Underground Films’ new Irish feature documentary, Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village, is out now on DVD.

An examination of the phenomenon of the Knock Shrine, the film comes from the team behind award-winning film One Million Dubliners.  Directed by Aoife Kelleher, the film’s title is derived from the international press coverage at the time.

In August 1879, fifteen people in the small village of Knock, County 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.

In the film, audiences meet people with compelling stories – invalids seeking cures; the eight sibling owners of rival religious merchandise shops; a woman relieved of multiple sclerosis during a 1970s pilgrimage; feisty Mildred, advocate for gender parity for the shrine’s handmaids; and the staff of the Knock Marriage Bureau, the match-makers behind one thousand marriages and counting.

Father Richard has a vision of his own – to bring Knock into the twenty-first century. The charismatic, outward-looking Parish Priest is on a mission to entice new transatlantic visitors via Knock Airport.

With references to “the scandals”, falling church attendances, and the modernisation of the shrine and the village itself, Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village presents a timely reflection on the position of the Church in modern Ireland. For the faithful it celebrates a beacon of spiritual hope; for sceptics it opens an enticing window on ananachronistic but thriving world.

Fresh from a successful five week run in cinemas nationwide, Underground Films’ producer Lindsay Campbell says :

We’re delighted the DVD is now available – bringing the film to a brand new audience. There are so many intriguing and engaging stories in Knock, and we’re excited to include some great new ones in our DVD extras.

Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village is an Underground Films production in association with RTÉ and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, in association with Shoot for the Moon, and in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board.

Underground Films’ latest film, produced with Hell’s Kitchen, is the Jim Sheridan-directed short 11th Hour . The film starring Salma Hayek and recently premiered in LA and at the Dublin Arabic Film Festival.

Commenting on 11th Hour, producer, Rachel Lysaght, said:

Now more than ever, it’s important we focus on what unites, rather than what divides us. I am so proud of the message of this film, and can’t wait to bring it to audiences worldwide.

For more on  Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village and the other Underground Films title see their website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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