This year’s edition of the IRISH FILM FESTA, the eleventh, presents a number of novelties. To begin with, an extra day, to provide our programme with greater scope, our proposals with greater variety. . . .
The 11th edition of IRISH FILM FESTA, the festival dedicated entirely to Irish cinema, takes place once more at Rome’s Casa del Cinema from 21st to 25th March 2018.
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The Making Shorts – Short Films Panel , which is held during the 11th IRISH FILM FESTA (March 21st – 25th, 2018) aims to be an opportunity for an in-depth analysis over the short film sector as part of the Irish and Northern Irish film industry, as a result of the undisputed quality of the films produced and of the international awards obtained. . . .
The 11th IRISH FILM FESTA, the only Italian film festival completely dedicated to Irish cinema, will take place from March 21st to 25th, at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.
The competition section, reserved for short films produced or co-produced in Ireland, comprises 16 works this year, spanning various genres: drama (Selina Cartmell’s The Date, winning short at the Galway Film Fleadh 2017; Tristan Heanue’s A Break in the Clouds; Amy-Joyce Hasting’s QED), comedy (Gustav by Denis Fitzpatrick e Ken Williams, Marky’s Bad Week by Daniel Holmwood); fictional documentary (Edward Cleary’s Lava Lisa, Pádraig Conaty’s You’re not a Man at All).
Also of note is the presence of big names among the cast of the short films: Patrick Bergin is the solo protagonist of Linda Bhreathnach’s Native, shot in Ros Muc, while Stuart Graham stars in kidnapping thriller The Captors by Chris Baugh.
As for animation, the selected shorts are: Coranna by Steve Woods, realized using the rotoscoping technique; Louise Bagnall’s Late Afternoon (produced by Cartoon Saloon), Aoífe Doyle’s Departure, and Dillon Brannick’s The Line.
“We are very happy with the submissions this year, both in terms of quality as well as quantity, even if we had to make tough choices to reach the final selection. And we are also happy because a large part of entries came from Northern Ireland, confirming and reinforcing the ‘All Ireland’ spirit of our festival,” says artistic director Susanna Pellis.
A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS (Ireland, 2017) | Tristan Heanue
Prod. Paddy Slattery, Tristan Heanue – 19’25’’
with Gemma-Leah Devereux, Tristan Heanue, Marie Ruane, Linda Bhreathnach
A young couple struggle to adjust to life following the birth of their first child.
THE CAPTORS (Northern Ireland, 2015) | Chris Baugh
Prod. Brendan Mullin – 16’02’’
with Nigel O’Neill, Stuart Graham, Jonathan Harden, Lacy Moore, Seamus O’Hara
A trio of tiger kidnappers are faced with an impossible decision when a wealthy victim calls their bluff.
THE DATE (Ireland, 2017) | Selina Cartmell
Prod. Claire Gormley – 16’13’’
with Charlene McKenna, Rory Fleck-Byrne
Brian and Sinead meet for a drink in their favourite dive bar and reminisce on the love they used to share.
GUARD (Northern Ireland, 2017) | Jonathan Harden
Prod. Jonathan Harden, Bronagh Taggart, Sean A. Murray – 13’26’’
with Bronagh Taggart, Michael McElhatton, Ian McElhinney, Carol Moore, Mosa Kambule
An emotionally hardened young woman wrestles with difficult memories when her father returns from prison. As he teaches her to boxe, reconciliation seems possible.
GUSTAV (Ireland, 2017) | Denis Fitzpatrick & Ken Williams
Prod. Steven Daly – 11’38’’
with Seán T. O’Mailleagh, Charlene Gleeson, Glen Barry
A young man wakes up with a tune in his head. But how did it get there?
THE JAR (Northern Ireland, 2017) | Carleton Rodgers
Prod. Michael Costello, Carleton Rodgers – 19’42’’
with Brandon Brownlee, Paul McGuinness, Rachel McGrane, Caolan Johnston, Will O’Hare
Jake banks his boyish ambitions of being an astronaut inside a jar of coins. But there are those who would step all over his dreams. Can he still manage to make the giant leap?
LAVA LISA (Ireland, 2017) | Edward Cleary
Prod. Edward Cleary, Karol Stankiewicz – 10’02’’
with Grainne Boyle, Sorcha Herlihy, Sam Lucas Smith, Mary Pat Moloney
A short fictional documentary about a woman who is handling a moment from her past in an irregular way.
LISTEN (Northern Ireland, 2017) | David Moody
Prod. Emma Mullen – 10’
with Naseen Morgan, Brian Milligan, Muireann McSherry
An exploration of Gaeilge in modern day Belfast. A story told through the eyes of a young family struggling to connect.
MARKY’S BAD WEEK (Ireland, 2017) | Daniel Holmwood
Prod. Paul Rowland – 5’59’’
with Thomas Dunne, Caoilfhionn Dunne
After having the worst week of his life, Marky decides to take the edge off with a spliff. But things go from bad to worse when he crosses path with an old acquaintance.
NATIVE (Ireland, 2017) | Linda Bhreathnach
Prod. Linda Bhreathnach & Marina Yarnell Donahue – 13’51’’
with Patrick Bergin
A story about a migrant worker returning home after many years abroad. A film about immigration and homecoming and a film which is ultimately about rising above the suffering inherent in life.
QED (Ireland, 2017) | Amy-Joyce Hastings
Prod. Michael O’Kelly, Trisha Flood, Danielle Collins, Jannik Ohlendieck – 17’10’’
with Donna Anita Nikolaisen, Michael O’Kelly, Norma Sheahan, Charlene Gleeson, Steve Wilson
Exploring the theme of sacrificial love, QED poses the ultimate question: ‘What won’t love do?’.
YOU’RE NOT A MAN AT ALL (Ireland, 2017) | Pádraig Conaty
Prod. Andréa Farrell – 9’56’’
con Seamus O’Rourke
A talent competition in the local village gives a bachelor farmer the chance to reveal a secret.
CORANNA (Ireland, 2017) | Steve Woods
Prod. Steve Woods – 8’50’’
Based on true events about the Great Irish Famine. A young boy and his horse Coranna race to save their parish from the catastrophe approaching. But something bigger has to change before the people are safe from starvation.
DEPARTURE (Ireland, 2017) | Aoífe Doyle
Prod. Niamh Herrity – 9’13’’
An Irish grandmother’s unexpected departure from her lonely life.
LATE AFTERNOON (Ireland, 2017) | Louise Bagnall
Prod. Nuria González Blanco – 9’22’’
Emily drifts through her memories, reliving moments in her life. She exists between two states, the past and the present, but struggles to connect them.
THE LINE (Ireland, 2017) | Dillon Brannick
Prod. IADT – 4’45’’
An exploration of the dynamics between parent and child when grief seems unbearable.
The 11th IRISH FILM FESTA, which will take place in March 2018, is now open to submissions for short films from Ireland.
In order to be eligible for IRISH FILM FESTA competition, films must be under 20 minutes in length, and produced or co-produced in Ireland.
Accepted categories are Live Action (all genres, including Documentary) and Animation (all techniques).
Entries must be submitted as an online screener to submissions.IFF@gmail.com or as a DVD to
Associazione Culturale ARCHIMEDIA
via Segesta 16
00179 Roma (Italia)
Deadline is January 10th, 2018.
No fee requested. DVDs sent by post will not be returned.
Out of all the accepted entries, IRISH FILM FESTA will select – at its sole and absolute discretion – a shortlist of films for the competition. IRISH FILM FESTA will notify all the authors of selected films; not-selected applicants won’t be notified.
Within a week after admission, authors of selected films must provide:
• a high-definition copy of the film for the festival screening (DCP/DVD/Blu-Ray);
• a timecoded dialogue list *;
• a high-resolution still from the film, a brief synopsis, and a full-credits list to be used for the festival catalogue.
* Please note that this is mandatory. If the timecoded dialogue list won’t be provided, the short film will be disqualified from the competition.
Prizes will be awarded by a professional jury to the Best Live Action Short Film and to the Best Animated Short Film.
Gridlock by Ian Hunt Duffy (live action) and Second to None by Vincent Gallagher (animation) are the winning short films of the 10th Irish Film Festa (March 30 – April 2nd, 2017, Rome).
Jury: Oscar Cosulich (Future Film Festival), Barry Monahan (University City Cork), Serenella Zanotti (Università Roma Tre).
ph: Guido Cavatorta
The 10th edition of IRISH FILM FESTA, the festival dedicated entirely to Irish cinema, will be held this year from 30 March to 2 April at its usual venue, the Casa del Cinema in Rome.
“In these ten years we have presented the best of contemporary Irish film, choosing films which were never seen in our country but were the recipients of numerous international awards; and had the privilege of welcoming prestigious guests such as Stephen Rea, Fionnula Flanagan, Lenny Abrahamson, Adrian Dunbar, and many others. For this, the tenth edition of IRISH FILM FESTA will be a special edition, celebrating the journey accomplished so far and driving for what remains to be done,” said the artistic director Susanna Pellis.
Among the films scheduled in the tenth edition of IRISH FILM FESTA, all of which are Italian premieres, is the documentary Bobby Sands: 66 Days by Brendan J. Byrne, dedicated to the sixty-six days of hunger strike in 1981 that led to the death of Bobby Sands in prison of Long Kesh. The film examines the symbolic and cultural value of fasting in an Irish historic-political context and is based on Sands’ prison diaries, narrated by actor Martin McCann who is expected as a guest at the festival: “Those words put his voice at the centre of the film and lead us into his mind – explains the director – the only place in which Sands found freedom.” 66 Days was presented at the last Galway Film Fleadh and the international documentary festival Hot Docs in Toronto.
The screening of 66 Days will also see the attendance of the journalist Riccardo Michelucci, author of the recently-published essay Bobby Sands. Un’utopia irlandese (Editions Clichy).
The history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and their cinematic representation in films such as Angel, Some Mother’s Son, Nothing Personal, The Boxer, Hunger, and others, will also be the focus of a conference at the festival held by Prof. Martin McLoone (University of Ulster, Emeritus).
Martin McCann, which we saw last year in The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton, also appears in, and co-directs, the mockumentary Starz, one of the short films starring an extraordinary Gerard McSorley (The Constant Gardener, Veronica Guerin), also expected as a guest in Rome. This year’s competitive section of IRISH FILM FESTA presents 15 shorts ranging between various genres and creation (animation, documentary, horror, thriller).
The director Ciarán Creagh, the lead actress Caoilfhionn Dunne (from the cast of the series Love/Hate) and Gerard McSorley will present the drama In View: Ruth is a police officer who, unable to mourn the loss of her son and husband, begins to lose her grip on life. Her guilt is irrepressible, and pushes her to confront past mistakes in search of redemption.
Another dramatic story is provided by Mammal, written and directed by Rebecca Daly and starring Rachel Griffiths (nominated for an Oscar in 1999 for Hilary and Jackie) and the young Barry Keoghan (Love/Hate): for Margaret the news of the disappearance of her teenage son, who she he left when he was little, coincides with the decision to host Joe, a homeless guy who she found the street, wounded. Mammal premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.
Sanctuary, the first work by Len Collin, has its origins in the theatre: it is based on the text of the same name by Christian O’Reilly, staged by Blue Teapot Theatre Company, a Galway company comprising actors with intellectual disabilities. The protagonists of the film, which keeps the same cast as the play, are Larry and Sophie, two young lovers: what could be more natural for them to want to spend some time alone together? But Larry and Sophie are not a couple like any other. And trying to have a little intimacy is not only breaking the rules, but breaking the law.
The focus of The Flag by Declan Recks (his first film, Eden, was shown at IFF 2008) is the 1916 Easter Rising, following the Centenary which was also celebrated at the festival last year, through a fresh comic approach. Harry Hambridge (Pat Shortt), is a down on his luck Irish emigrant in London. During his return to Ireland for his father’s funeral, he discovers that his grandfather was among the men to hoist the Irish tricolour over the General Post Office during the Easter Rising of 1916. A flag which now hangs in a British barracks. Tired of suffering humiliation, Harry is determined, with the help of some unlikely companions (including Moe Dunford, seen at IFF 2015 in Patrick’s Day by Terry McMahon), to get back the hallowed flag. Declan Recks and screenwriter Eugene O’Brien will be present at the festival.
Inspired by the story of a cocaine seizure worth €440 million off the coast of Cork in 2007, The Young Offenders by Peter Foott (Best Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh 2016) sees two local boys, Conor and Jock, take a 160-km journey on two stolen bicycles in the hope of finding a bale of cocaine that seemingly escaped the police. A fast-paced comedy which has proved a huge success in Ireland. The author and director Peter Foott will be at the festival which will screen his short film The Carpenter and His Clumsy Wife, recipient of a special mention at the Venice Film Festival in 2004.
Two strangers empty their bank accounts, sell their assets, and put all their capital in cash in a green sports bag. Then they go to a remote place to fight to the death. The winner buries the loser and runs away twice as rich. This is the idea behind Traders, a film by Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy, starring Killian Scott (Love/Hate) and John Bradley (Game of Thrones). Small but significant roles also for Barry Keoghan and Caoilfhionn Dunne.
The tenth edition of the festival features two Irish Classics. The first is John Boorman’s The General (1998), awarded for best director at the Cannes Film Festival: The General is the nickname of the Dublin criminal Martin Cahill, played in the film by Brendan Gleeson. Known for his ruthlessness and the meticulousness with which he planned his crimes, Cahill was documented in detail in the book The General by the journalist Paul Williams, from which comes the film’s screenplay. The text was published for the first time only last year in Italy by Milieu Edizioni as part of the Banditi senza tempo series, in parallel with two other volumes linked to Ireland: On the Brinks by former IRA activist Sam Millar and Bomber Renegade by Michael “Dixie” Dickson, the last IRA prisoner to be released, now an organiser of concerts and sporting events.
The Boxer (1997) on the other hand is a tribute by the IFF to director Jim Sheridan who, for the first time, will be a visitor to the festival for an encounter with the public. Sheridan, with three Oscar nominations under his belt (for directing My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, and for the screenplay of In America), will present his most recent film, The Secret Scripture, based on the novel of the same name by Sebastian Barry. Starring Rooney Mara, Eric Bana, Vanessa Redgrave and Adrian Dunbar, the movie was already presented at last year’s Festa del Cinema di Roma, and will be released in Italian cinemas on 6 April by distributor Lucky Red. The IFF homage to Sheridan will also include The Carpenter and His Clumsy Wife, of which the director is the narrator.
Another literary aspect of the festival will be a tribute to the writer Dermot Bolger, who will appear in a meeting coordinated by John McCourt (University of Macerata). Born in 1959 in Finglas, a northern suburb of Dublin, Bolger is the author of novels, poems and plays. His best-known books include The Journey Home (1997) and The Family on Paradise Pier(2005), published in Italy by Fazi Editore.
The 10th IRISH FILM FESTA, the only Italian film festival completely dedicated to Irish cinema, will take place from March 30th to April 2nd 2017, at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.
The features programmed this year include the Italian premiere of documentary Bobby Sands: 66 Days by Brendan J. Byrne, dedicated to 66 days of hunger strike in 1981 that led to the death of Bobby Sands in Long Kesh prison. The film examines the symbolic and cultural value of fasting in Ireland’s historical-political context and is based on the prison diaries kept by the same Bobby Sands, with narration by actor Martin McCann, expected to attend the festival: “They serve to place his voice at the centre of the film and take us inside his head — the director explains — the place where Sands eventually found freedom”. 66 Days was presented last year at the Galway Film Fleadh and at the international documentary festival Hot Docs in Toronto.
The history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and their cinematic representation in works such as Angel, Some Mother’s Son, Nothing Personal, The Boxer, Hunger, and others, will also be the focus of a conference at the festival by Prof. Martin McLoone (University of Ulster, Emeritus).
Martin McCann will be at the festival also as co-director of Starz, one of the short films in competition. The competition section, reserved for short films produced or co-produced in Ireland, comprises 15 works this year, spanning various genres and techniques (animation, documentary, thriller, horror — see the full list).
ABOUT THE FILM
BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS (NI, Ireland, USA, Denmark, Sweden 2016) Documentary
Director: Brendan J. Byrne; screenplay: Brendan J. Byrne; cinematography: David Barker; editing: Paul Devlin; music: Edith Progue; animation: Peter Strain, Ryan Kane; production design: David Craig; producers: Trevor Birney, Brendan J. Byrne; consulting producer: Alex Gibney; production companies: Fine Points Films, Cyprus Avenue Films. Running time: 105’
Narrated by Martin McCann
In the spring of 1981 Irish Republican Bobby Sands’ 66-day hunger strike brought the attention of the world to his cause. 66 Days is a major feature length documentary exploring Sands’ remarkable life and death, 35 years on from his ultimate sacrifice.
Using eye-witness testimony, unseen archive, reconstructions and animation, this cinematic odyssey serves as both the definitive account of a self-created Irish martyr and a seismic moment in 20th century Irish history, the legacy of which we continue to live with today.
Brendan J. Byrne is an experienced filmmaker, specialising in documentary and feature films. He was been making high end documentaries for both BBC Television, C4 and RTÉ in the UK and Ireland for over 20 years, including the winning documentary Breaking The Silence (2010) about families coping in the aftermath of suicide. His first feature film as a producer Jump was selected for the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. 66 Days is first feature documentary as a director.
When a child go missing during a traffic jam, her distraught father form a search party to find her, but soon everyone is a suspect: Gridlock is one of the short films in competition at the 10th Irish Film Festa (March 30th – April 2nd, Rome).
We spoke to the director Ian Hunt Duffy (who was also the producer of Love is a Sting, part of last year’s short film selection).
Where was the film shot? And how long did the shooting take?
Gridlock was shot on a road in Donadea Forest, in Co. Kildare in Ireland. The shoot was five days long.
Gridlock is set in a very limited space: how did you work in terms of camera movements and, later, editing?
Myself and my cinematographer Narayan Van Maele decided to opt for a handheld approach to give an energy and immediacy to the film. Our aim was to create a feeling of claustrophobia for the characters, even though they are out in the open. So we tried to get as close to our actors as possible and shoot in and amongst the crowd, to give that sense of an angry mob closing in.
As it was an ensemble piece with a group of actors we would shoot long master shots for each scene, and often these takes would have the most urgency and tension. So where possible we would block scenes into longer continuous shots without cutting away.
All actors – Moe Dunford, Peter Coonan, Steve Wall – are amazing: was the casting difficult?
We got very lucky with our casting on this film. As I mentioned, Gridlock was always going to be an ensemble piece, so I needed a group of actors who were excited by the material and who could work well together as a team. So my producer and I were determined to get the best cast possible.
I had our lead actor Moe Dunford in mind after seeing his amazing performance in Patrick’s Day, so I approached him and walked him through my vision for the film and his role, and we immediately clicked. Luckily the same continued to happen throughout the rest of the casting process. Every actor was very approachable and responded extremely positively to our script.
When lovestruck ten year old Daithi falls for his classmate Jessica, he turns to his best friend Penny to help win her heart: The Debt is one of the short films in competition at the 10th Irish Film Festa.
We spoke to the director Helen Flanagan.
How did you come up with the idea for this story about love and friendship between little kids?
The script evolved naturally out of a very basic idea I had about a kid running a tooth fairy scam for cash. As the characters developed, the story took shape around them, and thematically the script became about learning the value of friendship as a child. A lot of the story elements came from my own experience as someone who was not the most socially mobile kid on the playground, so putting a plutonic friendship at the heart of the story was really important.
How did you choose and work with the young actors? Especially referring to Susie Power, whose Penny proves to be a very strong, non-conformist character.
We spent a really long time casting and we were so lucky to get to work with Lee O’Donoghue and Susie Power. They are such fantastic young actors, and both of them were so smart and intuitive about the characters. Both Daithi and Penny are non-conformist characters, but Penny was really personally important for me. I wanted to make sure she was more than just a supporting character, and that she was a real person with a real background and feelings rather than the usual stereotypical “tomboy” character trope. Susie is so smart, she really understood how to get across the subtext in such a naturalistic way. Lee was also so great, he brought so much of his personality to the character.
Where was the film shot?
We shot the film in a small country town called Birr, in Co. Offaly. The film was funded through Film Offaly’s film bursary award. I had been in Birr a few years before and I thought it would be a really great location for the story, so I submitted the script to them for consideration. Birr was a really gorgeous location, the kind of place you could imagine two kids running around and getting into lots of trouble.
Cashell Horgan is the director of The Clockmaker’s Dream, the fantasy short film in competition at the 10th Irish Film Festa (March 30th – April 2nd, Rome).
A Clockmaker, in an automata world, tries to build the perfect woman to replace his lost wife but finds his creations are proving more difficult than he imagined; he must find a solution before his time runs out and his world stops forever…
The Clockmaker’s Dream‘s visual setting is very peculiar in terms of production and costume design: did you look to any particular artistic references while shaping it?
We did a lot of research in prep for design: the characters are figures simulating living beings, representative of people that may inhabit in a small town, except these are fantastical and more like turn-of-the-century toys.
We looked at the tin toys, dolls and costumes of 19th century design but also traditional masks of northern Europe and photographs of homemade Halloween costumes from the 20’s to 50’s. We wanted a classical setting to fit with Clockwork’s machines and automata. But also have a modern mix to suggest the towns creations have been there for centuries.
The papier-mâché masks have an old world, handmade resonance, and were created by Emma Fisher, an Irish puppeteer, and local art students in Limerick. The costumes were designed and made by Limerick fashion designer Tatsiana Coquerel: her inspiration for the work comes from her passion for dolls, so it fitted well with the concept. In production design, again, we wanted to set in the early 19th century, a Jules Verne world of magic and fantasy.
As for the Clockmaker mask, I was inspired by the Man of la Mancha character, and, from the clay, designer Kamil Krawczak from Order 66 Creatures and Effects made it his own. Everyone took the initial designs and ideas and made it their one personal artistic expression.
Where was the film shot?
The film was shot in various location in Limerick city and at Bunratty Folk Park, a recreational park for tourism: it’s a model of an old Irish town. The buildings in the park were transferred brick by brick and reassembled. The props and furnishing date back to early 1900’s, so it fitted well with the tone and design we wanted. Ger Wallace was production designer, and it involved quite a bit of moving and dressing by John Mac Donnacha with expensive antiques from one location to the next. Getting our hands on clocks proved to be most difficult, and the art department had a demanding and challenging time working with such a low budget.
The film has two lead actors: the masked Clockmaker Joe Mullins acts only through his body and eyes, while the narrator Jared Harris uses only his voice. How did you choose them for their respective roles?
The Clockmaker role demanded an actor with some life experience behind him. We did numerous workshops with the cast and they were so great, but not exactly what I saw in my head. Joe Mullins came in for one of the rehearsals quite close to the shoot date, and when he donned the mask and played out the scene I knew it had to be him: his physical presence, interpretation of the character and expressive eyes sold it. He brought that character to life, made it his own combining elements of mime and theatrical performance for the screen. He had the right amount of reserve in his actions, and range of emotion in his eyes, and postures, that made a believable character. He had that mask on and off set, drinking through a straw and chewing pretzel sticks between long takes. One of the most patient and accommodating actors you could ever wish for, a total pro.
I really admire Jared Harris as an actor, I think his portrayal of professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows is not only the best in the all of Sherlock Holmes adaptations to screen but a cinematic gem and his voice as Lord Portley in the fantasy animation The Boxtrolls equally captivating and versatile. The Clockmaker is an off-beat fantasy fairytale it needed a voice that could express the Grimm but also the underlying humours elements in the script. We were lucky that we had a cast and crew screening at the Richard Harris Film Festival, Jared was hosting the Q&As there, and after we screened I simply asked if he would do the narration. Thankfully he agreed, the next week in the recording studio he gave me a range of interpretations and styles of narration, and a good few laughs that for me really completed the film.
I look forward to one day working with both these fine actors and all the cast that made the film. The cast and crew really dedicated themselves and it was their commitment that carried me through a very challenging shoot.