The Irish Film Institute today unveiled its plans for 2016 across its core areas of exhibition, preservation and education with new programming events, seasons, and partnerships alongside firm festival favourites and key film strands, and the launch of the IFI Player and a new annual schools programme.
The Irish Film Institute has announced its plans for 2016, including key programming events focusing on the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, Cathal Black and Edith Head; partnerships with the Science Gallery and Irish Architectural Foundation; a celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy; a season of folk horror films; 1916 Centenary commemorations; the launch of the IFI Player; a new schools year-long programme, and the return of its festival and event favourites throughout the year.
IFI Director, Ross Keane, said: “We’re delighted to unveil the IFI’s plans for 2016 across our three core areas of exhibition, preservation and education. Our cinema programming plans will see many new initiatives and events, with highlights including a focus on Irish filmmaker Cathal Black; an Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective; a folk horror film season; a collaboration with Science Gallery, Dublin; a Living Shakespeare event to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary; and Appraising the Uprising, reflecting the evolution of Ireland as an independent state; as well as the return of its hugely popular festivals: IFI Family Festival, IFI Documentary Festival, IFI Horrorthon and the IFI French Film Festival. This year will also see the launch of the IFI Player from the IFI Irish Film Archive, providing access to key collections and curated programmes online, and a new year-long schools programme from IFI Education, to be launched in September.”
Under the IFI’s preservation remit, this year its Digital Preservation and Access Strategy activities will be taken a step further when the IFI Irish Film Archive launches the IFI Player, a new digital platform to allow members of the public to access parts of its film collection and curated programmes online. This project will see, over time, the digitisation of the Archive’s vast and varied collection (over 30,000 cans of film), making it more readily accessible to interested users and viewers, and ensuring broadest possible access to Ireland’s precious moving image heritage.
Throughout 2016 and ’17, the IFI Irish Film Archive is also undertaking a major project to conserve, preserve, digitise and make accessible a large collection of 35mm film and television advertisements made by a number of prolific Irish advertising agencies, including Wilson Hartnell, Birchalls, Hunters and Ark advertising during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Aided by a BAI grant to fund this essential work, the collection will provide a unique window into Irish culture and society through its commercials which the Archive will later make available to programme makers, researchers, academics and the public.
IFI Education will launch a new schools programme in September 2016, for the first time running for the full academic year, up until summer 2017 and also launch a Short Course for Junior Cycle. Following the sell-out success of 2015’s Evening Courses, there will be two new courses in 2016, encouraging comprehensive critical engagement with film over a number of weeks. The first (Feb 23rd – Mar 29th) will focus on films in which a vision of an Irish state is portrayed, entitled Altered State, and including Steve McQueen’s Hunger, John Boorman’s The Tiger’s Tail and Joe Comerford’s Down the Corner. Each of the six films featured will be followed by a discussion with guests, including directors John Boorman, Joe Comerford, Carmel Winters and Donal Foreman, and academics Dr. Roddy Flynn and Dr. Ruth Barton. The second course will examine Russian cinema, from the ongoing legacy of Eisenstein through to post-Soviet cinema, and will take place in autumn. The IFI Education department will also embark on a body of research and a pilot programme for after-school film activities and film clubs for young people across the country, kindly supported by the Arts Council.
As part of its exhibition and programming plans, key festivals and events will return to the IFI throughout 2016. The IFI’s four core festivals will return, presenting world and Irish film premieres, guests, masterclasses and Q&As to all types of audiences, from genre enthusiasts to families. The IFI Family Festival will run over a three-day weekend in late June (June 24th – 26th), offering children and families a range of titles from around the world, as well as a number of workshops and film-related events. TheIFI Documentary Festival (September 22nd – 25th) will present new Irish features and shorts alongside major award winners from international documentary festivals, as well as panel discussions and debates, and masterclasses from international documentarians. IFI Horrorthon (October 27th – 31st), the IFI’s oldest festival, will make its blood-curdling return for the 19th time for five days of terrifying new horror releases, premieres and classics, with special guests. The 17th year of the IFI French Film Festival (November 16th – 27th) will feature director focuses, a strand on French women directors, and an exploration of French Cinema from the 1980s, all presented alongside the main programme of premieres and classics over 12 days.
The IFI programme includes a unique and extraordinary breadth of specialist seasons and one-off events designed to bring films from around the world to its audiences, with a focus this year on events with filmmakers and special guests in attendance. Special seasons this year will include a spotlight on science fiction, folk horror, Shakespeare and costume design.
Taking the theme of How the Cinema of the Past has Imagined Our Present, the IFI will collaborate with Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin in presenting a series of repertory sci-fi/genre film screenings at the IFI, all set before (or shortly after) 2016. Screening in April, the IFI will programme relevant titles that all speak to a social, political or geographical issue as part of their speculative futuristic narrative, with each title associated with a particular topic, such as climate change and population growth. Science Gallery Dublin will introduce each screening, taking the measure of the accuracy of each film’s predictions, and will investigate how prescient these films were in their futurology. This month-long celebration of film and science will incorporate panel discussions, pop-up events at the IFI and activity for all ages.
To celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, the IFI will create a programme of events showing how his work has been interpreted for contemporary cinema in imaginative ways. Living Shakespeare – Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare at the IFI will take place in June and is in conjunction with the British Council Shakespeare Lives project.
In summer 2016 the IFI will focus on the Folk Horror Tradition, presenting a season of folk horror titles, prompted by the release of The Witch. The term ‘folk horror’ has recently been coined to unite those films that share an interest in pagan rituals, witchcraft, the countryside and its hidden, ancient past, and the term ‘folk horror’ gained increased caché with the BBC documentary series A History of Horror. The films to be featured will be announced nearer the time.
Later in the year, a season of classic repertory titles that showcase the remarkable work of American costume designer Edith Head, who won a record eight Academy Awards for her stunning achievements in design, will take place. Throughout her long career she designed for stars such as Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Grace Kelly, Shirley MacLaine, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor.
Key filmmakers given a focus in 2016 will start with the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Cathal Black in February, including an interview with the director on February 13th to discuss his work. Starting out as part of Ireland’s ‘First Wave’ of independent filmmakers in the 1970s, Black has produced a powerful and formally eclectic body of work, including Wheels, Our Boys, Pigs, Korea, Learning Gravity/The Undertaking, Love & Rage, and his latest film, Butterfly. All seven of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s feature films have been newly digitised, and to celebrate this, the IFI will screen the entire back catalogue, one of the most important in world cinema, and will give a week’s run to Mirror (1975), in March.
The award-winning and twice Oscar-nominated writer, Sir David Hare will visit the IFI for an interview with Seán Rocks for RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena before a screening of one of his most highly acclaimed works for screen, The Hours, on February 20th, in collaboration with the Audi Dublin International Film Festival (ADIFF). The world premieres of Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s Further Beyond and Claire Dix’s We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty will also take place at the IFI in association with ADIFF under the Reel Art Scheme (an initiative of the Arts Council, Filmbase and ADIFF) on February 19th and 22nd respectively.
At this time of internationally recognised excellence in Irish cinema, national productions will remain front and centre in our programme this year. Upcoming releases will include: Mark Cousins’ I am Belfast; John Carney’s Sing Street; Rebecca Daly’s Mammal;Paddy Breathnach’s Viva; and Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture.
The IFI will mark the 1916 Centenary with ‘Appraising the Uprising’, a broad-ranging series of film programmes to be presented in the IFI in Temple Bar, and at national and international venues, which reflect the evolution of Ireland as an independent state. During March, at its venue, the IFI will present a programme of 1916-focused films, including an Irish Destiny ciné-concert with live piano accompaniment from Micheál Ó Súilleabháin; The Plough and the Stars (John Ford); Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean); a 20th anniversary release screening of Michael Collins; a programme of 1916 newsreels presented with live music and on Easter Monday, in association with RTÉ’s Reflecting the Revolution Programme, the IFI presents Jack Cardiff’s Seán O’Casey biopic,Young Cassidy, and After ’16, new shorts from the Irish Film Board/Bord Scannáin na hÉireann. Also in March, the free Archive at Lunchtime strand, Reviewing the Revolution, will comprise of short 1916-related films, many from the 50th anniversary in 1966.
IFI National will present Mise Éire, Ryan’s Daughter, Irish Destiny, and The Plough and the Stars at venues around the country, including Limerick, Wicklow and Galway, and will co-host a series of lectures and screenings with the Irish Architectural Foundation, Irish Georgian Society and Irish Architectural Archive. Working with partners throughout Ireland to provide audiences with access to the IFI’s programmes and resources, including special programmes from the IFI Irish Film Archive, IFI Local Films for Local People will bring tailor-made programmes of films from the Archive to arts centres throughout Ireland for the third year. The six programmes/venues for 2016 are: On a Clare Day (Glór Arts Centre, Co. Clare in June), Lovely Leitrim (The Dock, Co. Leitrim in September), Cork on Film (Cork Film Festival in October), More Galway Glimpses (Galway Film Fleadh in July), Roscrea Programme (Damer House Gallery, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary in July), and Down Waterford Way (Celtic Media Festival, Dungarvan in April).
On April 15th, the fourth annual focus on Irish Film, IFI Spotlight, will include a series of panel discussions and events on the future of Irish film and challenges facing the industry. The programme will incorporate a review of 2015 film production and will consider audience and critical response to output. Later in the year, the IFI will also partner with the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund for the third time with a day of screenings and talks exploring the topic of ethics in documentary filmmaking.
Abroad, IFI International, with the support of Culture Ireland, will facilitate over 100 programmes of Irish film globally throughout 2016. These programmes will include curated 1916 Centenary programmes which will be presented in Boston, Buenos Aires, Serbia, Moscow, Rome, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, and Canberra. Other programmes include Irish emigrant silent films with live music at Cuala 2016 in New York; a programme at the Kennedy Center in Washington that will include film of Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in June 1963 previously unseen in the US; a major programme of Irish/British film presented in collaboration with Irish Festival London, BFI and St. Mary’s College; and events in Canada, South America and throughout Europe.
Alongside a new monthly strand entitled Irish Focus, which presents new Irish work in the presence of the filmmaker, many of the IFI’s audiences’ favourite strands will also continue, including: The Hangover Lounge – a Sunday afternoon presentation of a classic with an optional brunch in the IFI Café Bar; Rock ‘n’ Roll Cinema – music biopics and documentaries alongside events with musicians, speakers and guest DJs;The Bigger Picture – a revered film from world cinema history once a month with an introduction from a filmmaker, film critic or academic who will aim to justify its importance in the canon; IFI Docs, presenting some of the best, new, Irish and international documentaries, alongside an occasional programme of classics; Feast Your Eyes, a monthly pairing of a new release with a specially devised main course menu inspired by the film to be enjoyed after in the IFI Café Bar; and regular presentations in collaboration with AEMI (Artist and Experimental Moving Image), formerly the Experimental Film Club. Wild Strawberries, its bi-monthly film club for the over 55s, presents a programme of recent features and classics, and for Bealtaine in May 2016, the IFI will partner with Age and Opportunity to develop a programme of events around their chosen Bealtaine theme, First Citizens of Ireland 2016.
In early July, the IFI will once again throw open its doors for its annual Open Day – a full day of FREE films representing the breadth of the IFI programme and providing access for audience members to see behind the scenes at the IFI, learning more about its preservation activities and vaults, and getting hands-on experience at workshops coordinated by IFI Education.
Responding to audience feedback, the IFI will refresh its Membership Scheme to improve benefits and services, while introducing a new Friends’ scheme, giving supporters greater access to the IFI’s work and a host of great benefits. Building on the longstanding engagement of IFI Members, IFI Friends will offer supporters a closer relationship with the IFI and its work, directly supporting its extensive exhibition, preservation and education activities, and ensuring that it continues to deliver the highest quality programme to the widest possible audience, in Dublin, nationwide and internationally. Full details of these schemes will be announced at a later date.