Irish Screen America


Adapted from the 2008 award-winning novel by Sebastian Barry, the latest film from director Jim Sheridan, The Secret Scripture will open the 2017 edition of Irish Screen America.

Irish Screen America is a bi-coastal film and media festival that showcases some of the best new films from Ireland each year in Los Angeles and New York. The festival will run from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th of September at the Aero Cinematheque in Los Angeles and Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st of October at NYU’s Cantor Film Center in New York.

The Secret Scripture is the hidden memoir of Roseanne McNulty, played by Vanessa Redgrave, confined to a Roscommon mental hospital for fifty years, and revealing the history of her passionate yet tortured life, and of the religious and political upheavals in Ireland during the 1920s and ’30s. As well as the Oscar-winning Redgrave, the film stars Rooney Mara (A Ghost Story, Carol), rising star Jack Reynor (Free Fire, Sing Street), and Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Tudors). Eric Bana and Theo James also star. The Secret Scripture is a powerful story of love, loss, and belated redemption.

Director of Irish Screen America, Niall McKay said: “It is our pleasure to welcome back Jim Sheridan, the original pioneer of Irish cinema in the U.S., to our festival which strives to showcase all of the talent that exists in the trail which he blazed.” Irish Screen America supports and guides Irish media-makers by showcasing their work and fostering partnerships in the two largest cities for the entertainment industry in the United States – New York and Los Angeles. The festival hosts screenings, industry panels, discussions and masterclasses.

The full line-up for both the Los Angeles and New York legs of the Irish Screen America festival will be revealed at a launch party at 62 Merrion Square in Dublin on Monday, September 4th at 5:30pm.

The Secret Scripture premieres on Thursday, September 21st at 7:30pm in The Linwood Dunn Theater, at the Academy’s Pickford Center in Los Angeles and on Friday, September 29th at 7:30pm at the NYU Cantor Film Center in New York. The film will be preceded by an opening night reception and followed by a Q+A with director Jim Sheridan.

For tickets and further information on Irish Screen America, see






‘Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope’ Premieres @ Irish Screen America



The Irish Screen America festival, which takes place from Sept 22nd to Sept 25th in Los Angeles and from Sept 30th to Oct 2nd in New York, will host the New York Premiere of RTÉ’s new female-centred, darkly comic drama series, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.


Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope follows two Cork twenty-somethings, Aisling and Danielle, whose relationship and lifestyle starts to spiral out of control. Fuelled by mad nights out and bolstered by a sense of entitlement, these girls are running away from the reality that’s hurtling toward them.


The series stars up-and-comers Seána Kerslake, fresh off the critically acclaimed premiere of A Date for Mad Mary, and Nika McGuigan (Philomena, Traders) as Aisling and Danielle. Amy Huberman leads a strong supporting cast including Norma Sheahan (Moone Boy) and Steve Blount (Moone Boy).


Produced for RTÉ2 by Deadpan Pictures, with support from the BAI Sound and Vision Fund and with Content Media handling international sales, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, is written by Stefanie Preissner and produced by Ailish McElmeel. The six-part series is directed by Cathy Brady (E4’s Glue) who is no stranger to Irish Screen America, having given a Director’s Masterclass at last year’s festival.


RTÉ executive producer Comedy, Music & Talent Development, Justin Healy said: “We are delighted that Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope will have its international premiere at Irish Screen America this September. Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope is a funny, engaging and realistic drama aiming to capture what life is really like for Irish women as they navigate their way through all the drinking, dating and drama of their 20s. It brings a unique Irish sensibility to universal themes that we are sure will resonate with Irish and international audiences.”


Director of Irish Screen America, Niall McKay added: “We consider it the responsibility of Irish Screen America to highlight the best new work from the Irish audio-visual sector in the U.S. and Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope is exemplary of the kind of creative producing that is a model for all film and television these days. And it’s an added bonus that the creative triumvirate of writer, producer and director at the heart of this fresh new series all happen to be women.”


Irish Screen America supports and guides Irish media-makers by showcasing their work and fostering partnerships in the two largest cities for the entertainment industry in the United States – New York and Los Angeles. The festival hosts screenings, industry panels, discussions and masterclasses.


The first two episodes of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, will premiere in LA on Saturday September 24th at 9pm and in New York on Saturday October 1st at 8pm. Director Cathy Brady and producer Ailish McElmeel will be in attendance.

For further information on this year’s festival, including ticket info and further program announcements, see




Report: Irish Screen America New York

Irish Screen America Glucksman Ireland House Oct. 2, 2015 Photo: James Higgins

Executive Director and Curator of Irish Screen America Niall McKay

Matthew Carlson was at the New York strand of Irish Screen America, which showcases the best in contemporary Irish media.

New York is full of cultural enclaves – a microcosm of America itself, a melting pot of culture, identity, and language, all mingling in the streets beneath glass towers and vertical architecture. What brings these cultures together is the arts, and this year, Irish Screen America (ISA), a bi-coastal film festival celebrating Irish cinema, saw dramas, comedies, documentaries, narratives, animation, television, video games and interactive media come together. I was at the east coast edition at the NYU Cantor Film Center in New York, where I saw some fantastic, criminally underseen films and met with some lovely people who worked selflessly to make this experience possible.

Niall McKay, an Emmy-winning writer/director, is the festival’s Executive Director and Curator. When we spoke, he expressed his passion for filmmaking, filmmakers, and the curating of films, as well as the actual work involved in building a community that could support Irish film in the United States. “We do this by showing their work and connecting them with industry professionals here in New York and Los Angeles.” According to Niall, the industry parties in LA (at USC) and New York (at the Consulate General’s beautiful penthouse) helped visiting filmmakers connect with industry professionals such as distributors, sales agents and managers, while celebratory days such as “local filmmaker day” bolstered a sense of thriving community between visiting filmmakers and citizens of Irish descent who call New York / LA their home.


There were plenty of highlights: Traders [above], by Rachel Moriarty and Peter Murphy, and starring John Bradley, about ordinary people who kill for money in a dystopian world where killing is allowed and organized according to a strict code. Cathy Brady led a directing masterclass and, later, showcased a haunting short, Wasted, about a group of stoners in a tense pressure-cooker as disagreements boil to the surface on a camping trip. But this writer’s favourite piece came in the form of Martin’s Life, a trio of animated vignettes, directed by Liam Hallihan, in which a boy and his parents have a series of elliptical conversations that focus on age-gaps and an inability to relate (in one episode, Martin watches Game of Thrones, but his dad can’t grasp the title of the show or the names of the actors due to a hearing problem.) These minute-long vignettes are infinitely relatable for anyone who’s ever had a parent ask what they’re watching or listening to.

Ultimately, Niall’s festival showed a focus on community, a love of films and their makers, and a genuine interest in helping emerging artists and directors with their careers. Festivals such as these are crucial not only for networking as a director but for keeping the communal aspect of film-going alive – a practice so commonly eschewed in our world of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and torrents. It’s an exciting time for Irish storytellers – quoth the curator, “I’ve seen a renaissance of Irish filmmakers and artists taking the production of film, television, animation, web-series and games to a new level.”

As for me, as a director and filmgoer, I hope that the bar is never set – and from what I saw, this ideal is evinced at ISA New York.


Irish Screen America New York took place 2 – 4 October 2015




Irish Screen America Launches & Festivals


Irish Screen America (ISA), a new organization formed to seek out and promote influential and emerging Irish talent to the U.S. and showcase the very best of contemporary Irish film, TV, animation, video games and interactive media, has been launched by Niall McKay, Executive Director and Curator.


ISA’s mandate includes helping new talent find markets and finance, assisting Irish games companies, studios, post-production, special effects houses and production companies enter the U.S. market, facilitating the distribution and exhibition of select Irish films and building a cooperative network of U.S. based Irish media professionals.
McKay is a New York-based Emmy award-winning independent producer and director who hails from Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow, Ireland, and who created this new venture out of the multi city film festivals that he previously founded and produced in New York (Irish Film New York) and San Francisco, and co-founded in Los Angeles.


Commenting on why he founded ISA, McKay said, “What I’ve seen in the last few years is a renaissance of Irish filmmakers and artists taking the production of film, television, animation, web series and games to a new level. It’s an exciting time for ISA to not only showcase that work, but to build networks here in the US for even more production and collaboration.“


The flagship event of ISA will be a film festival roadshow taking place annually in the fall in Los Angeles and New York featuring recent critically-acclaimed Irish feature films and documentaries, New Irish Talent Showcases (shorts, web shows, animation and games), a selection of filmmaker Q&A’s, master classes, industry panel discussions and filmmaker receptions.
The organization receives funding support from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the development agency for the Irish film and television industry, among other government and corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and its consultancy services.

Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) said “We welcome the launch of Irish Screen America and we are delighted that the essential work already accomplished by Irish Film New York to support, showcase and celebrate Irish films and filmmaking talent will now extend to Los Angeles. We look forward to working with Irish Screen America in an effort to continue this work and build new networks, partnerships and audiences for Irish film.”

ISA/LA Festival opens on Friday, September 25 in Los Angeles at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts and ISA/NY Festival opens on Friday, October 2 in New York at NYU’s vibrant, state-of-the-art Cantor Film Center.  Screenings will continue over the course of the weekend in the respective venues.

Featuring a stylistically diverse slate, attendees in Los Angeles and New York will have the opportunity to meet, among other guests, Irish writer/directors Rachel Moriarty and Peter Murphy whose confident, timely, black thriller Traders, about the extreme lengths people will go to hang onto wealth and status, opens the festivals in each city for the film’s US premiere. The film stars John Bradley (Game of Thrones) and Killian Scott (“Calvary”).

Other highlights will include the West Coast premiere of veteran documentary filmmaker Daisy Asquith’s deeply personal “After the Dance,” the emotionally powerful Sundance Award-winning, IFTA-nominated “Glassland,” starring Toni Collette, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter from writer/director Gerard Barrett and the US Premiere of Frank Berry’s IFTA-nominated “I Used to Live Here,” about the poignant troubles of urban teenagers.

The program in Los Angeles will also include a panel discussion entitled “Stories from the Field: Three Irish Film Directors in Hollywood” with directors Ruairi Robinson (“Last Day on Mars”), Ciaran Foy (“Sinister 2”) and Gary Shore (“Dracula Untold”).  All three directors share a similar career trajectory to Hollywood.  In addition, there will be master classes from Academy Award® nominated screenwriter, Naomi Sheridan in Los Angeles and European Academy winning director Cathy Brady in New York.

Additional festival guests will include animator Liam Hallihan and video games storyteller Llaura McGee.

Commenting on the festival program, McKay said, “It’s a great privilege to celebrate work that I love but I feel especially fortunate to be bringing a bright new generation of Irish talent to the US stage.  Short filmmakers Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy’s “Traders” is a tense and humorous thriller, which has been critically acclaimed.  Cathy Brady is an Award-winning short filmmaker who is embarking on her first feature this year; animator Liam Hallihan’s hilarious cartoons have 2.5 million hits on YouTube and he will receive his international festival premiere.  Video games storyteller Llaura McGee combines the beauty of digital art with the genius of storytelling in her vivid video game “Curtain” about two women in a Glasgow punk band”.


“Most of these filmmakers and artists are established in their respective field but have had little or no exposure in the United States.  All good film festivals build community and that’s what I believe we’ve been fortunate enough to achieve, to bring together a community of world class talent, to show their work and to have fun.”

For more information on both LA and NY visit the official website of Irish Screen America