IrishFilmFesta: Press Release

The second edition of the IrishFilmFesta will take place at the Casa del Cinema, in Rome’s Villa Borghese, from December 8th to December 11th 2008.

The festival is put on by the cultural association Archimedia and RomeFilmFestival 2008. The event will be directed by Susanna Pellis and is the only italian event entirely dedicated to Irish national cinema.

The aim of the IrishFilmFesta is to spread the Irish cinematography in our country, through the preview of new films and new authors as well as through the return of old classic films, most of which are unedited in Italy. In order to offer a complete overview on the richness and variety of Irish cinema, besides fiction films and documentarieses, this year the festival presents the short film ‘Six Shooter’, winner of the 2006 Oscar Academy Award. Other than film screenings, all in original version with subtitles, the programme includes special events and meetings with the protagonists.

Cooperation between Ireland and Italy, together with cultural exchange, are the driving force of the IrishFilmFesta, which gives our city a unique opportunity in terms of cultural, linguistic and territorial exchange in a sector, the cinema, which is an essential part of our shared culture.

This four-day festival, together with our Rome Film Festival 2008, will guide us through a country which is very similiar to ours, with its social and political internal contradictions. But there is one element which need to be stressed: the whole festival is free entry. This is admirable, especially after the criticism concerning other festivals which take place in Rome, often restricted to “elite” cultural activities.

The IrishFilmFesta Programme is full of events. On December 8, ‘Saviours’ (2008), a moving documentary on the amateurs boxing world in Dublin, will inaugurate the Festival. On December 9, the directors Liam Nolan and Ross Whitaker, with the participation of the Italian boxing coach Eugenio Aguzzi, will take part in the roundtable entitled “Prodcution, distribution and future of Irish cinema”.

J. Flynn, J. Wilson, L. Nolan, R. Whitaker will participate in the roundtable. The moderator will be Susanna Pellis, artisitic director of the festival and author of “Cinema dall’Irlanda”, which will be presented during the Festival. The Irish Ambassador to Italy, Sean O’Huiginn, will attend the Festival as a supporter and guest of honour.

In the following days, the festival will present a section entirely dedicated to Northern Ireland: Laurence McKeown, Bobby Sand’s ex fellow prisoner, will introduce H3 (Les Blair, 2001), of which he wrote the screenplay, based on hunger strikes in the prisons of Northern Ireland. Amongst the films which need to be pointed out, Lenny Abrahamson’s Garage (2007), an astonishing country film, and the revolutionary Rocky Road to Dublin (1968), a tribute to the fortieth anniversary of the protest movement of 1968, which has been recently restored. A special screening of Chippers (2008) is also scheduled, a documentary on a small community of Italian immigrants to Ireland, who now own many “Fish and Chips”. Moreover, the short film An Fhirinne “In cerca della verità”, on the tragic phenomenon of the collusions between the British State and paramilitary units in Northern Ireland.

The preview of Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home (2008) will close the festival. A documentary entirely dedicated to the dubliner actor who starred in cult films such as Miller’s Crossing, The Usual Suspect, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Spider and now on our tv screens with In Treatment. In the documentary Byrne reveals, with great truthfulness, many aspects of both his professional and private life. Guest: the director Pat Collins