Call For: Submissions to Pitch @ Breaking Through The Lens


Breaking Through The Lens is a pitching initiative helping connect female-identifying directors to top film investors. The program is focused on practical actions and is a direct response to what the organisers, themselves female filmmakers, have encountered as barriers to their progress – access to finance.

Breaking Through The Lens is currently inviting submissions to pitch at its 2020 event. 10 film projects will be selected and presented at an invite-only event at the Cannes Film Festival to an audience of Financiers, Sales Agents and Distributors. The guestlist is carefully chosen to include a selection of the industry’s most respected private investors and companies such as Lionsgate, The Fyzz, Headgear and Film 4.

The program is a grassroots movement and focused on measurable actions to overcome the greatest barrier to women in in the industry – access to finance. This is a practical resource for under-served filmmakers, one that is multi-cultural, intersectional and results-driven.

10 successful applicants will get the chance to pitch at our Cannes event. All participants will then be immediately connected via email to funders that have registered interest in their project, and every effort will be taken to help them close the deal.

Last year’s event was a huge success, with a standing-room-only audience of over 100, and all projects receiving significant interest. Watch the video, which gives a sense of the event and impact.

“In an industry that has favoured the Male Voice for so long…Breaking Through The Lens is changing that Dynamic.” – Liza Foreman, Cannes Market News, 2019

Further information and application can be found at

This project is open to female-identifying and nonbinary directors with a feature film project in late-stage development. There is no restriction in terms of genre, but the project must have:

1. A strong, finished script in the case of narrative (or detailed beat sheet in the case of documentaries).
2. A producer with feature film experience attached.
3. Strong visual treatment, which includes a Director’s Statement and artistic references.
4. A full budget and finance plan ready should you be selected.

  • consider favourably projects that have:

5. Key crew and/or cast attached.
6. Initial finance raised.

This is about finding films with strong artist merit, that are in a position to receive finance and go into production within the next 12 months. Films that have already participated in or applied to the programme can submit again, as long as their project has moved forward significantly.

Submission Deadline: 10th February, 2020
Shortlist Notification: 28th February, 2020
Final Notification: No later than 25th March 2020


Chiara Viale, Writer / Director of ‘The New Music’

Chiara Viale, Writer / Director of 'The New Music'


Chiara Viale’s feature debut, The New Music, produced in association with Young Parkinson’s Ireland, screens at the IFI on Wednesday, 29th January 2020 at 18.30, followed by a Q&A with Chiara and Gary Boyle of Young Parkinson’s Ireland.

Adrian (Cilléin McEvoy) is a talented pianist with a promising career ahead of him. Playing music is the only thing he lives for until his world falls apart when he is diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. Afraid of the implications of the illness and of failing the expectations of his family, Adrian runs away from home, destination Dublin.  He finds a room in a shared apartment with punk band members Will (Jack Fenton), David (Patrick O’Brien) and Jodie (Martina Babisova), known collectively as The Cellmates.  Adrian gradually bonds with them as their rebellious lifestyle and punchy music provides lively distraction from his troubles.

Gemma Creagh talked to Chiara about her musical drama revolving around the life of a pianist with Young Onset Parkinson’s and the punk band that changes his life.


Can you tell me how you got involved in the world of film? What’s your background/interests?

Since I was a child I always wrote stories and I’ve been fascinated by cinema. I didn’t have a TV growing up, so going out to watch films on the big screen was a huge deal for me and my siblings. I believe that my love for cinema as an art form comes from that excitement, that respect and the magical feeling of the lights going off before the start of a film.

Although writing has been a part of me since I can remember, I didn’t make a clear connection between the ‘moving images’ in my head and filmmaking until my twenties, when I started experimenting with screenwriting. In 2015, I moved to Ireland and I joined the Dublin Filmmakers Collective, a group who organises filmmaking challenges and encourages everyone from first-time actors/crew to professionals to create short films. In this context, I developed the confidence to move forward with the language of screenwriting and I directed my first short films.

Beside cinema, my main interests are literature and music. I graduated in English as a Foreign Language and Literature with a thesis on Oscar Wilde and music is a vital part of my creative process.


Where did you get your inspiration from for The New Music?

I wanted to tell the story of someone who’s life is turned upside down by external events and they’re now forced to face this change and re-define themselves. This is something that happens all the time around us and I wanted to explore the process of finding ourselves again, which doesn’t mean going back to who we were, because that’s impossible, but rather discover and learn to love who we have become. As I mentioned previously, music is very important to me and I always wanted to make a film about musicians, so the skeleton of the story was formed around a pianist who develops a condition which affects his ability to play his instrument. It was then, through my research, that I came across Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. I didn’t know this condition existed and I was surprised and upset that so little is known about it, so I decided to use this film as a way to raise awareness around this condition.

What was the writing process like?

I wrote The New Music very quickly and it was initially meant to be a 20-page short film which I then developed into a feature. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the work I put into writing the script and I listened to a lot of punk music for inspiration, especially Fugazi and contemporary punk rock bands like The Smith Street Band, The Flatliners and Captain, We’re Sinking. The relationship with Young Parkinson’s Ireland was also crucial to this process, as they read the script and gave me their input on the portrayal of Young Onset Parkinson’s in the story.


How did you find the talent?

One of my favourite things about The New Music is how everyone involved always worked as a group of friends and the great chemistry between us. Myself and the Co-Producer/ DOP Philip Kidd had met at Kino Dublin the previous year and we knew Cilléin Mc Evoy, Patrick O’Brien and Martina Babisova from previous projects. We did casting for the role of Will (interpreted by Jack Fenton), Adrian’s Mother (Paula McGlinchey), Young Adrian (Devlin O’Brien) and other minor roles, but the whole process has been smooth and we immediately clicked with each other. Filming has been a really fun and enjoyable experience.

How long did each stage of the process take?

We worked on pre-production from April to June 2017 and then we filmed through the Summer. Principal photography was finished at the end of September 2017. Post-production lasted until August 2019, including pick-ups and filming the necessary b-roll for the film. The New Music premiered at IndieCork in October last year.


What has the response been at screenings?

IndieCork has been a fantastic experience and the film was very well received by public and critics alike. People laughed a lot throughout the film, which has been the most rewarding thing for me. The New Music is about Young Onset Parkinson’s, which is a tragedy in the life of the people who get diagnosed, their families and their friends. To be able to approach an issue such as this and still feel that the audience had a good time and left the cinema feeling uplifted and with a positive feeling about life is all I wanted to achieve with this film.


Book Tickets 

You can follow The New Music on



You Tube

Chiara Viale is an Italian-born writer, director and producer based in Ireland. After obtaining a degree in English as Foreign Language and Literature in Milan, she went on studying screenwriting in Dublin and began making independent films. Since then she has written, directed and taken part in numerous short films such as Be Frank (2017), Clear The Air (2018) and Clown (2019). She is also co-founder of the Dublin based production company Built To Fail Productions.



Review: 1917


DIR: Sam Mendes• WRI: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns • DOP: Roger Deakins • ED: Lee Smith • DES: Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins • PRO: Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Brian Oliver, Jayne-Ann Tenggren • MUS: Thomas Newman • DES: Dennis Gassner • CAST: George McKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Andrew Scott

Two British soldiers are tasked with crossing no man’s land in WWI to deliver a message that could save hundreds of lives. The film presents this entire mission as one nearly unbroken, continuous shot. This presentation is so central to the film that it deserves a bit of discussion. 

Imparting the illusion of a continuous shot over a 2-hour movie is an achievement on its own. The illusion is quite effective and allows you to travel with these men throughout the entirety of their journey, which breeds a sense of intimacy between viewer and character. It helps that the acting and set design are universally superb, meaning that the environment and characters remain continually engaging as the camera lingers on them. However, the continued use of long shots can be a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to generating a sense of authenticity. On one hand, much like in real life, there’s no opportunity to cut away or jump ahead in time, lending a horrible authenticity in the context of a war film where we must sit with characters through every step of their encounters with abject horrors, creating an uncomfortable empathy with people in nearly unimaginable situations which wouldn’t be as powerfully felt if the film were more conventional in its filmic approach to this material. On the other hand, such long takes have a tendency to lay bare the elaborate choreography necessary to make them work. Actors fight, sprint, and converse in settings of magnificent beauty and horror, and the camera always finds just the right way to capture the most important part of each scene. This film is therefore a truly impressive balletic dance between actor and camera and I often found myself in awe of this choreography that the one-shot style simultaneously necessitates and, accidentally or not, emphasizes. As the shots linger on, it becomes increasingly obvious just how precise the movie is in making sure actors hit their marks and that the camera is in just the right place, focusing on just the right things, at just the right time, which unfortunately strips away much of the illusion that anything we’re seeing on screen has much real-world spontaneity. That does hurt a film like this where some of its effect relies on a sense of authenticity, of being in the trenches with these men. It starts to give the sense that you, the viewer, are in the safe hands of a very skilled director, but safety is not really conducive to feeling immersed in a battlefield narrative.

This bit of authenticity isn’t traded away for nothing though. That the film almost never cuts allows it to powerfully deliver on its most important emotional and thematic throughlines. This is a film that is intimately concerned with what motivation and repression are necessary to keep a person pushing forward in extreme circumstances. What can drive an otherwise normal person to run towards certain trauma and probable death, and what must they quickly put out-of-mind if they are to have the strength to keep running? The film can examine this theme so powerfully and in such a nuanced way precisely because we can see how these motivations subtly shift over the course of the film. We see every step of these characters reacting to their setting, a setting which smoothly transitions from beauty to horror and back around again. We therefore see not only these extremes of character motivation and of setting, but also what happens in the transition between extremes. There is an emotional authenticity here then because we do not just cut from important character moment to important character moment or from cause directly to effect, but instead see these characters react to, reflect on, and alter their behaviour within their situation in real time, which generates a fascinatingly nuanced form of environmental and character evolution. It helps as well that Sam Mendes’ directing and Roger Deakins’ cinematography so expertly lead us through and keep us engaged in every step of the emotional journey of these characters.

I suppose it’s up to each viewer whether or not this trade-off is worth it. For me, it was, ultimately. By the end, I was quite caught up in this film whose format brings about its biggest faults, but also emphasizes its towering strengths.

Sean O’Rourke

118′ 44″
16 (see IFCO for details)

1917 is released 10th January 2020

1917 – Official Website



A Girl from Mogadishu @ St Brigid’s Film Festival


A Girl from Mogadishu continues its journey at Irish Film London.

The Irish Film London’s 10th Anniversary year kicks off with the St Brigid’s Day Film Festival at Regent St Cinema on Sunday 2nd February

The St Brigid’s Film Festival returns for 2020, showcasing some of the finest work of Irish women filmmakers, from tender, compelling personal animated stories to moving international drama.

Female directors, producers and writers are responsible for some of the country’s finest film and TV offerings, and have helped chart, cinematically, the cultural and societal changes that have created the modern, progressive Ireland of today.

The festival’s main feature, screening Sunday 2nd February at 7.30pm, is the London Premiere of A Girl from Mogadishu, a powerful drama based on the true story of global FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) activist and proud Irish citizen Ifrah Ahmed.

The film stars Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder, Birth of a Nation) as Ifrah, who, in 2006 was trafficked to Ireland while trying to flee war-torn Somalia. During her application process for refugee status, a medical examination revealed her to be a victim of childhood FGM. This practice was relatively unknown to Irish doctors at the time, and so Ifrah found herself having to explain.

The film’s writer and director Mary McGuckian will attend a post-screening Q&A, joined by Bonnie Greer OBE and Dr. Comfort Momoh CBE and hosted by acclaimed activist, filmmaker and writer Dr. Leyla Hussein OBE.

Mary said: “It’s an absolute honour that Irish Film London has chosen to celebrate St Brigid’s Day with a screening honouring a modern day Irish heroine, Ifrah Ahmed, as she continues to follow fearlessly in the footsteps of our patron saint of women.

“Divine knitting is clearly contributing to a confluence of timing as the London premiere kicks off just days before the UN International Day for the elimination of FGM when the film will be screened at numerous events around the world with the launch of its global impact campaign, facilitating screenings of the film as a call for action.”

A Girl from Mogadishu also stars Martha Cango Antonio (Black) and Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner, Captain Phillips), Somali icon, Maryam Mursal, as well as Irish actors Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Stanley Townsend (Finding Joy) and Irish singer Sallay Matu Garnett (AKA Loah).

Kelly O’Connor, Founder and Programming Director at Irish Film London said: “The Brigid’s Day Festival provides an opportunity to elevate incredible women and give them a proper platform. Last year our main feature was about boxer Katie Taylor, this year its Ifrah Ahmed. Two women changing Ireland in ways we could not have imagined, even one generation ago. And it’s brilliant for us to be able to share their stories, and those of so many other Irish women, with our audience in London through the medium of film”

The film festival is part of the Irish Embassy in London’s annual St. Brigid’s Day Festival, which also includes events taking place in London locations including the Irish Embassy, the London Irish Centre and the Irish Cultural Centre. St Brigid is a Patron Saint of Ireland, alongside the better-known St Patrick, and her saints day is now celebrated by women and communities across the globe.

Tickets are available from
More info is available from
To support the campaign to end FGM, follow the hashtag #EndFGM on Twitter for more information and useful links.

Schedule of events: Sunday 2nd February 2020:
5pm – 6.45pm: She Made This Programme of Shorts by Irish Women
7.30pm-9.30pm: London Premiere – A Girl from Mogadishu (110 mins, rated 15)
9.30pm – 10pm: Q&A with Mary McGuckian and Bonnie Greer, hosted by Dr. Leyla Hussein

Irish Film London online:
Facebook: @irishfilmfestivallondon
Twitter& Instagram: @irishfilmlondon

Further info:

Irish Film LondonIFL is a not for profit organisation, which champions Irish film, TV and animation across the UK. IFL celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Their patrons include Colin Farrell, Lenny Abrahamson, Ros Hubbard and Moe Dunford.
Irish Film London will also be running the St. Patrick’s Day Film Festival 13th – 15th March 2020.
For more information on the wider St. Brigid’s Day festival, which runs 30th Jan – 3rd Feb, visit:

IFL is supported by the Emigrant Support Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, Culture Ireland, Screen Ireland, the Irish Film Institute, the Ireland Funds of Great Britain and the Irish Youth Foundation.

A Girl from Mogadishu and Mary McGuckian
A Girl from Mogadishu will be released across the island of Ireland from April 3rd following a charity premiere in aid of Ifrah Foundation on March 26th and other UK dates will follow.

Mary McGuckian has been producing, writing and directing independent feature films for over twenty years and is an Ifrah Foundation Board member. This film marks her twelfth independent auteur film. Her films have been presented at festivals worldwide both in and out of competition including at Sundance and Tribeca in the US, Locarno and Venice in Europe, and Edinburgh, London and Galway in her home countries.

Ifrah Foundation
Ifrah Foundation was founded in 2010 by Ifrah Ahmed, an Irish citizen originally from Somalia. Ifrah Foundation is a charity registered in both Ireland and in Somalia. Its mission is the United Nations SDG of Zero Tolerance and Global Elimination of the practice of FGM/C, with a focus on Somalia.



Preview of Irish Films @ Dublin International Film Festival 2020


The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (26 February – 8th March) returns for its 2020 edition, bringing with it 12 days of the best of  world cinema to Dublin alongside an exciting range of new Irish films. You can see the full programme here.

Below we preview the Irish films on offer.



DIR: Lorcan Finnegan • WRI: Garret Shanley, Lorcan Finnegan

A sci-fi suspense thriller, steeped in satire on suburbia and parenthood. A young couple looking for a starter home. Persuaded by a strange real estate agent, they decide to visit a brand-new development of homes on the outskirts of the city. The picture-perfect estate laid out under a sunny sky is attractive, but the couple gradually start to realise they are trapped in a scenario of nightmarish proportions. The estate appears to expand and all efforts to escape bring them back to the same house – then a baby boy appears.

CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg

Filmmakers in attendance.



DIR: Tom Sullivan • WRI: Tom Sullivan, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin

Told in the Irish language, and set on the eve of The Great Hunger, Arract (meaning Monster) tells of a fisherman who takes in a stranger on the request of a priest. Events that follow lead to tragic personal struggles, but hope may come in the form of a young girl who needs his help.

CAST: Dónall Ó Healaí, Michael McElhatton,Saise Ní Chuinn

Filmmakers in attendance.


Broken Law

DIR/WRI:  Paddy Slattery

28th Feb @ 20.45, Cineworld

A respected Garda finds his loyalties tested to the absolute limit in this crime thriller which tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law.

CAST: Ally Ni Chairain, Gary Lydon, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Graham Earley, John Connors, Ryan Lincoln, Tristan Heanue

Filmmakers in attendance. 


Innocent Boy

DIR: John Connors • WRI: John Connors, Tiernan Williams

An all-Traveller cast stars in this drama about a young boy who uses the power of his imagination to cope with some tough realities in his life. Jack lost his mum at a young age, has a hearing impairment and is misunderstood and bullied at school. But joy and escape come in the fantasy world he has created with his best friend and beloved mare, Queenie. Innocent Boy was the winner of the 2019 Virgin Media Discovers Competition, chosen from over 600 submissions. Virgin Media Discovers is a short film competition to discover and support the very best filmmakers in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Rose Plays Julie

DIR/WRI: Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor

A veterinary student who has a loving relationship with her adoptive parents but is determined to track down her birth mother – and now has a name and number. Initially rejected, she is undaunted, even if it means uncovering troubling truths.

CAST: Aiden Gillen, Ann Skelly, Orla Brady

Filmmakers in attendance.


Screen Ireland Shorts #1

A selection of Screen Ireland shorts curated by Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.


New York Our Time

DIR: Vivienne Dick

Celebrated filmmaker and artist Vivienne Dick weaves a personal and philosophical documentary remembering 1970s New York in its heyday for bohemian artists and musicians. Featuring contributions from many of her contemporaries at that time, the film also contrasts the “No Wave” movement with contemporary culture amid present-day concerns.

Filmmakers in attendance.



DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic

Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Violet Gibson

DIR: Barrie Dowdall • WRI: Barrie Dowdall, Siobhán Lynam

The extraordinary true story of the Irish woman who shot Mussolini is brought to life in Barrie Dowdall’s documentary. Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, shot the dictator at point-blank range as she faced a Fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the enormous personal price she paid.

CAST: Olwen Fouéré, Paraic Cullen, Susan Barrett, Laura Kelly

Filmmakers in attendance.


Calm With Horses

DIR:  Nick Rowland • WRI: Joseph Murtagh.

Set in rural Ireland, it tells the story of exboxer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, who has become a feared enforcer for powerful local drug-dealing family the Devers. He’s also trying to be a good and supportive dad to his five-year-old son, Jack, who has autism. Already torn between criminal dealings and family obligations, Arm’s loyalties are truly tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Anne Devlin

DIR/WRI: Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy’s groundbreaking, remastered drama about the woman commonly known as Robert Emmet’s housekeeper feels timely in the ongoing conversation about forgotten women in Irish history. Brid Brennan shines as Devlin, a woman of principles who refuses to be broken or betray her beliefs amid temptation, punishment and great suffering.

CAST: Bosco Hogan, Brid Brennen, Des McAleer

Pat Murphy in attendance



DIR:  Peter Mackie Burns • WRI: Mark O’Halloran

CAST: Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
Filmmakers in attendance.


Windmill Lane

DIR: Alan Moloney

Director Alan Moloney’s film shows how a grimy warehouse in an inconsequential part of Dublin’s docklands became one of Ireland’s most important cultural cornerstones. Windmill Lane would become a mecca for music and the arts, with its output inspiring many at a time of remarkable cultural and social change in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Sea Fever

DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman

A young marine biology student is struggling with life among the closely-knit crew of a fishing trawler. But when many of them are struck down by a strange and lethal infection, they must work together if they are to survive.

CAT: Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Hermione Corfield

Neasa Hardiman in attendance.



DIR: Phyllida Lloyd • WRI: Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell

The story of Sandra who has parted ways with her possessive and domineering ex-partner. Sandra sets out to rebuild her life from scratch in order to provide a happy and peaceful home for her two young daughters.

But she finds herself struggling to fight back against a shattered housing system in the movie, which is set in and was filmed in Dublin. Undaunted, she sets about building her own place to call home, as she is determined to rebuild her and her family’s lives.

CAST: Clare Dunne, Ian Lloyd-Anderson, Conleth Hill, Harriet Walter.



Screening: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari with Live Score @ St Ann’s Church,

Homebeat presents a special centenary screening of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari on 26th February in Dublin’s St Ann’s Church with a new score performed live by Adrian Crowley, Sean Mac Erlaine, Matthew Nolan, Barry Adamson (Magazine / Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) with live processing by Neil O’Connor.

Celebrate one of the most iconic masterpieces in cinema history; Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari shook filmgoers worldwide when it premiered in Berlin on 26th February 1920. It changed the direction of the art form like no other film has since. Now presented in a definitive restoration, the film’s chilling, radically expressionist vision is set to grip viewers again.

At a local carnival in a small German town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding…

Incalculably influential, the film’s nightmarishly jagged sets, sinister atmospheric and psychological emphasis left an immediate impact in its wake (horror, film noir, and gothic cinema would all be shaped directly by it).

Introduced by Dr Piotr Sadowski and presented in partnership with DBS Faculty of Film and Creative Media.

Date: 26th February 2020

Tickets: €20 from

Time: 7pm / 730pm show

Venue: St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin 2


A Celebration of the Life and Works of Ireland’s Late Great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibín @ Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London

On Saturday February 8th & 9th February 2020, The Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London presents a celebration of the life and works Of  Ireland’s late great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibín.

Niall Tóibín Ireland’s great actor and comedian passed away in November 2019. During his long career, spanning over six decades Tóibín appeared in more than 30 feature films. Among them, Ryan’s Daughter, Murphy’s Stroke, The Ballroom of Romance, Eat the Peach, Far and Away (in which he played opposite Tom Cruise), Veronica Guerin, Caught in a Free State, The Clinic and Bob Quinn’s’ ‘Poitin’.  As a stage actor the range of his work was vast and included unforgettable performances in Irish theatres as well as some of the most important theatres in London and New York. From Beckett, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill to embodying Brendan Behan in multiple productions at The Abbey and on Broadway. Niall Tóibín was capable of great intensity and complexity as an actor, but he was also hugely entertaining. His wicked glint of devilment, his gift for character observation and his ear for accents have seen his many ‘one- man shows’ garner praise by audiences all over the world. He did a great line in priests, from the formidable parish priest Fr Frank MacAnally in Ballykissangel, to the psychopathic Fr Geraldo in ‘Rat’ and the gentle cleric in ‘Brideshead Revisited’. He was hugely loved and respected by all who worked with him. Upon hearing about Niall’s death, the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said “His contribution to Irish theatre was a unique one, in both the Irish Language and English. The depth of interpretation that he brought to a wide variety of characters showed a very deep intellectual understanding and, above all, sensitivity to the nuance of Irish life. To the latter he brought a distinctive voice which made him a much-loved interpreter of Irish life and its challenges’.

In order to honour and pay tribute to Niall Tóibín, The Irish Cultural Centre London presents this unique season of films which brings to the screen some of Niall’s most magical and most powerful performances.  As part of the season the ICC will present the UK Premiere of the documentary ‘Niall Tóibín – Everyman’. There will be a Q&A with the director of the film Brian Reddin. We will also have rare screenings of ‘Eat the Peach’, ’Murphy’s Stroke’ ‘A Pint with Brendan Behan’ and Bob Quinn’s ‘Poitín’. There will also be a special gathering of some of Niall’s friends, colleagues and members of his family, who will share remembrances and anecdotes about his extraordinary career.

See the full programme below:

Saturday February 8th     


‘Murphy’s Stroke’ (Feature Film / Drama) Directed by Frank Cvitanovich

To launch this special tribute weekend The Irish Cultural Centre presents a Free Screening of this acclaimed, entertaining and much-loved feature film starring Niall Tóibín.   A businessman concocts a horse racing scam that involves passing off an inexperienced horse as a race winner to rig the betting odds. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Niall Tóibín and Tony Doyle.



Poitín (A Film/ Drama, in the Irish Language.)  

Directed by Bob Quinn.  Written by Colm Bairéad.  To pay tribute to Tóibín’s love for the Irish language, the ICC presents this special film which was in fact the very first feature film ever made in The Irish Language

Produced by Cinegael.    

A sometimes hilarious, but fundamentally grim  story about two poteen agents, Labhrás (Donal McCann) and Sleamhnan (Niall Tóibín), who steal their confiscated goods back from the Gardaí and cheat  their elderly poteen-maker, Micíl (Cyril Cusack) out  of his share of the money. Poitín made history in Connemara as the first feature film ever to be made in the Irish Language. Set against a desolate background Quinn’s raw and grim depiction of Irish rural life and living generated outrage when it was first screened in 1979. Images of stupidity and cruelty dominate this defiantly unsentimental film that, even today, retains its power to act as a riposte to idealisations of Ireland.

 Tickets £8.00 (65 mins) Ireland 1979:    


UK Premiere:  Niall Tóibín – EVERYMAN – (Documentary)  

Directed by Brain Reddin.  Dearg Films (2019)

Ireland’s great actor and comedian Niall Tóibín passed away on 13th November 2019, just eight days shy of his 90th birthday. This documentary celebrates his long life and career which spanned seven decades, entertaining us with characters and stories. 

In this intimate and often hilarious documentary, Niall’s daughters begin the task of documenting and archiving the huge collection of movie and theatrical memorabilia which Niall had collected over his long career. As they look back over these memories, the documentary celebrates Niall’s life and career, through a series of talking heads from fans and colleagues. What emerges is a poignant and funny story of a man who has managed to excel in every field of Irish entertainment . The film gives an insight into what made him so popular and a look at the lasting legacy he left behind. The film includes interviews with Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Rea and Jim Sheridan. 

This Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the Film Director Brian Reddin

Tickets £8.00 (60 mins) Ireland 2019. 

DAY 2 

Sunday February 9th  


‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ – Directed by Bergette Pierre – Produced by Godfrey Graham

 ‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ is a one man show from 1970 starring Niall Tóibín as Brendan Behan. Tóibín was known for his portrayal of Behan, starring in ‘Borstal Boy’ many times in The Abbey Theatre and on Broadway for which he won a Tony Award for his portrayal.  This is a rare chance to see this wonderful one man show from 1970 where Niall Tóibín plays Brendan Behan, as only he can.

Tickets £8.00 Length 1 hr



A Gathering of Some Friends and Colleagues of Niall Tóibin – ‘Remembering Tóibín The Man’ 

We are gathering friends and colleagues and some members of Niall’s family, among them his daughter Sighle.  This event is currently in planning –If anyone has a memory or story to share about Niall, please do get in touch and we will see if it can be included; 

Contact Rosalind Scanlon –                                      – Free Event. 



‘Eat the Peach’ Directed by Peter Ormrod.  (Samson Films) Feature film / Drama

In 1984, inspired by Elvis Presley’s motorcycle antics in the film Roustabout and a visit to Dublin’s Funderland, two unemployed Irish brothers-in-law built a 40-foot cylindrical Wall of Death in their backyard.  RTÉ News reporter Peter Ormrod covered their story and was so enthralled that he decided to make a feature film about it. ‘Eat the Peach’ is a wryly comic tale of eccentricity and determination set in an Ireland of high unemployment and emigration. It is populated by entirely likeable and textured characters: the dreamers, Vinny (Stephen Brennan) and Arthur (Eamon Morrissey); longsuffering wife, Nora (Catherine Byrne); and the fake-American, Boots (Niall Tóibín). 

‘Eat the Peach’ was voted as ‘one of the top 50 Irish films you must see’. The Irish Independent. 

Starts 7.30pm Tickets £8.00 (93 MINS,) IRELAND, 1986, 


This Special Tribute to Niall Tóibín has been curated by Sé Merry Doyle (Loopline Films) and Rosalind Scanlon – (For Irish Cultural Centre.)


Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith Blacks Road W6 9DT

Book Tickets;    020 85638232



Irish Film Review: Horrible Creature

Irene Falvey attended an IFI screening of Horrible Creature, Áine Stapleton’s film based on the life of Lucia Joyce between 1915 and 1950.

Áine Stapleton’s film Horrible Creature featured at the IFI as part of the First Fortnight festival on 8th January.  The feature is the second in Áine’s trilogy of films which depict the life of Lucia Joyce, James Joyce’s daughter who was a talented dancer. Lucia’s life was considerably altered by her time spent in and out of psychiatric care across Europe from the early 1930s onwards. Horrible Creature was a pertinent choice for the festival as it explores both creativity and issues surrounding mental health.

A stunning visual experience, Horrible Creature focuses on Lucia’s life from 1915-1950, providing a glimpse into Lucia’s childhood, her years as a successful dancer and her experiences of mental asylums across Europe. The narrative is told through highly interpretative and experimental dance to evoke an understanding of Lucia’s emotions. Alongside dance sequences, there are snippets of edited extracts from Lucia’s diaries and letters, providing the audience with brief yet illustrative glimpses into Lucia’s life and mental state. The chosen techniques of dance and carefully crafted extracts steers Horrible Creature away from a straightforward recounting; instead it feels as though we are going through Lucia’s experiences alongside her.  

To tell the story of Lucia Joyce’s life through the medium of dance gives us a clearer idea of who Lucia was, the movements manage to fill in the gaps of this important person’s life. The dancing is far more than just dance; it is expression, it is the outpouring of her story. The dance sequences are designed as a dialogue, representing everything Lucia could have possibly been experiencing and wanted to express but couldn’t.  

The location choices play a significant role within this depiction of Lucia’s life. Filmed across various locations in Switzerland, the natures scenes that DOP Will Humphris’ capture are breath-taking. Locations chosen include snow-covered Swiss mountains, clear lakes and hillside chapels. To contrast the natural landscapes a school, a hospital and a library room are also featured. These visually arresting landscapes and buildings/rooms add an extra symbolic quality to the dance performances. The locations switch between wide open spaces and confined spaces. Perhaps this could be interpreted to reveal the contrasts in Lucia’s life. The sprawling and open nature scenes represent how expansive Lucia’s career could potentially have been. To contrast this, the confined spaces, such as schools and hospitals, represent a closing in, a lack of freedom, spaces in which she could not express herself through dance. In particular, there is one shot of one of the dancers wedged into a fireplace. The effect of this makes us think of the talented dancer who wanted to achieve equal creative success to her father; yet her confinement to psychiatric care rendered her unable to perform which was suffocating and entrapping. 

Horrible Creature manages to bring to life the story of person who has been overshadowed. Not only is a very worthy story being told, it is also being done so with a highly creative vision. Horrible Creature acts as a meditation on how we imagine Lucia would have felt. While the film principally consists of dance sequences, the composed snippets of dialogue provide a revelatory window into Lucia’s life. We are provided with insights from her school days, the friendships of her youth, her family, her love life and her career. What Horrible Creature provides is a stylised interpretation of the emotional experiences which may have underpinned the highs and lows of Lucia’s life. The delicately nuanced yet powerfully visceral choreography ensures that this feature respects and represents Lucia’s life, her struggles and her ambitions. Overall the film relies more so on expression than documentation; it reveals the suffering Lucia must have faced while evocatively and effectively employing dance to paint a picture of Lucia’s mental state.  


Horrible Creature screened at the Irish Film Institute on 8th January 2020.



Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Horrible Creature’