Preview of Irish Film at the 2019 Cork Film Festival

 

Over 300 films and events are included in the packed 2019 Cork Film Festival programme, with 90% of the features, documentaries and shorts having their first screening in Cork. The festival runs from 7 – 17 November. Tickets are available at www.corkfilmfest.org.

This year a trio of Irish premiere Galas have been announced, with the much-anticipated drama Ordinary Love, starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, having its Irish premiere at the Opening Gala on Thursday, 7 November.  Closing the 11-day festival will be the Irish premiere of new Irish-Belgian drama, The Other Lamb, direct from its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, on Sunday, 17 November. Plus there’s the Irish gala film The Last Right, the debut feature from the very talented Aoife Creghan.

Below we preview all the Irish films screening at this year’s festival.

 

Ordinary Love

DIR: Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn • WRI: Owen McCafferty

Thu, 7th Nov 2019 @ 19:30 • The Everyman Theatre

Joan and Tom  are a long-married couple settled in their ways, enjoying brisk walks at sunset and playful bickering. Then Joan discovers a lump in her breast, which starts a chain of events that threatens to change their relationship completely.

CAST:  Lesley Manville, Liam Neeson

Tickets


Lost Lives

DIR: Dermot Lavery, Michael Hewitt

Fri, 8th Nov @ 18:15 • The Everyman Theatre

Adapted from the book that aims to document the stories of the men, women and children who have died as a result of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Lost Lives is an elegiac, powerful and sadly pertinent film that acknowledges the human cost of 50 years of sectarian conflict and comes at a time when the fragility of the peace process is distressingly evident.

Tickets


Into the West

 DIR: Mike Newell • WRI: Jim Sheridan

Sat, 9th Nov @ 13:00 & Sat 16th Nov @ 18:30 • The Everyman Theatre

The ever-popular tale of two Traveller boys who escape the harsh reality of their grim lives in a Dublin high-rise with the aid of a magical white horse. Papa Reilly  drinks himself into a stupor after the death of his wife. His sons Ossie  and Tito are comforted by the gift of a white stallion, Tír na nÓg, from their grandfather.When their beautiful steed is stolen, they begin a quest to retrieve him and head west, with their father and police in hot pursuit.

CAST: Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, Ciarán Fitzgerald, Rúaidhrí Conroy, David Kelly

Tickets


Irish Shorts 1: Legacies

Sat, 9th Nov 2019 @ 15:30 •  The Gate Cinema Cork City

Bound (Amy Corrigan), Stray (Sinéad O’Loughlin), Cúl an Tí (Stuart Douglas), Pat (Emma Wall), Ruby (Michael Creagh, Peggy and the Grim (Luke Morgan)

Tickets


The Cave 

DIR/WRI: Tom Waller 

Sat, 9th Nov @ 18:15 • The Everyman Theatre

When the Wild Boars soccer team, consisting of 12 schoolboys and their coach, became trapped deep inside a waterlogged cave in northern Thailand during the summer of 2018, the efforts to rescue them drew the concerned attention of the world. In this thrilling, visceral recreation of events, Irish filmmaker Tom Waller tells the story from the perspective of the people who often made selfless decisions as they witnessed young lives at stake.

CAST: Ron Smoorenburg, Lawrence de Stefano, Eoin O’Brien

Tickets


Irish Shorts 2: Daughters

Sun 10th Nov @ 13:00 •  The Gate Cinema Cork City

Moth (Allyn Quigley), Young Mother (John Robert Brown), Chestnuts (Tom Lenihan), Relic (Christy Scoltock), Coming to Terms (Patrick Ketch), 134 (Sarah-Jane Drummey), A White Horse (Shaun O Connor), Ciúnas (Tristan Heanue).


Sweetness in the Belly

DIR: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari • WRI: Laura Phillips

Sun 10th Nov @ 17:45 & Mon 11th Nov @ 15:45 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

Having grown up under the guardianship of a celebrated Sufi master after being abandoned by her wayward hippie parents, Lilly  finds herself in Ethiopia and in love during the final years of Haile Selassie’s reign. As revolutionary fervour erupts in violence, she ships to England, where her status as a white woman sees her favoured before black refugees, though her devout Muslim faith means she is still regarded an outsider. She contributes to building a growing community of migrants while searching for her lost love.

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Wunmi Mosaku

Tickets


Free Radicals

Mon 11th Nov @ 20:45 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

A selection of international experimental filmmaking that includes Meat (Silvio Severino) and Epoch (Kevin McGloughlin).

Tickets


What Time Is Death?

Tue 12th Nov @ 18:00  Triskel Christchurch

After retiring from the music business, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, formerly The KLF, entered the art world as the K Foundation. Following their biggest artistic statement to date (filming the burning of a million pounds) they signed a contract on the bonnet of a Nissan vowing not to mention the burning for 23 years, then promptly disappeared. Sure enough, 23 years later, in 2017, the K Foundation resurfaced with plans to build a ‘People’s Pyramid’ in Liverpool filled with human ashes.

Tickets


Irish Shorts 3: Friends, Families & Other Strangers

Wed 13th Nov @ 15:30 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

Evergreen (Dominic Curran), In the Narrow Shade of a Pen (Taro Madden), Just Fine (Ciarán Hickey), The Owl (Neil Winterlich) Limbo (Matthew McGuigan), The Space Between (Elaine Kennedy). 

Tickets


The Evening Redness in the South

DIR: Colin Hickey

Wed 13th Nov @ 18:00 & Thu 14th Nov @  12:45 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

Amidst images of men at work on building sites, mist rolling over the countryside, gloriously vivid skylines and tenderly reconstructed memories, a narrative of sorts is played out, as the life and loves of an unnamed protagonist (portrayed by Louis Jacob with compelling screen presence) are hinted at.

Tickets


Irish Shorts 4: Finding Their Place

Thu 14th Nov @ 17:00The Gate Cinema Cork City

Kelly (Solène Guichard), No Place (Laura Kavanagh), Rosalyn (Olivia J Middleton), The House Fell (Maeve Stone), Humblebrag (Sinead O’Shea), In Orbit (Katie McNeice), Wishbone (Myrid Carten), Hasta La Vista (Laragh A McCann).

Tickets


The Yellow Bittern

DIR: Alan Gilsenan

Thu 14th Nov @ 18:00  The Gate Cinema Cork City

To mark the tenth anniversary of its original release, Cork Film Festival presents a special screening of The Yellow Bittern, Alan Gilsenan’s remarkable documentary biopic of Liam Clancy. Recounting his life in his own words, Clancy’s personal reflections are insightful and inspirational, constructing a revealing portrait of great candour and honesty. Like his musical work, the film is lyrical and poetic, and a fitting tribute to this great man at the end of his life.

Tickets


Floating Structures

DIR: Adrian Duncan, Feargal Ward

Thu 14th Nov @ 18:15  • Triskel Christchurch

Beginning with the world’s first metal cantilever bridge, which was located in Bavaria, Floating Structures charts a course to Paris where it encounters the visionary engineering work of Ireland’s Peter Rice. Co-directed by visual artist and writer Adrian Duncan and Feargal Ward (The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid), Floating Structures is a flâneur-like quest to consider the gravity-defying mysteries of structural engineering.

Tickets


Irish Shorts 5: It’s No Longer a Journey Down the Road

Fri 15th Nov @ 16:00 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

Lovestruck (Eli Dolliver), Kathleen (Liam O’Neill), Streets of Fury (Aidan McAteer), Leave the Road Behind You (Daniel Butler), HALO (Michael-David McKernan), John Don’t Know Nothin’! (Conor Kehelly), The Dream Report(Jack O’Shea), Something Doesn’t Feel Right (Fergal Costello).

Tickets


The Last Right 

DIR/WRI: Aoife Crehan

Thu 14th Nov @ 20:45 •  The Everyman Theatre

A fateful exchange on a flight from New York to Ireland has complicated consequences for Daniel Murphy.He’s left in charge of a corpse, the body of someone he never knew. He is persuaded to take on the challenge of getting an environmentally friendly cardboard coffin from his family home in Clonakilty to Rathlin Island by his autistic younger brother Louis ) and Mary, a flighty young mortician with her own agenda.

CAST: Michiel Huisman, Samuel Bottomley, Niamh Algar, Brian Cox

Tickets


Irish Shorts 6: Documentary Shorts

Sat 16th Nov @ 12:30 • The Gate Cinema Cork City

Blankets of Hope: Cork Cancer Care Centre (Edvinas Maciulevicius), Outside the Box (Janet Grainger), Postcard from a Crisis (Kathleen Harris, Samuel Meyler), Ramón: Notes from a Beekeeper (Hilary Kennedy), The Last Organist (Paddy McConnell), The Sunny Side Up (Peter Kilmartin), Hydebank (Ross McClean), Recommended Rapper (Caoimhin Coffey), 99 Problems (Ross Killeen), The First was a Boy (Shaun Dunne)

Tickets


Cork on Camera
Sat 16th Nov @ 15:15  Triskel Christchurch

The Irish Film Institute presents a programme of Cork-themed films from collections at the IFI Irish Film Archive. This year’s programme includes ‘Silent Art’ (1958), a portrait of sculptor Séamus Murphy by Oscar-nominated documentarian Louis Marcus; ‘Travels Through Erin’ (1978), a US homage to the Aran jumper taking a trio of models around Cork on a photo shoot; ‘Dark Moon Hollow’ (1972) following an elderly gentleman as he meanders from Roches Point to Gougane Barra in a film directed by then BBC film editor Colin Hill; and tantalising rushes from ‘Car Touring’ (1965), Jim Mulkern’s uncompleted travelogue of two young couples touring the county.

Tickets


Screen Ireland World Premiere Shorts

Sat 16th Nov @ 15:30 The Everyman Theatre

Above the Law (Bryony Dunne), Kalchalka (Gar O’Rourke), Welcome to a Bright White Limbo (Cara Holmes), A Better You) (Eamonn Murphy), Maya (Sophia Tamburrini), Christy (Brendan Canty), Sister This (Claire Byrne), Corporate Monster (Ruairi Robinson), A Cat Called Jam (Lorraine Lordan), The Grass Ceiling (Iseult Howlett).


Best of Cork

Sun 17th Nov @ 13:00 • The Everyman Theatre

Blankets of Hope: Cork Cancer Care Centre (Edvinas Maciulevicius), The Space Between Us (Elaine Kennedy),  Coming to Terms (Patrick Ketch), Stray (Sinéad O’Loughlin), Rosalyn (Olivia J Middleton), A White Horse (Shaun O Connor), Outside the Box (Janet Grainger),  Lovestruck (Eli Dolliver).

Tickets


The Other Lamb

DIR: Małgorzata Szumowska • WRI: Catherine S McMullen

Sun, 17th Nov 2019 @  18:00 • The Everyman Theatre

Hidden away from civilisation, an all-female cult serves its spiritual leader, a man known as Shepherd. Selah has grown into a teenager as part of this self-sufficient community, but as she approaches adulthood, pervasive doubts about her faith inspire dark, bloody visions. As the Shepherd leads his flock on a journey to find a new paradisal retreat, Selah is shocked to learn what her role in the group is to become.

CAST: Michiel Huisman, Raffey Cassidy

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Review of Irish Film @ DIFF 2019: Dub Daze

Dakota Heveron reviews Shane J. Collins’ take on modern Dublin in his comedy-drama feature, Dub Daze

Director Shane J. Collins has hit the ground running with his first feature length film Dub Daze, which premiered at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival on Saturday. There couldn’t have been a better place for it, as it became clear right from the opening scenes that the film was an open and honest love letter to Dublin, written by one of the city’s own.

The film weaves together three discrete but connected narratives of young adults all trying to make a place for themselves in the city, each faced with their own particular obstacles. Dan (Ethan Dillon) and Baz (Sam Lucas Smith) are two friends looking for a way to celebrate their last day of school, but Baz’s recklessness ends up getting them in trouble with a local drug dealer named Petal (Clide Delaney). Sean (Shane Robinson) and Jack (Nigel Brennan) are medical students from Cork looking for a place to stay in Dublin. Sean is quickly accepted by a group of well-off Irish students who make Jack the butt of their ‘fresh off the tractor” jokes, causing Sean to question just where his loyalties lie. Fiona (Leah Moore) has dreams of making it as a musician, but she is forced to contend not only with Dublin’s cutthroat music scene, but also her father’s alcoholism.

It is to the film’s credit that despite the multiple plotlines and numerous characters scattered across its landscape, it manages to avoid becoming confusing or convoluted. The characters are so distinct and well-formed that we as the audience always know exactly who we’re with. This is due in large part to the film’s editing (done by Collins himself), as well as the incredible talent of its cast. There is nothing exaggerated or put-on in the actors’ deliveries; their performances are down to earth and strikingly realistic.

There are moments when the film itself feels like one long session, an unpredictable and turbulent night out in Dublin, punctuated by genuinely poignant moments that emphasize the incredibly three-dimensional emotions and realism of the characters. Scoring this night out is a well-chosen mix of songs largely featuring Irish musicians including Bantum, Majestic Bears, Indian, and This Side Up.

Also central to the film is of course Dublin itself. Dub Daze is clearly a labour of love, and Dublin is the focal point of its affection, the camera lingering just as lovingly on a graffitied wall as it does on the Samuel Beckett Bridge. The film makes a point to bring together its three narratives, connecting the city’s north, south, and center. There is a sense of intimacy in this connectedness, and in the consistent banter and comradery between its characters, painting the picture of a city where, despite its urbanity, ‘everyone knows each other’.

Deadly.

 

Dub Daze screened on Saturday, 23rd February as part of the Dublin International Film Festival (20th February – 3rd March 2019).

 

Shane J. Collins, Writer/Director of ‘Dub Daze’

 

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Strong Irish Line-up @ ADIFF 2017

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The Audi Dublin International Film Festival returns 16th-26th February 2017 with a rich mix of homegrown films and films from across the world accompanied by top international and Irish guest talent across the eleven days and nights of the festival.

This year’s festival includes new Irish films from Jim Sheridan, Emer Reynolds, Aiden Gillen, John Butler, Neasa Ní Chianán, Juanita Wilson and Ken Wardrop alongside the Irish premiere of Maudie, the internationally acclaimed biopic of folk artist Maud Lewis by award-winning Irish director Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy) and starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.

Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture, adapted from the award-winning novel by Sebastian Barry, will receive a Gala Irish Premiere and see ADIFF present a Volta Award to Vanessa Redgrave. The Volta Award is the Festival’s most prestigious honour, reserved for those who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of film.

Top Irish talent Jack Reynor, Cillian Murphy will attend the Audi Gala screening of Ben Wheatley’s new film Free Fire. ADIFF’s new Centrepiece Gala will be Neasa Ní Chianán and David Rane’s In Loco Parentis documentary study of the Headfort School.

Witness film history in the making at one of the many World Premieres at ADIFF17 including Juanita Wilson’s Tomato Red with cast member Anna Friel in attendance; Dennis Bartok’s terrifying hospital horror Nails; and Aiden Gillen and Jamie Thraves’ Pickups that features Gillen playing a semi-fictionalised version of himself, a troubled actor weighing the price of success.

The Arts Council and ADIFF’s Reel Art documentary commissions receive their World Premieres at the Irish Film Institute. Ken Wardrop brings his characteristic warmth and humanity to piano grade exams in The Piano Lesson while John Murray and Traolach Ó Murchú’s Photo City delves into the celluloid history of Rochester, NY.

Rounding up a stellar festival at ADIFF’s  Closing Night Gala is the Irish premiere of Handsome Devil, John Butler’s (The Stag) new comedy-drama set in an Irish boarding school.

 

Tickets are sale online and the digital programme is available to browse and download  at www.diff.ie

Tickets are available by phone on +353 1 687 7974 or in person at DIFF, 13 Ormond Quay.

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ADIFF Irish Film Review: Sing Street

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Ailbhe O’ Reilly sings along to John Carney’s Sing Street, which opened this year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival.

You could be mistaken for thinking that John Carney’s latest film Sing Street is essentially pitched as High School Musical set in Dublin in the ’80s.  Not exactly the premise of a great film, but you would be wrong as the movie is a real gem.

Carney has already gotten some notice for the low budget Once and the more mainstream film Begin Again – both of which I liked, but I believe that Sing Street is his best yet. The cast of mainly unknowns – apart from the lead Cosmo’s parents played by Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy and his brother Jack Reynor (in a truly awful wig!) – rise to the task and give the film a naturalism that is rare in musicals.

The lead Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and his friend Eamon (Mark McKenna) are particularly strong as the film’s Lennon and McCarthy – with some beautiful song writing scenes that are becoming a staple in Carney’s films.

The story follows Cosmo as he is forced to move to an inner city school, Synge Street CBS, when his parents are experiencing money problems. As with all coming-of-age stories, there is of course a girl that Cosmo wants to impress, so he then naively decides to form a band with his school mates in order to woo her.

What makes Sing Street unique and gets the audience on side is that Carney doesn’t forget he is in Dublin in the ’80s, it is unpretentious and the director uses the Irish sense of humour to great effect. There are many laugh out loud moments poking fun at the decade’s style, the fickle lives of teenagers and the awkwardness of adolescent’s love lives.

The film is also more realistic than most musicals as the issues of school bullying, cruel teachers and family problems are all dealt with as part of teenage life.

The film’s soundtrack is brilliant and you will find yourself toe tapping throughout to both the original score and eighties hits.

Sing Street has a great pace and a fantastic climax that will find you leaving the cinema smiling after a truly excellent Irish film. Carney is going from strength to strength and Hollywood is beginning to take notice.

 

 

Sing Street screened on 18th February 2016 as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 18 -28 February) 

Irish films at ADIFF

 

 

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What We Webbed

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Screen Daily takes a look at the Irish Film Industry

A wave of local filmmaking talent, ambitious producers and attractive co-production options are helping Ireland shine on the world stage.

 

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Queen for a Day: Sandra Bernhard Looks Back on The King of Comedy

On April 27, the Tribeca Film Festival (whose founders include Robert. De Niro) showed a newly restored version of  The King of Comedy, which was presented as the festival’s closing-night selection.  Ms. Bernhard spoke to ArtsBeat about her experiences making the film.

 

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A Century of Cinema

An essay by Susan Sontag about the decline of the cinema.

Click on the title to read the read the articles

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'The Guard' is second at the US Box Office!!!….sort of

The Guard's Milkshake

Element Pictures The Guard phenomenal success continues as it comes second at the US Box Office in average revenue per screen in its opening weekend, trouncing blockbuster new releases such as Cowboys & Aliens and The Smurfs.

The Guard took in $80,400 across 4 screens according to www.boxofficemojo.com for an average of $20,100 per screen,  Joe Cornish’s (Joe from comedy duo Adam and Joe) sci-fi comedy Attack the Block also out on limited release in the US this week achieved $130,000 across 8 screen for $16,250 per screen. Topping the average revenue per screen chart this past weekend is The Future directed by Miranda July taking in an impressive $28,200 on its single screen.

All three films put Cowboys & Aliens to shame as it took in a measly $9,653 per screen but a respectable $36,200,000 in total.

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A Response to 'What’s to Love about Irish Film?'

Adam & Paul

Díóg O’Connell responds to Ferdia Mac Anna’s article insisting that there is indeed alot to like about Irish Film.

When the Irish Film Board was re-activated in 1993/94 at the start of the Celtic Tiger years, Ireland had a challenging game of catch-up to play. Unlike most European countries whose film production was supported through public and private funds throughout the twentieth century, Ireland had little resembling a film culture. Many of our European neighbours experienced national movements of political cinema, short lived in many cases but having far reaching impacts as they hit a nerve at a critical historical moment (German Expressionism, Italian Neorealism, French New wave etc.), an experience denied to Ireland due to an absence of wider infrastructure. The state ran scared of film culture for fear of offending the Catholic Church, failing to put any supports in place for indigenous film while at the same time, eager to support big Hollywood productions so as not to offend the Americans.

The response to film culture since the foundation of the state was split between censorship on the one hand, to that of creaming off any economic benefit of off-shore productions, regardless of how these films portrayed the Irish. Aside from sporadic film activity in the 1970s and 1980s by notable directors such as Joe Comerford, Pat Murphy, Cathal Black, Bob Quinn and Thaddeus O’Sullivan, there was little to call Irish cinema.

With the reactivation of the Irish Film Board, following the successes of Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan on the international stage, Irish cinema was given a badly needed infusion. To expect, in a few short years, Irish film to do what other national cinemas managed in over a century, suggests a misplaced ambition that got us into serious trouble elsewhere. Instead, assessing Irish film over the past fifteen years as part of a developing film culture may answer some questions about its well being.

Distinctive narrative phases can be identified reflecting on the one hand the organic development and evolution of an industry forced to play catch up with other national cinemas, alongside the actively shaped approach, ideologically inspired and managed through policy decisions at Film Board level. The first phase of film up until the late 1990s saw the familiar and traditional themes retold. After a hiatus of seven years when the first Film Board had been cut off at the throat, a number of national themes, sometimes referred to as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the Catholic Church, rural Ireland and the Troubles, needed to work their way through the national system (Broken Harvest, Maurice O’Callaghan 1994; Bogwoman, Tom Collins 1997; Nothing Personal, Thaddeus O’Sullivan 1995; A Further Gesture, Robert Dorhhelm 1996; Some Mother’s Son, Terry Gorge 1996; The Boxer, Jim Sheridan 1998), not really a surprise given the vacuum of film production in Ireland since 1987. Representations of repressed sexuality (Circle of Friends, Pat O’Connor 1995, Gold in the Streets, Liz Gill 1996) begin to fizzle out at the end of this phase particularly evident when compared with the types of films to emerge subsequently (About Adam, Gerry Stembridge, 2001; When Brendan met Trudy, Kieron J. Walsh 2001; Goldfish Memory, Liz Gill, 2003), signalling a shift, post-1998 in the direction of more progressive themes, situated mainly in an urban milieu. This second phase, following changes to IFB script development policy, experienced a dominant trend towards genre production – romantic comedies, thrillers and horror movies (Dead Meat, Conor McMahon 2004; Boy Eats Girl, Stephen Bradley 2005; Perrier’s Bounty, Ian Fitzgibbon 2009) as Irish filmmakers looked towards more mainstream international films as models.

Remember the thrill attached to seeing an Irish film in the cinema alongside other genre productions, films that didn’t feature green fields and lashings of rain as the dominant iconography. Maybe they weren’t the most polished of narrative forms, but they certainly gave a breath of fresh air to the perceived nature of ‘Irish film’.

2001 is documented as a record year for Irish films with nine films being released in Irish cinemas. Clarence Pictures, Buena Vista International and Abbey Pictures accounted for the release of eight of the films funded by the Board. While the shift towards script development may account partly for increased exhibition rates, the launch of Clarence Pictures and Abbey Pictures (Irish distribution companies) and the development of Buena Vista International focussing on Irish productions at this time meant increased opportunities for Irish films to progress towards box office release and DVD/video distribution.

Clearly film production doesn’t occur in a vacuum and to develop as a cultural form, space, time and support systems are required. Since 2005, the scripts produced have been more eclectic in style, less generically formulaic and often displays an auteur stamp (Adam & Paul, Lenny Abrahamson 2004; Garage, Lenny Abrahamson 2007; Once, John Carney 2007; His & Hers, Ken Wardrop 2009; Savage, Brendan Muldowney 2009), and produced on very low budgets. These films have not only struck a nerve with the audience but are generally critically acclaimed, not just in niche film festival auditoria.

I reckon there’s a lot to like about Irish film and I suspect if the pattern continues, there will be more. The diversity across films such as I Went Down (Paddy Breathnach, 1997), How Harry Became a Tree (Goran Paskaljevic, 2001), Nora (Pat Murphy, 2000), The Most Fertile Man in Ireland (Dudi Appleton, 1999), Disco Pigs (Kirsten Sheridan, 2001) and A Man of No Importance (Suri Krishnamma, 1994) to name but a few reveals an assorted mix. There was a time when a universal groan would echo around the lecture hall when you mentioned Irish film. Now students of the subject have their favourites and their allergies but they are not indifferent. And because they have grown up with seeing mainstream and genre Irish film in their local cinemas, there is a renewed curiosity about older Irish films, often concerned with the ‘Holy Trinity’. Rather than seeing ‘Irish film’ as one size that fits all, when viewed up close there is a diversity and range warranting a second look.

Díóg O’Connell

Díóg O’Connell is a lecturer in Film & Media Studies at IADT, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. She completed her PhD in 2005 entitled ‘Narrative Strategies in Contemporary Irish Cinema 1993-2003’ and has published articles and critical reviews on this period. Her book, New Irish Storytellers: Narrative Strategies in Film is published by Intellect, 2010.

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Issue 114 – The Rise and Rise of the Irish Short

An Gaeilgeoir Nocht
An Gaeilgeoir Nocht

Rebecca Kemp takes a look at the Irish language’s most prolific calling card.

The short form has experienced a renaissance of late, with festivals giving it greater attention and the press more column inches. This is due in no small way to the increased accessibility of the genre, cheaper and easier to use equipment, wider exhibition opportunities presented by the internet, and the ability to download onto portable devices. As a champion of the low budget and experimental, the Irish film industry is producing more films in this form than ever before. An Irish short even won an Oscar in 2006, Martin McDonagh’s Six Shooter.

Cheap and quick
With the short form appealing to most filmmakers’ modest budgets and audiences’ ever decreasing attention span, making shorts in the Irish language has never been more popular. One could go so far as to say that the Irish-language short has eclipsed its feature equivalent in gaining international recognition and in becoming the primary medium in which Irish-language films are currently being made. Shorts are responsible for pushing the genre further in terms of subject matter and production, and have become an important platform on which to expose the Irish language to a non-Gaelic speaking audience.

Does this mark a new dawn for Irish filmmakers, or is it still a case of filling out a form and making a film that fulfils funding criteria? Do critics have a point that many films are made that have no basis in the Irish language, but are simply script translations done to qualify for funding? Others may rightly complain that many films are made by people who don’t understand Irish and disregard the nuances of regional dialects and colloquialisms.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 114.

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