London Irish Film will return with their tenth anniversary festival which runs 17- 21 November.
The festival will be their first in- person annual festival since 2019 and celebrates a decade of the festival and organisation which was established in 2011.
With nine feature films and nineteen short films as well as a programme of industry events and talks, Irish Film London say this is their biggest festival yet to mark the milestone of their tenth festival.
Celebrating more than a decade of bringing Irish film to London audiences, the programme features films, short films, panel discussions and industry events and a mix of comedy, drama, documentaries- including several UK film premieres- across five days.
Gerry Maguire, Director of Irish Film London, said: “It’s a big year for us. We’ve been away for two years, but it’s also the tenth in-person edition of Irish Film Festival London so we would hope to go bigger and better this year.
“With the tenth edition being such a landmark and a special anniversary, this is bigger than previous festival editions.
“For the festival’s landmark 10th edition, we were blessed with not one but two years’ worth of incredible Irish films which we felt London audiences couldn’t miss on the big screen.
“So this year’s festival line-up offers a Best in Show selection from the last couple of years, and we’re overjoyed to share it. This programme demonstrates the creative power of Ireland’s film industry at work in Modern Ireland, tackling diverse and often difficult subject matters, examining our relationship with the world, not least with our British neighbours.”
Irish Film London patron Lenny Abrahamson said of the coming line up: “As a patron of the Irish Film Festival London I’m excited to see what the team deliver for their 10th anniversary edition. They always bring the best of contemporary Irish film to audiences in London alongside opportunities for Irish filmmakers in the UK. With an expanded industry programme and an increased online presence, I’m sure this year’s festival will be a great success and I’m proud to continue to be a part of it.”
The festival opens on Wednesday 17 November with ARRACHT, an Irish language period thriller that has previously been longlisted as Ireland’s selection for Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Academy Awards.
The film stars Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Dónall Ó Héalaí (Foscadh, Red Dead Redemption 2) as Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, farmer and father who watches as the Great Famine descends on the land around them.
The festival also includes the new release from Irish documentarian Mark Cousins, The Story of Looking.
Some comedy is added to the line-up by Philip Docherty’s raucous debut feature Redemption of a Rogue which stars Aaron Monaghan, Aisling O’Mara, Kieran Roche and Pat McCabe.
Following its success at the BFI London Film Festival in October, The Dance is the latest documentary from Pat Collins (Song of Granite, Silence, Henry Glassie: Field Work). The film follows choreographer Michael Keegan Dolan through the staging of Keegan Dolan’s latest show ‘Mám’, a collaboration between the concertina player Cormac Begley, the European musical collective stargaze and 12 international dancers.
Also on the programme is the UK premiere of the first feature length film from veteran Irish filmmaker, artist and activist Vivienne Dick, New York Our Time.
There will also be a UK premiere of Paul Duane’s documentary While You Live, Shine. The film follows Chris King, an often eccentric musicologist who becomes obsessed with the recorded folk music of a time gone by.
Angeline Ball, Victoria Smurfit and Pauline McLynn star in the closing film, Deadly Cuts.
Rachel Carey directs as three hair stylists and their boss face gangs, gentrification and corrupt councillors accidentally becoming vigilantes and community heroes.
This year’s festival also sees Irish Film London return to Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.
It will mark a return for the festival as the newly refurbished venue hosted the very first Irish Film Festival London events in 2011.
Screenings will also take place at other venues in the city while the festival’s awards ceremony will once again return to the Embassy of Ireland.
Gerry Maguire said: “Our main festival hub is the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith.
“There’s history with the Irish Film Festival London and Riverside Studios because it’s where Kelly started the festival back in 2011 so there’s a lot of history there.
“It’s a huge venue. We’re showing six programmes there.
“Our industry programme is across the road at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.
“But we do have some screenings taking place at the Bertha DocHouse.
“The Bertha DocHouse is sort of a cinema within a cinema but it’s the UK’s only documentary only cinema and it’s within the Curzon Bloomsbury.
“We’ve also got screenings happening at the Genesis Cinema in Mile End.
“We hope what we can do with a programme that’s spread out like that is meet people from different parts of the city and engage with them.
“And because we’ve got more locations, our team has to grow. We’re going to have to have more people on the ground to deliver it.
“We talked a lot in the organisation this year about what we represent and what our role is.
“There’s different things that we as an organisation do. There is the film screening side and the industry side but there’s also a community element. There’s a very strong community element in everything that we do.
“As much as we are a film festival and a destination for industry events and talks, we’re a part of the Irish community here in London and we’re a place where people can come to meet and enjoy Irish film and culture.”
First established in 2011, the festival has gone from strength to strength with St. Patrick’s Day and St. Brigid’s Day screenings becoming regular dates in the calendar in addition to the autumn festival.
Big names like Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell and Fiona Shaw have also joined as patrons.
Irish Film London have reached a global audience in the last 18 months through their digital platform.
Screenings will continue to take place online allowing the festival to share more films and with people outside London.
These will include the bombshell documentary Untold Secrets from Irish director Teresa Levine which examines the tough subject matter of the Irish mother and baby homes scandal through the testimony of survivors.
Also set to feature online is The Queen vs Patrick O’Donnell which tells the story of the assasination of James Carey aboard the steamship Melrose, by the titular O’Donnell.
Gerry continues: “There’s only so many films that I can show in cinemas, there’s only so many slots available.
“Some of the ones that we haven’t been able to find room for in the cinema we have still got an online platform which we built over the last year.
“I feel very lucky in the sense that we’re able to share some of those works with audiences online and in doing so we’re able to share them with people outside of London as well.”
It was earlier this year that Gerry took over from festival founder Kelly O’Connor who built the festival up into what it is today.
“I’ve had the privilege of walking into a role in January this year which really leads on from the hard work Kelly has done over the last ten years.
“She is really responsible for building Irish Film London into what it is and building the audience that we already have.
“Everybody at the festival is very much in her debt and we respect everything that she’s done for us.
“She’s still involved in an advisory role.
“Kelly has been a rock this year really.”
The line-up also includes nineteen short films from emerging as well as established film makers.
Irish Film London Shorts programmer Madeleine Casey said: “It was a privilege watching this year’s shorts submissions and tough to choose from so much excellent work. I am delighted that the final selection has as many female as male directors. Many are exciting young voices in Irish film. All are perfectly formed worlds of storytelling that give us unique insights into, and fresh perspectives on, what it means to be human. They will make you laugh, cry and want to dance; and they demonstrate the immense talent emerging from new Irish filmmakers.”
Irish Film London Festival runs 17- 21 November.
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