The inaugural Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival will take place this weekend in Central New York state. The festival is being organised by Micha Crook, who is aiming showcase a modern version of Ireland and its people in one of the areas visited by the first Irish settlers.

The festival will screen a number of Irish features and shorts from Thursday, June 22 to Saturday, June 24th, starting with Conor Horgan’s award-winning documentary The Queen of Ireland, based on the life of  Rory O’Neill a.k.a. Panti and the Irish marriage equality referendum.

The Queen of Ireland was the film I wanted to get here. It’s big, splashy and made a lot of waves worldwide at several of the big film festivals. It establishes a modern context of Ireland.
Micha Crook, Organiser

The festival will also screen Darren Thornton’s superb drama A Date for Mad Mary on Friday, June 23, at 7 p.m. This is will be a chance for a US audience to catch the film before its general release in September.

On Saturday, June 24, at 2 p.m., a series of shorts will be shown at the Everson, before the festival wraps on Saturday with a 7 p.m. screening of Older Than Ireland. The film by Alex Fegan, who also directed The Irish Pub, features 30 centenarians, all of whom were born before the 1916 Easter Uprising. Fegan’s documentary was filmed in Syracuse thanks to Crook’s involvement.

The film industry in some ways is very fast, but it takes a while if you’re trying to build a filmmaking community. We started Older Than Ireland in 2014, and shot the Syracuse portion in the beginning of 2015. It was finished right before its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh, which was at the end of July that year. It took another year to bring it back to the United States. Now it’s going through a regular cinematic release.
Micha Crook, Organiser

For more information, visit syririshfilmfest.com. Tickets for each featured film are $10. 

The shorts selection:

  • The Wild Swan at Coole (2007) Internationally renowned visual artists and film making team Wyllie O Hagan bring a poem of William Butler Yeats to life.
  • Lily (2016) Lily is a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life. 
  • Yu Ming is Anim Dom (2003) Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom (My Name Is Yu Ming) is the story of a young Chinese man, who is disillusioned with his dead-end job at a supermarket. When the spin of a globe leads him to choose Ireland as the destination for his new life, his further research informs him that the official language of that country is Gaelic. Arriving in Dublin speaking the language, he is puzzled when nobody can understand him. In Irish with English subtitles. 
  • Fáilte: Irish Hospitality in Central New York (2012) Originally made for RTÉ ‘How to Be Irish” series, it explores “Irish hospitality” as an essential part of Irish-ness and how it translates to an essential part of being a Central New Yorker.
  • Céad Ghrá (2014) Céad Ghrá (First Love) is the story of two best-friends set off on a quest in pursuit of their first crush. In Irish with English subtitles.

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