What’s on at the Irish Film Festival London

Owen acts with John Finn, well known from Cold Case, who plays his father in the drama
This week’s festival, running until Sunday, kicks off tonight with An Bronntanas

This year’s Irish Film Festival London launched last night with the the UK premiere of An Bronntanas, Ireland’s entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film Category.

Starring actors Owen McDonnell and Dean Whatton took part in a Q&A session after the film. The festival is on until Sunday and with five more UK premieres, as well as more Q&A sessions and lectures there’s something to please every Irish film fan.


Tomorrow evening, there is a dual choice of events to attend with a free lecture on Irish cinema being hosted by  Professor Lance Pettitt, Director for the Centre for Irish Studies at St Mary’s University.

Irish Cinema: Memoir, Nation and Self-narration will explore how autobiographical writing by film makers can be mined as a resource for re-thinking the contours of cinema history.

It is on at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW19 3EU from 6.30pm -7.30pm (doors from 6pm). Although the public lecture is free, booking is essential from here.

Alternatively, film lovers can choose to attend the UK premiere of GOLD, an offbeat comedy starring James Nesbitt which is running at Clapham Picturehouse from 8:30pm.


It tells the story of an estranged father who returns to his hometown after an absence of ten years to reconnect with his teenage daughter only to find her and his childhood sweetheart have built a new life with his former P.E. teacher.

Played by Nesbitt, the PE teacher is a controlling and regimented figure who is the direct opposite of Ray. Its set in an affluent suburb in south County Dublin, and unfolds to become an unconventional love story that delights in the hilarity of everyday life. Ray’s daughter is played by Maisie Williams who is best known for her role as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones.

We spoke to David Wilmot, who plays Ray, earlier this month and you can read our preview here.

The price of your ticket includes a Q&A with director Niall Heery and special guests and you can book here.


Friday night sees the UK premiere of Broken Song take to the Tricycle Theatre from 8:30 pm.

Claire Dix’s documentary focuses on the lives of north Dublin street poets and shows their struggle to find an articulate meaning in an often chaotic world. It premiered at the  Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2013 where it won the Audience Award and the Dublin Critics Circle ‘Discovery’ Award.


It focuses on GI, Costello and Willa Lee who have found a spiritual experience in their self expression through hip-hop. Their aim is simply to articulate the chaos that surrounds them and to fight it with their words and voices alone. Along the way it has become their identity, their religion and, as they claim themselves, they are its high priests.

Broken Song will also be accompanied by short film Doghouse which stars Peter Coonan who plays Fran in Love/Hate. He plays overwhelmed father Doug in a drama about a man’s financial failings in recessionary Ireland which creates a sometimes comic portrayal of a luckless man short on cash.

Claire Dix will be in attendance for a Q&A session and tickets can be booked here.


On Saturday, film fans can again pick from the best of Irish film, whether that be rom-com or animation.

Lochlainn O'Mearain and Aoibhinn in a scene from Poison Pen
Lochlainn O’Mearain and Aoibhinn in a scene from Poison Pen

In Clapham’s Picturehouse from 3pm, guests will enjoy the UK premiere of Poison Pen which stars Aoibhinn McGinnity, famous for her role as Trish in Love/Hate. We interviewed her about her new role here.

There’s also a Q&A session with directors and cast and tickets can be booked here.

Alternatively, you can head to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Charing Cross to avail of five short films including animation Deadly in which Love/Hate star Peter Coonan lends his voices to a bitter-sweet short about life, death and dancin’!

Dylan Moran also stars in short film Breakfast Wine, while Volkswagen Joe, How’s About Ye? and Be Lucky also head the strong line-up to showcase the best in Irish shorts. Tickets can be purchased here.


Sunday, the final day of the festival, has the most on offer.

First off is the UK premiere of Blood Fruit at the ICA in Charing Cross at 3pm, which is a feature documentary focussing on the Dunnes Stores strikers in 1980’s Dublin. In July 1984 the naive action taken by one young Irish shop cashier was about to change the face of the anti-apartheid movement around the world.


A Q&A with Dunnes Stores Strikers is included in the ticket price and tickets can be booked here.

At the same time a series of experimental Irish films is on show in Hackney’s Picturehouse. This touring programme, in partnership with LUX, presents a selection of films from the full programme. Filmmakers include the Lumiére brothers, Samuel Beckett, Vivienne Dick, Maximillian Le Cain, Dónal Ó Céilleachair and Jesse Jones.

Also included is a Q&A with project coordinator Aoife Desmond from the Experimental Irish Film Club, Soracha Pelan Ó Treasaigh from the IFI, and a representative from LUX. Get your tickets here.

Finally, the festival closes on Sunday with the UK premiere of Standby, a romantic comedy directed by brothers Ronan and Rob Burke. The film stars Brian Gleeson (The Stag) and Jessica Paré (Mad Men) former lovers who bump into each other in Dublin Airport eight years after their romance ended and who decide to spend one night getting to know each other again.


Ticket prices also include a Q&A with director Rob Burke & Brian Gleeson. Get your tickets here.



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