St. Patrick’s film festival in London to celebrate diversity

Photo: Noel Mullen

The modern face of Ireland will be celebrated at this year’s St. Patrick’s Film Festival in London.

Inspired by London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘London is Open campaign, the festival, presented by Irish Film London, which forms part of London’s official St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade, will bring together “a collection of films celebrating outsiders, mavericks and the delightfully unique”.

“This year is set to be a real turning point for the UK, and against this backdrop we’re proud to be putting the notion of inclusion front and centre, reminding Irish people here that they are loved, championed and that they have a voice,” said Kelly O’Connor, Irish Film London Founder.

“The programme reflects the modern Ireland that we are all so incredibly proud to be a part of, especially within in the current global climate.”

Events for all ages will be held over the course of the weekend, with the main Festival Programme being shown at the Regent Street Cinema, just a two-minute walk from Oxford Circus tube station.

The festival programme commences on Friday 15th March at Regent Street Cinema with a collection of short films from Ireland, including Hugh O’Connor’s beautiful animation The Overcoat, which was voiced by Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy.

The shorts programme also includes Ireland’s first ever vertical dance film Walls of Limerick, a statement on the psychological effects that harsh political borders have on people.

The experimental short, which features versatile performers blending the worlds of dance and aerial dance, explores notions of barriers, borders and breaking loose.

On Saturday, Regent Street Cinema will host Colin McIvor’s exciting film Zoo, based on a true story set in Belfast in 1941, as well as an intergenerational puppet creatures craft workshop with Kabutar Arts.

The Man Who Wanted to Fly, a life-affirming documentary, will also be shown, telling the story of 80-something bachelor farmer Bobby Coote who reaches for the sky.

On St. Patrick’s Day, which this year lands on Sunday, Trafalgar Square will see the Irish Film London Team at community stalls on Trafalgar Square between 12 noon and 6pm, with the live music, food, dance and festivities.

After celebrations come to a close on Trafalgar Square, it’s back to Regent Street Cinema for the Festival Closing Night, with a final selection of Irish short films, including We Are the New Ireland, in which four Irish people explain what it is to be gay in Ireland today, framed by the music of Steven Sharpe.

Shira MacLeod, Regent Street cinema programmer, said: “We’re particularly pleased to be a part of the conversation about diversity and inclusion. At Regent Street Cinema, our ongoing programme reflects the great diversity of London and we are proud to host unique film festivals like this one.”

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