The 2nd annual Irish Film Festival launched in Sydney on Thursday 07 until Sunday 10 April, 2016 at Chauvel Cinema, Paddington with a full house..
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 of Diarmuid 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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