond all throughout her childhood years but this sense of otherness did add to the mystique that surrounded her after she was released from prison and became a spokesperson for the new direction into which the IRA and Republicanism in general was headed. She was, in a word, charismatic. From looking at old interviews with her it’s possible to see both the charm she possessed and the real determination to succeed in her aims even if that meant risking her own death and the deaths of others. This is something we do not ordinarily come face to face with in our own lives and I was drawn to explore it. She was as complex a person as we all are and she lived through a time in Irish history that is indelibly etched into the psyche of the country and has had long-lasting effects on how communities on both sides of the border viewed and still view each other. I wanted to see if we could explore this in some way in the film that would offer any inkling of understanding.”

Reflecting on the experience I ask Martina if is there one thing above all else about Mairead that she came out of the experience with a better understanding of. “I think it’s fair to say that I went into the making of this film believing that there had to be very strong reasons for Mairéad Farrell acting as she did in getting involved with the Republican movement so young and becoming an active service volunteer in the IRA while in her teens. Bríona says it in the film and it comes across to me also from the accounts of other people – Mairéad Farrell was a product of her times and the history of her people. It’s impossible to have made this film and not see that. She didn’t start out with a desire to hurt or kill other people; I think she started out with anger, the anger of the young at injustice, and I think she set out to do what she thought was necessary at the time to stop this injustice. In the light of so many actions, resistances, uprisings and revolutions across the world that we’ve seen since then, how many can we say are really successful for their protagonists and bring them what they think they fought for? Maybe very few, but I think I understand the desire for change and the deep frustrations that drove her to do what she did a bit more now that we’ve made this film.”

Mairéad Farrell: Comhrá nár Chríochnaigh screens on Sunday, 27th July 2014 at 13.00 as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

Martina Durac, Vanessa Gildea and Bríona Nic Dhiarmada will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets for Mairéad Farrell: Comhrá nár Chríochnaigh are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

 

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Ireland on Sunday at the IFI presents new Irish historical drama ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’


1pm April 15th, IFI

IFI Ireland on Sunday presents Desmond Bell’s dramatisation of the life of Frank Ryan (1902–1944), a new Irish drama that provides a sympathetic but searching portrait of a politically complex figure. Ryan, an IRA activist in Ireland, International Brigade Volunteer in Spain, and Nazi collaborator in Berlin, entered an agreement with a Nazi regime which he believed would assist in forging a united Ireland. But the former radical and internationalist paid a heavy price for this pact.

The film raises important questions about collaboration between the IRA and the Nazis in World War II, and opens up debate about Irish neutrality in that war. Featuring a striking lead performance from Dara Devaney, the drama incorporates archive film and Ryan’s original correspondence to create a compelling and textured portrait of the man.

Ireland on Sunday is the IFI’s monthly showcase for new Irish Film, incorporating opportunities for discussion and feedback with the filmmakers. Director Desmond Bell will participate in a post-screening Q&A with Tommy Graham (Editor, History Ireland).

Tickets are available at the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477  or online at www.ifi.ie.

 

Click here for a review of the film

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IFI Ireland on Sunday: Lorg na gCos – Súil Siar ar Mise Éire

IFI Ireland on Sunday presents the World Premiere of Lorg na gCos – Súil Siar ar Mise Éire, Colm Bairéad’s documentary celebration of George Morrison’s landmark Irish film Mise Éire.

1pm Sunday 12th February 2012

More than fifty years on, Lorg na gCos – Súil Siar ar Mise Éire tells the story of Ireland’s most significant historical documentary film and the first wholly Irish language feature, Mise Éire, through the eyes of its director, George Morrison, key creative personnel behind the production and ordinary Irish people who experienced the film upon its theatrical release in 1960.

Tens of thousands of Irish people, including many who had participated in the Easter Rising, thronged cinemas across the country in the early 1960s to see the Gael Linn film which explored a period of intense political activity in Ireland from the 1890s to 1918. For many, it was the first time they had been presented with their own history in visual form. The film was a roaring success, breaking all previous Irish cinema box office records and becoming a key cultural moment in the history of the Irish State.

Directed by Colm Bairéad and produced by Cleona Ní Chrualaoi, Lorg na gCos follows the film’s director, George Morrison, as he retraces the steps he took in the creation of the film and visits many of the locations where the production took shape. Weaving a rich tapestry of archive and location footage with analysis from a wealth of contributors including the only two other surviving members of the Mise Éire production team, Louis Marcus and Catherine O’Brien; relatives of the Easter Rising leaders executed in 1916; and Gael Linn staff, Lorg na gCos paints a vivid social, cultural and psychological portrait of the country into which Mise Éire was released.

Ireland on Sunday is the IFI’s monthly showcase of new Irish film and includes opportunities to engage with filmmakers and producers. Following this premiere screening Colm Bairéad and George Morrison will take part in a post-screening Q&A.

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IFI Ireland on Sunday

IFI Ireland on Sunday presents Living Colour, a new documentary focusing on K.C.A.T, an extraordinary Irish artist collective – screening on Sunday, 31st July  at 12.00

“moments of humour, insight and joy come together to define this uplifting and enlightening piece of cinema and its extraordinary tale of people communicating through art.” Film Ireland

Living Colour is an 83-minute observational documentary film exploring the world of an artists’ collective in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, which focuses on the artists’ abilities instead of their special needs. It is an intimate and often hilarious portrayal of the charming and vibrant characters and, as it takes us farther into their unique world, it throws up questions about the deeply human need to make art.

Living Colour is, in itself, a celebration of what it is to be human. Filmed over a 12 month period in the K.C.A.T studio in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, director Éamon Little gained unique intimate access to the studio and the artists. In this film the audience is taken on a journey into the creative processes of five extraordinary and idiosyncratic artists; Lorna, Karl, Andrew, Declan and Francis, as they create paintings, sculptures and animations in an atmosphere free from ego.

IFI Ireland on Sunday is a monthly programme of screenings which showcases new fiction and documentary works and provides a space for audiences to engage with the filmmakers. Director Éamon Little will participate in a post-screening Q+A with writer/actor Mark O’Halloran.

Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office in person, by phone 01 679 3477, or online at www.ifi.ie

 

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IFI Ireland on Sunday ‘Hold the Passion’

IFI Ireland on Sunday is a monthly series of screenings showcasing new Irish film material that provides and opportunity for the audience to discuss the work with the filmmakers. This Sunday the event will pay tribute to Deirdre O’Connell (1939-2001) with a screening of Hold the Passion.

The documentary contains some extremely rare footage of Deirdre O’Connell on stage as well explaining her actor training. It was directed by Ronan O’Leary and produced by Ann McRory. The event will also include a discussion with the filmmakers and appearances from Michael D. Higgins and Tom Hickey.

Hold the Passion will be screened on the 20th June at 1pm. Go to www.ifi.ie for more details

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IFI Ireland on Sunday

Tonight is Cancelled is screening at 1pm on Sunday 25th April in the IFI as part of IFI Ireland on Sunday. This is an opportunity for Dublin audiences to see the first feature from talented Irish director Brendan Grant. Produced by Fastnet Films, it is the first Irish-Kosovan co-production.

An Irish filmmaker (Mark O’Halloran) travels to battle-scarred Kosovo to tell the love story of a young man kidnapped during the war and the girl he left behind. As he attempts to get his film off the ground, the decision to cast the unwilling lovers as themselves blurs the boundary between reality and fiction. This beautifully elliptical drama, told with great visual flair, marks the debut of a significant new Irish talent.

IFI Ireland on Sunday is the IFI’s monthly programme of screenings which showcases new fiction and documentary works and provides a space for audiences to engage with the filmmakers.

Producer Macdara Kelleher will be present for a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets can be booked at the IFI Box Office, on 01 679 3447, or online here.

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Andrew Legge at IFI

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Irish writer/director Andrew Legge’s work to date is his uncanny ability to recreate the texture and the aesthetic of silent and early sound film, often to great comedic effect. Fresh from a stint at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation Residence, Andrew Legge will take part in a post-screening Q&A.

This programme of his work (1pm Sunday 28th March) will include The Unusual Inventions of Henry Cavendish, a tale of a young inventor and his time machine which seamlessly combines scenes of Dublin shot in 1897 with new material shot on a clockwork 16mm Russian ‘Krasnogorsk’ camera, and The Chronoscope, a story of a female inventor who is kidnapped by the Third Reich after she invents a camera with the power to see into the past.

IFI Ireland on Sunday is the IFI’s monthly programme of screenings which showcases new fiction and documentary works and provides a space for audiences to engage with the filmmakers.

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