Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats

The Stars were out in Regent Street for Irish Film

Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats
Actors Dearbhla Molloy, Dermot Crowley and Elaine Cassidy, who all starred in short films screened on opening night, with fellow actor and Penny Dreadful star Stephen Lord

The opening night of Irish Film Festival London 2015 was at Regent Street Cinema on Weds 18th November, with a screening of “W.B Yeats: No Country For Old Men”. This was followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Maurice Sweeney (The Forgotten Irish, Saving the Titantic), hosted by Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall.

The screening drew interest from all corners of the Irish community in London, from historian Tom McMillan, formerly of the David Whitely Library to poetry enthusiasts Mary McBride and Toby Glynn, who travelled up from Brighton for the event.

Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats
London Rose of Tralee Aisling Hillary with the Irish Embassy’s Nora Delaney.

The London Rose of Tralee joined the Irish Embassy’s newest female member Nora Delaney at the Regent Street venue. Aisling Hillary’s role as the London Rose brings her to many prestigious events, including taking part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade each March.

Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats
Packed out venue – Regent Street Cinema

Ahead of the screening of “WB Yeats: No Country for Old Men”, a selection of shorts were presented to the theatre. These shorts were a part of a Trina Vargo project with the US-Alliance, which aims to teach high school students in the States about the Irish poet. Acclaimed Irish actors Adrian Dunbar, Sarah Bolger, Derbhla Molloy, Dermot Crowley and Elaine Cassidy.

Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats
Director of Irish Film Festival London Kelly O’Connor with actor Adrian Dunbar.

The film focused on Yeats’ latter years and his interest in the occult. It explores the unknown history of Ireland’s most renowned literary geniuses, regarded as the poet laureate of the new nation, William Butler Yeats. Described as a modern interpretation of Yeats’ life, and providing a chance for the general public to reawaken the interest in Yeats, it focuses on the poet’s later work and the themes that inspired him as an ageing man.

The festival website carries this www.entertainment.ie quote: “In looking at Yeats’ later life and work, the film reveals a very different Yeats to the poet we learnt about in school.”

Irish Film Festival London launches with Yeats
Director Maurice Sweeney with Ambassador Dan Mulhall

Ambassador Dan Mulhall was the host for the post screening director’s Q&A. His personal interest in the life and works of WB Yeats has been evident from his strong involvement with the Yeats 2015 celebrations, which has marked the 150 years anniversary of the birth of the poet. You can see more about the year’s Yeats’ activities on the Yeats 2015 website: www.yeats2015.com

The Irish Film Festival London continued through the weekend over 5 days across 7 venues in London. Including features, shorts, documentaries, experimental films, a live music performance and two industry talks.

For the first time in their 5 year existence, the festival this year included and Open Submission process. The festival manager Eibh Collins said “The quality of documentary submissions was very high this year. The choice for us to programme a documentary as our opening night film, and the inclusion of four documentaries in the line-up reflects the importance we’re placing on them this year.”

There was talk of documentaries of such quality, and educational appeal being used in a touring programme of films for Irish centres across the UK.

For more info on the festival go to www.irishfilmfestivallondon.com

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