From April 20 to 27th the 18th annual Newport Beach Film Festival in California will present its Irish Spotlight, featuring a host of new Irish cinema. The festival is well known in North America for its Irish content, having screened more than 70 Irish features and shorts over the last few years.
This year three Irish features: The Secret Scripture, Tomato Red, and A Date for Mad Mary; will play as part of the festival’s signature Irish Spotlight event celebrating Irish cinema, culture and cuisine. During its eight-day run, the Festival will screen a slate of feature-length Irish narratives, documentaries and two curated Irish Shorts programs. The Festival has collaborated with Culture Ireland, Galway Film Fleadh, Irish Film Institute, Irish Film and TV Academy, The Richard Harris International Film Festival, and the Irish Film Board. The selected Irish films are eligible for audience and Festival awards.
Joining the three Spotlight features are independent features Sanctuary, Cardboard Gangsters, and South, and documentaries Between Land and Sea, Aerial Ireland, Elián, Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village, and Out of Innocence.
The first Irish shorts section, Luck O’ The Irish, takes place on April 23rd at 12:15 pm and will show Day Off, Date Night, Gridlock, Pebbles, Uisce Beatha (Water of Life), and We Have Each Other. The second, Irish Coffee and Shorts, takes place on April 23rd at 3 pm and will show Second To None, Bearing All, Gone Viral, Deirdre, Groundless, The Ladies, Wait, and The Nation Holds Its Breath. James Skerritt’s music video for Dublin duo Morrissey & Marshall’s single Stand Down will also feature in the Music Videos strand.
The Newport Beach Film Festival places an emphasis on support for emerging and respected filmmakers through encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The festival has the largest shorts program within a major film festival in the United States, accepting and screening well over 200 short movies selected from submissions received from all over the world.
The Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 20 – 27, 2017 in the City of Newport Beach, 55 miles south of Hollywood, California.
The Secret Scripture – Irish Spotlight
April 23 @ 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm
Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture centres around Rose McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), an elderly woman who has lived in state institutions for over 50 years. Despite her bleak surroundings, there is a light in her eyes that cannot be extinguished. Dr. Stephen Greene (Eric Bana) is drawn to her, compelled to discover her past and help gain her freedom. Through Lady Rose’s ‘scripture’, a life of extraordinary love and great injustice emerges, revealing a remarkable young woman of courage, whose only crime was to fall in love. Set against a backdrop of an emerging Irish state in the 1940’s in which female sexuality and independence unsettled the colluding patriarchies of church and nationalist politics, we learn of her ultimate triumph. The Secret Scripture is out in Irish cinemas now.
Tomato Red – Irish Spotlight
April 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Directed by Juanita Wilson (As If I’m Not There), Tomato Red is based on the acclaimed novel by Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone) and follows the story of small-town drifter Sammy Barlach on his search for his next cold beer and the bunch that’ll have him. When he meets the red-haired Jamalee and her beautiful brother Jason, his life is opened up in ways he could never have imagined. Happy to have a home at last, Sammy finds his life opening up in ways he could never have imagined. But this new life is torn apart by a sudden violent incident, leaving them crying out for justice and revenge. But what if your cries fall on deaf ears? How do you make yourself heard if you don’t have a voice? Finding themselves powerless against the forces of corruption and prejudice, the only thing Sammy has left to fight is the demons inside his own head.
A Date For Mad Mary – Irish Spotlight
April 23 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Darren Thronton’s beatifully balanced film tells the story of ‘Mad’ Mary McArdle returns to Drogheda after a short spell in prison – for something she’d rather forget. Back home, everything and everyone has changed. Her best friend, Charlene, is about to get married and Mary is the Maid of Honour. When Charlene refuses Mary a ‘plus one’ for the wedding, on the grounds that she probably couldn’t find a date, Mary is determined to prove her wrong. She throws herself into the local dating scene, in the hope of finding a nice guy who’ll look good in a tux. But finding a date in a town where everyone knows your name, and your reputation, is not going to be easy…
April 22 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
April 25 @ 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm
Set in the world of people with intellectual disabilities, Sanctuary is a touching and funny love story about Larry and Sophie, two people who long to be together in a world that does everything to keep them apart. Larry, has Down Syndrome, Sophie, has severe epilepsy. The two are attracted to each other and, through a care worker Tom, they sneak away to a hotel room during a supervised trip to the cinema. What do they do once they are there? How do they express a love that dare not speak it’s name? Are they aware that in Ireland they are about to break the law?
April 22 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Mark O’Connor’s Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe cardboard gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex. Jay Connolly is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer in North Dublin, an area victimised by gangs, drugs and social problems. When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.
April 25 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Writer/director Gerard Walsh’s South tells the story of Tom, a young man struggling with the recent death of his father. After finding a note from his estranged mother he decides to hit the road and try to find her. Throughout this journey Tom also tries to overcome his crippling stage fright as a musician. Along his journey he meets Jess, a free-spirited young woman that captivates his mind and heart.
Between Land and Sea
April 27 @ 7:45 pm – 9:30 pm
This observational feature – at times intimate, at times epic – embeds itself in the Big Wave surf community to present a thoroughly engaging and visually stunning portrait of the ever-changing life at land’s end. The decisions we make early in life can have consequences more far-reaching than we imagine when we make them. Young surfers dedicate their lives to the ocean, consumed by the excitement and beauty on offer but how can they balance that with the inevitabilities of later life – money to earn, mouths to feed?
April 24 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
A fascinating and revealing story of Ireland: its geology, natural terrain, human history and built environment as seen from the air. Using stunning drone aerial photography, this is a spectacular overview of the multifaceted complexity of the incredibly diverse, beautiful and historically significant island of Ireland.
April 22 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Elián is the remarkable story of Elián Gonzalez, a five-year-old Cuban boy plucked from the Florida Straits, and how the fight for his future changed the course of U.S.-Cuba relations. Featuring powerful personal testimony, candid interviews, and an extraordinary news archive, this riveting documentary recounts Elián’s remarkable rescue on Thanksgiving Day in November 1999, after his mother and 10 others fleeing Cuba perished at sea. The custody battle between the boy’s Cuban father and his Miami-based relatives, and the momentous political fight that came to surround it, changed the course of history.
Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village
April 26 @ 3:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village is an examination of the phenomenon of the Knock shrine, the film comes from the filmmakers behind award-winning One Million Dubliners. In August 1879 fifteen people in the small village of Knock, Co Mayo, claimed to witness an apparition of the Virgin Mary. After two official inquiries, the village was declared a Marian Shrine. Today, Knock’s 2,000 residents welcome over one million pilgrims annually.
Out of Innocence
April 26 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
April 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
In the midst of religiously fervent 1980s Ireland, a link is incorrectly made between the secret birth of a stillborn baby, and the brutal murder of another. At a time of social discord and change in Ireland, marked by religious sectarianism, the abortion debate and the emergence of the first women’s movement – a young mother finds herself the unwitting central figure in a stubborn contest of the individual versus the State.