84min - Dir: Kieron J. Walsh [BlinderFilms] :: Guest Speaker: Heather Macdougall [click for article] Macdougall - soon to be Dr Macdougall - has recently successfully defended her doctoral thesis 'Finding a Voice: The Role of Irish-Language Film in Irish National Cinema' for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Humanities Program of Concordia University. For several years, she, together with Kester Dyer, has been responsible for programming Ciné Gael's perennially successful Evening of Short Films.
"It's New Year's Eve in Derry, Northern Ireland, but amidst the joyously drunken revellers parading through the streets, some seriously shady business is brewing." - Iceberg ink
JUMP follows the lives of four twenty-something’s whose lives collide one fateful New Year’s Eve amidst the ancient walls of Derry, Northern Ireland in a night of fast talk, coincidence and intrigue.
Johnny (Richard DormerMartin McCann), a small time crook, and Marie (Charlene McKenna), a dissatisfied shop assistant are both looking for a fresh start. Greta (Nichola Burley) is on the verge of taking her own life and Pearse (Martin McCann) has a bounty on his head for asking difficult questions about his missing brother Eddie Kelly. (from BlinderFilms)
"Kieron J. Walsh's JUMP is assembled a bit like an Irish version of GO, with multiple connected stories told in a non-linear way over the course of one night. Only instead of Vegas it's Derry, Northern Ireland, and instead of just a random night, it's New Years Eve. The addendum I ought to add is that where GO is over-the-top, garish, Hollywoodish and rather unbelievable, JUMP is realistic, funny and sombre in equal measure, well told and basically a better overall film.
Immediately what jumps out from the film is the poetic beginning in which after a short narrative speech from the lead Greta about how New Years simply sucks (the night when people think things will change the next day, it's too tough to get a cab after midnight) and basically it's a piss poor night when people drink too much and end up regretting the fact that at the end of that countdown is...nothing. We go back and see what the night held for all involved whom she introduces one by one.
The tale is wrought of robbery, sex, violence, death, humor and despair. But what shines through is the humanity. Where films like GO and others like this done in America, the crazy messed up stuff that happens is part and parcel of the narrative which normally doesn't stop to analyze and just paces along ignoring that say someone died. In JUMP the characters have an emotional center that causes them to stop and think about these events, the music will hit sombre notes and the character will be forced to realistically wonder on the effects of any given crazyness no matter how small.
At that emotional core of the film are Greta (Nichola Burley) daughter of a mobster and a stranger named Pearse (Martin McCann) whose brother had been murdered by one of the mobster's henchman. It's one of those bitter sweet meetings in which you really just want things to work out. Two people's lives that have been irreparably damaged by those around them through no fault at all of their own, and how in finding one another there is a tangible happiness in the distance.
The film is about making mistakes, and making choices. It's about how moving forward isn't always about looking back or holding grudges. It also really is about how much New Years can suck and is just another day.
Sweet, poignant and very funny JUMP is a great film that should entertain the masses well. It's quieter than a Hollywood film, but therein lies its charm. Not bombastic or sporting a big star cast, JUMP succeeds in telling a smallish, but important story about love, loss, betrayal, and destiny.
Acted, directed, edited and scored very well it's definitely one you ought to go out and see."
Scott and Chris on Iceberg ink
TIFF / Michèle Maheux said "A constellation of variously desperate characters collide on a fateful New Year's Eve in Derry, Northern Ireland in this twisty, blackly comic crime thriller."
Screen Daily wrote "At the core of the film is a charming and charismatic performance from Nichola Burley - who has never been better..."
94min - Dir: Darragh Byrne
:: Guest Speaker:
Paul Dunne [click for Eircan bio]
Principal, Eircan Accounting and Consulting, is a Dublin man and well able to talk about
the city setting for 'Parked' and the effects of Ireland's fallen Tiger economy.
Paul is currently President of St Patrick's Society of Montréal and a past committee member on Ciné Gael.
From Ireland with soul, emerging director Darragh Byrne's debut film drama Parked is an endearing story about the trials and triumphs of a group of refreshingly real characters. - Epoch Times [Ian Kane]
Colm Meaney brings to life Fred, who is a man striving to hold onto his dignity after returning home to his native Ireland after years of working odd jobs in England. He quickly realizes that his prospects seem less rosy when he's unable to procure public assistance, which could have afforded him a flat. He pulls his car into a windswept marina parking lot, and plans to bide his time until he can figure out a way of how to get back onto his feet.
Soon, crusty young junkie Cathal shows up (played by Colin Morgan), and after some mutual trepidations, the two eventually strike up a friendship. Screenwriter Ciaran Creagh and Byrne paint a colorful tapestry filled with angst, melodrama, comedy, and heartfelt character motivations and insights. Meany and Morgan turn in awkwardly effective and believable performances, and the story largely manages to stay out cliché-ville. Their contrasting natures reveal emotional inner layers that are satisfying to behold.
There are even threads of romance and the promise of a new life, as Fred later meets a Finnish pianist (Milka Ahlroth) at a pool that the two men use to bathe and clean themselves in.
What could have easily become an exercise in futility, casting the narrative in the tones of gloom and anguish, Parked instead deftly tells a story of hope and of maintaining one's dignity and self-worth under challenging circumstances. Hopefully, what is not lost upon movie-goers, is the larger picture of modern day economic instability, where it wouldn't be hard to imagine one's self falling into a similar situation. But, this little gem of a film is also nourishing enough when enjoyed solely for it's interesting, quirky script, smooth direction, and unpretentious performances.
RTE - Michael Doherty :: Though shot quickly and on a small budget, Parked is laced with humanity, beautifully photographed by John Conroy and filled with deft cinematic touches; not least Niall Byrne's evocative score.
84 mins - Dir: Pat Collins [Harvest Films & South Wind Blows] :: Speakers: Sarah ThorentonSarah is one of the Canadian members of staff at the Irish Embassy Ottawa. Her responsibilities have included writing articles and editing for their newsletter. She is presently Consular and Cultural Officer in Ottawa. and David Hanley [click for Offscreen index] One of our committee members responsible for programming, David is currently in the MA program in Concordia's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. He regularly has pieces on cinema published in the journals Offscreen, Isis and The Projector.
"Pat Collins, an unclassifiable Irish talent, returns with another starkly beautiful, deliberately confounding quasi-documentary. Close your eyes after a first viewing and you will recall widescreen shots of lapping seas, big skies and sprawling wetlands" - from Irish Times
Eoghan is a sound recordist who is returning to Ireland for the first time in 15 years. The reason for his return is a job offer: to record landscapes free from man-made sound. His quest takes him to remote terrain, away from towns and villages.
Throughout his journey, he is drawn into a series of encounters and conversations which gradually divert his attention towards a more intangible silence, one that is bound up with the sounds of the life he had left behind.
Influenced by elements of folklore and archive, Silence unfolds with a quiet intensity, where poetic images reveal an absorbing meditation on themes relating to sound and silence, history, memory and exile.
RTE Guide :: "Beautifully photographed and leanly played by MacGiolla Bhride and others, Silence recalls other powerful Irish films (Garage, One Hundred Mornings) whose narrative is driven by imagery and sound. Listen, watch and wonder"
"By turns abstract, poetic and curiously haunting, it's an indefinable, enigmatic beast - one that demands your attention, and deserves it." - Image magazine
"The symphonic quality to the cinematography, together with the quality of Mac Giolla Bhride's turn in the central role, results in a spectacle that will resonate with those who appreciate quality cinema. Silence is a deeply personal story, but it's loaded with a poignant universal resonance - it's a silence that can be said to speak volumes" - Sunday Independent
"Silence offers a pointed treatment of the story of Ireland for an audience willing to engage. The quality of work here whets the appetite for a companion piece set in a bustling Irish city telling of the flip side of the coin that has left our identity behind." - Ramp.ie
"Director Pat Collins is the star here. He manages to get so much right and he uses such simple and beautiful touches to achieve this. His use of archive footage is superb and even the use of maps to give the audience the idea of where Eoghan travels is so simple and so successful that you can't help but be utterly impressed" - Thumped.com
"It's a haunting film, though, not least because it feels like a rare indulgence, allowing yourself the tactile pleasure of stepping outside the blare of the day's rat-run to wallow in the luxury of hush, space and stalled time. It's as if the entire film is one long Pinteresque pause, a deep drawing of some life-giving breath, and for that alone it's a hugely enjoyable experience." - Irish Examiner
"Silence is a powerful piece of film and a credit to Irish cinema. It excels in being philosophical without being morose. Mac Giolla Bhríde gives a compelling performace and makes a flawless transition from perfectionist sound recorder to soul-searching pilgrim" - The University Observer
"Silence is a remarkable film: daring, original, even groundbreaking in its way. Though my -- or indeed any -- description of the film will make it sound pretentious and offputtingly arid, in fact it's anything but. Eoghan's task might be ethereal, but Collins grounds his film deep in the western soil." - Irish Independent
76 mins - Dir: Dónal Ó Céilleachair & Julius Ziz :: Guest Speaker: Fr. Manus BradleyFather Bradley was born in Northern Ireland, and is from the Diocese of Derry. He is now Pastor in St Ignatius Loyola parish, having earlier been Pastor for one year at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cornwall, Ontario.
"Magical, wondrous, sensual and spiritual... Aesthetically this film is a varied feast of epic sweeping views that would make Peter Jackson jealous... a nostalgic, heart-wrenching and at times hilarious piece of cinema." - Gavin Burke for The Irish Independent
Dreamtime, Revisited is a "walkabout in dreamtime Ireland" inspired by the works of Irish writer, poet and philosopher, John Moriarty.
The film weaves together contemporary and archive material, with excerpts from some of Moriarty's key talks, in a labyrinthine invocation of his "dream-vision" of Ireland. Dreamtime Revisited is an observational film mirroring Moriarty's gaze upon the face of contemporary and historical Ireland. It is an impressionistic film retracing the spiritual and poetic dimensions of Ireland across the folds of its landscape. And an abstract film, following Moriarty's mythological lead into the depths of the nation's Dreamtime.
Annual Short Film Evening :: Guest Speakers: Heather Mcdougall and Kester Dyer Heather and Kester, both Concordia Canadian Irish Studies alumni, are our programmers for our Short Films evening. This is as big a job as programming the remainder of our season!
Rhinos (17 mins, drama) dir. Shimmy Marcus
A chance encounter between a vivacious German tourist and a shy reserved Irishman leads to a day of unspoken connection and a deep understanding of each other despite their language barrier.
Best International Short Film - Cork Film Festival
Best Film - European Short Film Festival, Brest
Best International Short Film - Cork Film Festival
Uisce Beatha (8 mins, history) dir. Sean O'Connor
Set in 1912, Uisce Beatha (Irish for "Water Of Life" or "Whiskey") is the true story of Tom, a young man who leaves his home in rural Ireland to cross the ocean on the doomed Titanic.
"Made in Cork" winner - Cork Film Festival
After You (7 mins, animation) dir. Damien O'Connor
A doorman at a Dublin city hotel spends many happy years opening his beloved door for the hotel residents. One day, much to his horror, he discovers that his job and happiness may be under threat.
Best Animation - Kerry Film Festival
Two Wheels, Good
(9 mins, live action/animation) dir. Barry Gene Murphy
Combining live action and animation, four inspiring veterans of the open road celebrate life in the saddle.
Best First Short - Cork Film Festival
The Girl with the Mechanical Maiden
(15 mins, drama) dir. Andrew Legge
An inventor takes an unorthodox approach to childrearing.
Best short - Galway Film Fleadh
An Rinceoir (4 mins, documentary) dir. Elaine Gallagher
At a competition, a young dancer waits nervously in the wings. Once on stage, however, she shines, demonstrating her great passion for Irish dancing.
Official selection at festivals in Ireland, Russia,
Turkey, Italy, Sweden and the United States
Tríd an Stoirm
(7 mins, animation) dir. Fred Burdy
A woman forces a Banshee to guide her to the Celtic realm of Death to bring her husband back to life.
Best Animation - Los Angeles Arthouse Film Festival
Best Short - California Film Awards
Irish Folk Furniture
(8 mins, documentary) dir. Tony Donoghue
An animated documentary about repair and recycling in rural Ireland. In the making of this film sixteen pieces of abandoned folk furniture were restored and returned back into daily use.
Jury award for Animation - Sundance Film Festival
Audience Award, Experimental Film - Red Rock Film Festival
Best short screenplay, Vail FF
85 mins - Dir: Margo Harkin [Besom Productions] :: Guest: Margo HarkinAfter producing the banned documentary Mother Ireland in 1988, Harkin co-wrote and directed her first drama, Hush-a-Bye Baby (1990), which won “Best Drama” at the International Celtic Film Festival the first of several international awards including The Ecumenical Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival 1990.... introduced by Mary McDaidMary McDaid, Derry born, is Manager of McGill’s Cyclical Unit Review Office in the McGill University Provost's office, and most notably is a past-President of the St Patrick's Society, as well as being on the Ciné Gael Committee for several years. She has remained a keen fan of our programming and more enthusiastic yet about her Derry roots, and about Irish cultural life in Montréal.
"Bloody Sunday represents one of the most significant human rights abuses in British history and this film provides a new perspective on the debate." - Paula Larkin, co-ordinator of Document 8 Derry Journal
On 30th January 1972 the British Army shot dead thirteen unarmed civilians on a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland. At the subsequent Tribunal of Inquiry Lord Chief Justice Widgery exonerated the soldiers and blighted the reputation of those who were killed and wounded by describing them as gunmen and bombers. In 1998, in a move that was widely seen as significant in sealing the Northern Ireland peace process, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new Tribunal of Inquiry into the day that has become known as Bloody Sunday.
The events of 30 January 1972 have been covered countless times by journalists from throughout the world. This documentary is different in that it is the first account by a local director who was herself an eyewitness to that tragic day. Bloody Sunday: A Derry Diary follows the course of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry from the point of view of the families of the victims as they attended venues between Derry and London over a six-year period. We hear many new eye witness accounts by families and friends of the dead and those wounded on the day and view newly discovered archive footage uncovered during the course of the Inquiry.
Derry journalist and campaigner Eamonn McCann, who followed the tribunal closely over a six-year period between 1998 and 2004, interprets the complicated evidence by the main players from both sides. Key witness, Bishop Edward Daly, gives us his account of the tragic events and describes how he did his best to aid the wounded and dying. When called to give evidence to the Inquiry the filmmaker, Margo Harkin, documents her own moral dilemma over the potential impact of revealing all of her evidence. Derry Journal
72 mins - Dir: Alessandro Negrini [Produced by Margo Harkin, Besom Productions]
"Paradiso has the flavour of a fairytale, one of those you tell the children at night, before they go to sleep. Just, it's an all-true story." - Valerio Moggia from Die Brücke (The Bridge)
"'Paradiso', like Heaney's poems, helps us trust our own eyes with a touch of celluloid poetry." from Belfast Telegraph
"…with a touch of Buena Vista Social Club and an exquisite cinematography mixed with a lyrical approach, the multi-award winning documentary 'Paradiso' is an elegy for a community and its attempt to surmount the worst fence ever: fear." from Il Messaggero
Shot in Derry, the film follows Roy Arbuckle, a man who decides it's time to challenge one of the monstrosities left by the war - fear. He wants to reunite his former showband, The Signetts, and his formers musicians who are now in their seventies, organising a major dance night. He hopes to get Protestants and Catholics dancing together again in The Fountain, a dying Protestant district.
Paradiso was awarded at the 'We The Peoples Film Festival' in London at the National Film Theatre, winning its 9th award and has previously won Best Documentary at the "Arcipelago" festival in Rome, and has won awards in India, Hungary and Bangladesh.
Derry, Northern Ireland: there are plenty of ghettos around the world, all of them with their own injustice, each of them living on its knees. There is one ghetto condemned to something even worse: it has forgotten its music. It's The Fountain, in the heart of the city: once a vibrant community, where people used to dance together despite religious differences, now a disappearing Protestant neighborhood killed by fear and politics and turned into an open air prison, now living behind a fence.
Roy Arbuckle, a musical troubadour, decides it's time to challenge one of the monstrosities left by the war in Northern Ireland: fear. He wants to reunite his former showband, The Signetts and his formers musicians, nowadays in their seventies, that lived the heady glamour of the Show Band era, in a high-risk attempt to try to do something that would be normal anywhere else but not yet in Northern Ireland: having a major dance night, inviting their old enemies and get Protestants and Catholics dancing together.
If it wasn't enough, for this event Roy wants to open up the stronghold of Protestant heritage and culture in Derry: the Memorial Hall, once the most popular dance hall in the heart of the city. A colorful, melancholic and ironic musical journey through a ghetto that, even if it find itself in its last dance, it doesn't want to miss a single step of it. Let's save pessimism for better times.
72 mins - Dir: Margo Harkin
:: Guest Speaker:
Margo HarkinOur guest for this Derry Weekend, Director Harkin
will speak about this film and conduct a Q & A afterwards.
After producing the banned documentary Mother Ireland in 1988, Harkin co-wrote and directed her first drama, Hush-a-Bye Baby (1990), which won “Best Drama” at the International Celtic Film Festival the first of several international awards including The Ecumenical Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival 1990....
"...a terrific piece of work". If my play did one good thing, it was this," - Seamus Heaney from www.derryjournal.com
The Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and actor Stephen Rea were among the packed house, which gave Derry film maker Margo Harkin's new documentary two standing ovations, at the Dublin International Film Festival.
The Far Side of Revenge follows dramatist Teya Sepinuck and a group of Northern Irish women as they develop a project presenting their own, often shocking, stories to the public. The group from politically diverse backgrounds includes Kathleen, whose husband was blown up by the IRA in 1990 and Anne, a former quartermaster in the IRA, whose uncle was murdered by the British Army on Bloody Sunday in 1972.
The documentary's title is a quotation from the 1990 Heaney play - The Cure at Troy - and it explores similar themes of forgiveness and rebirth.
Harkin's film delivers an insight into a process of creation where the pain of individual stories is counterbalanced by the bond that develops between the women. 'This is a lasting friendship' said Anne, a former quartermaster with the IRA, speaking in the IFI at the Q&A following the film.
This powerful documentary of Margo Harkin's is the latest in a body of work that has chronicled the Troubles from 12 Days in July (1997) to Bloody Sunday - A Derry Diary (2010). A study on reconciliation, it also experiments with visual style for the first time since her debut feature film Hush a Bye Baby (1990). ...above from www.ifi.ie and www.derryjournal.com
The film delivers a penetrating insight into a process of creation where the pain of individual stories is counterbalanced by the joyful bond that deepens between the women over a nine-month period. from Belfast Film Festival 2012
88min - Dir: Lenny Abrahamson,
Lenny Abrahamson by videoLenny Abrahamson was born in Dublin in 1966.
He studied physics and philosophy at Trinity College Dublin. While at university
he directed short videos with the Trinity Video Society, which he co-founded with Ed Guiney.
He graduated in 1991 with first class honours (gold medal). His first short film, 3 Joes,
won the Best European Short Film Award at the 1991 Cork Film Festival and
the Organiser's Award at the 1992 Oberhausen Short Film Festival....(IMDB)
with a slideshow prelude on Milo O'Shea RIP and a reminiscence by Anthony Kirby ...hotelier at the Ritz for most of his career, latterly taking up an avocation, first, as a film review journalist, then short story writer, and now writer/memoirist with a historical novel that draws on his own family's history.
Anthony will talk about his thirty+ year friendship with Milo and Kitty.
from [Element Pictures, Irish Film Board] with Cast: Jack Reynor, Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley
"The film is a striking portrait of a social class and a low-key allegory about a country in moral crisis." - Philip French, The Observer, from the Guardian
"I was interested in how we nurture our elite" ... Lenny Abrahamson
Cinema legend loves the rise of a film-school rookie with a camera, a megaphone and a maxed-out credit card, but that is not Lenny Abrahamson's story. When he made his 2004 debut, Adam and Paul, he was already in his late 30s, with an abandoned PhD in philosophy and a career in commercials behind him. "I'm a bit of a late developer generally," he sighs. "But the good thing about being a filmmaker is you still count as young all the way through your 40s." He is 46 now, with wispy red hair and soft eyes, and so modest that he squirms visibly when I ask him to pinpoint his place in Irish cinema. "All the taxi drivers inDublin have heard of Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. I guess I'm the next one down."
Three films into his career, he has already established a recognisable sensibility (dryly funny, inquisitive, plangent) and been honoured with a retrospective at the Irish Film Institute. Nigel Andrews of the Financial Times observed that Abrahamson and his regular collaborator Mark O'Halloran "may be the best thing that ever happened to Irish cinema". O'Halloran, who wrote and starred in Adam and Paul, and scripted the director's second film, Garage, says of his friend: "He's enormously respected in Ireland. All the films have done brilliantly at the box office, which is unusual: they're arthouse films, there's no two ways about it, and yet they strike a chord. It's hard to elbow your way into the Cineplex world, but Len has done it: he puts bums on seats." Those taxi drivers had better get on the case, and fast.
Abrahamson's haunting new picture, What Richard Did, retains the confidence and control of its predecessors, but the 18-year-old hero (played by Jack Reynor, recently announced as the lead in the next Transformers movie) could hardly be less of an outsider. He's handsome, respected, comfortably middle-class, larky with his rugby team-mates and tender toward his girlfriend. But a sense of foreboding permeates the film from the opening seconds when Richard mutters innocuously: "Somebody's got a problem." That somebody is him. Prospective viewers unfamiliar with the source material (Kevin Power's factually-based novel Bad Day in Blackrock) will by this point be asking: what did he do? Let's preserve the mystery and say only that what Richard did falls outside the category of jolly japes.
"Generally speaking, the misfit's story is easier to tell," Abrahamson says. "I've done it myself - twice. Richard is a good guy, but good guys are complex, too. I was thinking about those boys and the pressure they're under, their inability to deal with fractures in that perfect sphere of life. It's the kind of situation we all know, where we disappoint ourselves, and we have to deal with the disjunction between what we would like to be and what we are. I was interested in the narrative of how we nurture our elite in this society: all that stuff about believing in yourself and not accepting second best. Our inner world is at odds with that. What's fascinating about a boy of Richard's age is that he still believes his own bullshit. If you meet an adult who believes his own schtick to that extent, you're talking about someone like Simon Cowell - you know, a monster. But at 18 or 19, it's naively-held and it can be attractive."
The picture is characterised by subtly disorienting ellipses and stylistic tensions. Sometimes the cinematography is as pretty as Terrence Malick at magic hour; elsewhere, the actors are stalked by a predatory steadicam. Through it all, Abrahamson's curiosity about his subjects is palpable. "I like to feel that the implied director of the film is a slightly academic, tweedy figure. He's scratching his chin, asking: 'What is this person doing? Let me get in a little closer.' I pitched it as a kind of natural history project where I take this tribe and see if I can understand what's going on with them." That said, What Richard Did takes place much more in Abrahamson's own world than either of his previous films. As a privately-educated, middle-class filmmaker, he has experienced different sorts of class hostility. "Occasionally you get people saying: 'Who'd want to watch something about these privileged kids?' And with Adam and Paul, you'd sometimes hear: 'Who the hell does he think he is, making a film about homeless drug addicts?' But I live in this country: I can talk about anything I like in my work. I feel very bullish about that."
If Abrahamson speaks eloquently about the insecurities that plague Richard, it may be because he has experienced his own. He made a splash in his early 20s with several short films before sidelining his career to accept a scholarship to Stanford to study philosophy. "As soon as I got there, I felt really unsure. I loved the subject but I felt lonely, and I was aching to do something in film. Then once I was back in Dublin six months later, I thought: 'What have I chucked away?'" He began rising later and later each day until he found he was sitting at his typewriter through the night. "It was this weird nocturnal existence. I was miserable and I was producing nothing I liked." An escape route came through directing commercials: his witty, glossy lager ads depicting male fantasy worlds (the "Carlsberg doesn't do …" series) were something of a phenomenon. "It was a chance for me to test whether I could pull off this filmmaking thing after all." He could. It marked one of the few occasions anyone's professional prospects had been improved by alcohol. [Ryan Gilbey - The Guardian]