Irish Film Festival (IFF), Boston presents an excellent lineup of events, screenings and awards at the 16th annual Irish Film Festival, from March 10th through 13th at Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.
Celebrating with a theme of “16 in 16”, representing the 16th anniversary this year, the festival features screenings of more than 45 films all presented at historic Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Visiting Irish filmmakers and directors, special guests and a bevy of after-parties celebrate the culture of film from their homeland. IFF Boston announces its awards prior to the event, allowing directors, producers and actors to attend screenings and take part in post-screening talk backs. Renowned for an intimate atmosphere and extraordinary programming, the festival punches way above its weight, escalating each year. BA Events, who bring the renowned Ras na hEireann to the Somerville Theatre, continue their premiere sponsorship of the festival. The festival is also supported by Culture Ireland as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme and in part by the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural council.
On Thursday, March 10, director Mark Noonan appears at the screening of his debut feature film You’re Ugly Too, this year’s Best Breakthrough Feature Award winner and festival opener, a comedy/drama starring Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Lauren Kinsella (Albert Nobbs). First time filmmaker Kev Cahill’s comedy More Than God has been awarded Best Short Film and represents the best of Irish shorts 100 years after independence, on the wave of last year’s historic gay marriage law. The film follows a religious man’s attempts to uncover his wife’s suspected affair. The celebration kicks off with Mayor of Somerville Joseph Curtatone and special guest speaker and New York Times bestselling author Casey Sherman, renowned in Boston and abroad for The Finest Hours (currently premiering as a major motion picture by Walt Disney Pictures), Boston Strong (the source of upcoming feature film Patriot’s Day starring Mark Wahlberg), Black Irish and more. Sherman also regularly contributes to mainstream magazine publications and most major news networks.
On Friday, March 11, the festival will feature the New England premiere of Director’s Choice Award winner Older Than Ireland. This landmark documentary delves into the story of a hundred years of a life as seen through the eyes of 30 Irish centenarians. Director Alex Fegan and Producer Garry Walsh will attend the screening. Fegan makes his second appearance at the festival having screened The Irish Pub two years previous. Director Andrew Kavanagh will appear at the screening of his short film and true story City of Roses, this years Director’s Choice Short Film Award. Irish Consul General Fionnuala Quinlan opens the evening’s events.
Saturday, March 12 showcases a screening of laboriously created Global Vision Documentary awardee Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story. Created over the course of six years, the remarkable film tells the deeply personal story of a couple rebuilding their lives after a traumatic accident. The film challenges and highlights global issues through a uniquely Irish perspective. Director Ross Whitaker is one of Ireland's most respected documentary filmmakers. His work includes Katie, Between Land & Sea and Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story. makes an appearance at the screening, followed by a Q&A session. Throughout the remainder of the weekend, popular short film screenings are held featuring contemporary Irish talent.
Special guests include well-known Irish comedian and actor Pat Shortt, on site for screenings of his film work including the feature Garage by Room‘s Oscar®-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and comedic short film Space Man Three, Pat will be offering some behind the scenes commentary on both films as well as the usual dose of Shortt humor. Later Saturday night, Simon Fitzmaurice’s life affirming coming-of-age road movie My Name is Emily makes its U.S. premiere starring Harry Potter’s Evanna Lynch.
Sunday, March 13 delivers an array of film screenings marking the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916. Supported by Culture Ireland as part of Ireland’s 2016 centenary, the festival proudly hosts the U.S. premiere of After ’16 Program, a one-off short film initiative to commemorate, celebrate and ruminate the landmark occasion. Commissioned by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (FÉ/SI) is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry. (IFB), nine short films are scheduled for screening. Also on show is Neil Jordan’s historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, which celebrates its 20th anniversary at the festival. Collins led a guerrilla war against the British, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War. The film stars famed actors Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn and Julia Roberts. Calling on the women of Ireland, The Woman’s’ Council – Women of the Revolution screens on Sunday afternoon, showing with recently discovered first Irish sound film A Night of Storytelling by Robert Flaherty, from the Harvard Film Archive.
Closing the festival brings festivities stateside with The Mayor of Boston, My Son, a documentary about Boston’s own Mayor Marty Walsh, followed by the film An Klondike, a unique Irish language western tale featuring Walsh’s own Connemara home town of Rosmuc.
A traditional Irish music session closes out the weekend of events at The Burren in Davis Square, 247 Elm Street, Somerville, on Sunday evening.
[quote title=”Dawn Morrissey – Festival Director”]We are very fortunate to have such a great selection of films and talented film makers again in our midst in Boston. Stay tuned for some surprise guests, we never know who may turn up![/quote]
Tickets to each Irish Film Festival screening are $15 for opening night and $12 for all other screenings online or at the box office. An All-Access Festival Pass (allowing entrance to all screenings and receptions) is available for $85. Tickets are available online or at the Somerville Theatre box office from March 10 through 13. The Somerville Theatre is handicap accessible, street side parking is available. For more information including the complete schedule of events, or to order tickets, visit www.irishfilmfestival.com, Facebook, or search the Festival hashtag #irishfilmfest16 on Twitter.
Founded in 1999, The Irish Film Festival, Boston is the largest event of its kind outside of Ireland. Deemed one of the “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals” worldwide by MovieMaker Magazine, the Festival celebrates the very best of Ireland and the Irish on screen. The Festival has screened over five hundred Irish films in Boston including highly acclaimed films such as Calvary, The Shore, In America, Intermission and Sunday Bloody Sunday and it was the first American film festival to recognize the 2007 Oscar Winner, Once. The festival is also the go-to for sneak peaks and US distributor-sponsored screenings. The Festival has played host to some of the greatest names in Irish cinema, including Jim Sheridan, Gabriel Byrne, Brendan Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Terry George, Colm Meaney, Fionnula Flannagan, John Boorman, Aidan Quinn and Stephen Rea.