Sydney’s Second Annual Irish Film Festival Wraps With ‘Lost In The Living’

 

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Glen Falkenstein interviews Lost in the Living director Robert Manson at Sydney’s Irish Film Festival.

Sydney’s second annual Irish Film Festival concluded  at The Chauvel Cinema in Sydney’s Paddington following four days of screenings, closing with the Australian premiere of Lost In The Living, which chronicles an Irish musician’s (Tadgh Murphy from Vikings and Black Sails) weekend in Berlin, a whirlwind romance, and an introduction to the city’s unique nightlife. The film’s director, Robert Manson, flew out from Dublin for the Australian premiere, and sat down with Glen Falkenstein to discuss the film and the growth of Irish cinema. “This is a love letter to Berlin,” says Manson. “I created this project from memories, from experiences, from friends and other people that I met, from observations, chance happenings, things I read, and things that I overheard on trains. I wanted to put it all together in one constructed piece so that I could take it out of my brain and then maybe go to another city and do something else or just go and explore another culture, but Berlin just didn’t let me go.”

A low-budget production, Manson sometimes had to adopt guerrilla filmmaking tactics to get the film made at the authentic Berlin locations that he wanted, shooting quickly and completing principal photography in a matter of weeks. “There’s a lot of space, and great big city streets and parks that aren’t crowded, so you can find a little corner to shoot in,” the director says. “Small independent films don’t really get shot there. I was told to just go and shoot it, and just do it. I was told to just get this one permission slip which is a general permit for having a camera in the city. It’s 100 euros, and then you just go and do it. No one will even notice; so we did, and nobody did. They have a no camera policy in clubs, so we shot in one of the dirtiest little clubs called The Golden Gate. When we were asking for permission, everyone said that there was no chance in hell that we could get to film there, but we told them what we were doing, and they liked the idea and they liked the project, so they invited us to come and shoot it. Authenticity is a big thing in Berlin, so choosing locations for clubs and pubs and things like that is very important.”

With Irish filmmakers expanding their projects to a number of countries including Australia, Manson also shared his thoughts on the development of Irish cinema and the prospects for follow-ups to Lost In The Living. “The diaspora of Ireland is so gigantic,” he says. “People are moving around and sharing their stories. They’re working on songs or projects, and they’re writing theatre, dance, film, and everything together. There are those little Irish communities in places like Sydney and in Berlin, where there’s a huge community now. Those old notions of what Ireland used to be are changing. When I fly into Sydney, I get a very fresh opinion of Ireland, because it’s from people who’ve been here for a long time, and it’s a twist on what I would recognise from being there or living there; it’s a new perspective, with new ideas. It always helps something resonate or grow, and it’s exciting to film in Ireland at the minute or in many of the cities that Irish people inhabit.

“I want to do a trilogy of Irish perspectives from and in Berlin, so Dublin and Berlin – for the first one, Lost in The Living, it’s a newcomer’s touristic perspective with fresh eyes in a new place and culture, there’s alienation, new ideas and possibilities, there’s a freshness of a new city. The second film is about living in the city a number of years, getting into the culture, bedding down and finding a new home and then how that is reflected in being away from Ireland for a long period of time, and then the third part would be returning to Ireland after being in Berlin for a long time.”

Supported by The Irish Film Board and the Consulate-General of Ireland in Sydney, this year’s festival featured a special focus on the centenary of the 1916 revolution and its continuing effects, including 2016: The Irish Rebellion, a documentary narrated by Liam Neeson. Opening with Glassland, focused on the world of human trafficking and starring Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction) and Toni Collette, the festival also featured a showing of the Irish animation, Song Of The Sea, which screened at last year’s Sydney Film Festival.

 

A version of this article originally appeared on FilmInk

Glen writes film reviews, features, commentary and covers local festivals and events. Glen lives in Sydney. He tweets @GlenFalkenstein

The Irish Film Festival took place in Sydney 7  – 10 April 2016

You can read Ruth Hogan’s report from the festival here

 

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Irish Film Festival Returns to Sydney

 

The 2nd annual Irish Film Festival  to provide a window into Irish culture. The Festival will open in Sydney on Thursday 07 until Sunday 10 April, 2016. The Festival screens at the Chauvel Cinema, Paddington and will present eight feature films and three shorts.

 

From action packed mob chases, to weekend love affairs, and films to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising, the Irish Film Festival presents audiences with the very best of contemporary Irish culture. Ireland has a rich history of struggle for social justice and the films programmed in the 2016 Festival uncover rich and rare stories that capture the spirit of the Emerald Isle.

 

Festival Director, Dr Enda Murray says “The films in the festival shine a light on contemporary Ireland. The big story in Ireland this year is the commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising which saw Ireland strike for its freedom from British colonial rule. It’s easy to see some parallels with Australia and the debate around the impact of a republic. Why was it such a big deal in Ireland? You’ll have to come and see the films!”

 

The opening night celebrations include a screening of Glassland (Thur 07 April). Glassland stars Australia’s own Toni Collette as an alcoholic mother whose addiction pushes her son into the underground world of human trafficking. The award winning film has been praised for its two leads’ bold and understated performances which saw Collete nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award and co-star Jack Reynor taking out the World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Acting at Sundance Film Festival.

 

The opening night gala screening will also include a pre-screening reception hosted by The Consulate of Ireland. Irish food, drink and music are guaranteed to flow, providing movie goers at the Chauvel with a taste of Ireland in Sydney.

 

Other films on the bill include the landmark documentary 1916: The Irish Rebellion (Fri 08 April), which examines the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and the subsequent events that led to the establishment of an independent Irish State and indirectly to the breakup of the British Empire. Narrated by acclaimed actor and Irishman, Liam Neeson, this is a fresh look at the events and their significance in Irish and international history.

 

Continuing the theme of the Easter Rising, After ’16 (Fri 08 April) presents 9 short films in a range of styles from animation to live action, drama and documentaries that capture the filmmakers’ responses to the events that took place in 1916. Older Than Ireland(Sun 10 April), is a touching documentary that looks into the lives of centenarians, people who were born in the dawn of Irish Independence and the immense social, political and technological change they encountered throughout their lives.

 

Something that will have the little one’s bursting with delight, the Festival has programmed their first family film with and the critically acclaimed Irish folk animation Song of the Sea (Sat 9 April). The film follows the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse, the last seal-child, who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea.

 

For a modern turn, Pursuit (Sat 09 April), takes audiences on a high speed chase with a contemporary take on the Irish legend ofDiarmuid and Gráinne. This road-movie employs all the great aspects of a truly engaging thriller – pursuit of power, class, love and the chance to start again.

 

Relationships are also a focus of the Festival with Lost in the Living (Sun 10 April), a complicated love story set in Berlin. The director of Lost in the Living, Robert Manson will introduce his film in person as well as attend the opening night of the Festival. Game of Thrones’Aidan Gillen stars in You’re Ugly Too (Sat 09 April), which won Best Irish First Feature at the 2015 Galway Film Fleadh and is a touching take on modern family relationships.

 

Three stand out shorts also compliment the program. Two of the shorts explore aspects of being Irish and in Australia. @Home looks at Melbourne’s ageing Irish community using social media to close the distance between Ireland and Australia while Follow the Rainbow to Ireland follows the Sydney Queer Irish group as they prepare to march in the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras ahead of the Irish marriage equality referendum. A third short, Ballsy, is an uplifting documentary on a cancer sufferer’s search for meaning in the world.

 

The Irish Film Festival provides an essential window onto contemporary Irish culture for all Australians. Whether you’re of Irish heritage or just have an affection for the Emerald Isle and its people, the Irish Film Festival is a must.

 

 

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