98min - Dir: Ian Fitzgibbon :: Guest Speaker: Dr Tom HutchinsonDr Thomas Hutchinson is Director, McGill Programs in Whole Person Care at McGill University In that role he runs a sister film series, Films that Transform.
"Fitzgibbon has achieved something special…the pic's general appeal will lie in its honest and touching performances." - Variety
14-year-old Donald Delpe (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, young Sam in Love Actually) has to face a number of trials the average teenager doesn't even have to think about, least of which is the cancer that's killing him. Rather than face this real and unpleasant world he delves into the imaginary world of superheroes and villains.
Donald (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is dying of cancer, expressing his angst through drawing dark comics which his parents find disturbing. After a pseudo-suicide attempt, he is sent to see Dr. Adrian King (Andy Serkis, the voices of Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Captain Haddock in Tintin), a cardigan-wearing, Vivaldi-listening, grieving-over-his-wife's-death psychologist. In the manner of such films as Good Will Hunting, Adrian and Donald break every ethical code, becoming best friends. But it's not until Donald meets Shelly ( Aisling Loftus), the new sassy girl in school, that he finds a reason to live.
Filmed on location in Dublin and Wicklow, the feature is based on the 2005 novel by internationally acclaimed author Anthony McCarten, who also wrote the screenplay.
Ian FitzGibbon was born in Dublin and grew up in Belgium. He is an actor, writer and director of the features A Film with Me in It (2008) and Perrier's Bounty (2009) both screened at the Festival.
Variety lauded the Irish/German co-production saying that "Fitzgibbon has achieved something special…the pic's general appeal will lie in its honest and touching performances."
Screen Daily wrote "impressive cast and moving storyline… Serkis and Brodie-Sangster form a convincing and subtle bond."
88min - Dir: Ian Power :: Guest Speaker: Tim HineTim Hine, actor, teacher and member of Cine Gael's Committee, responsible for Publicity.
This pacey comedy is a nostalgic reminder of simpler times in a cash-poor, community-rich Ireland and combined with wonderful performances, is a gem of a family film. - RTE [Taragh Loughrey-Grant]
Based on real life events, the film opens in 1983 when a South American pilot crash lands his plane in a tiny Co. Cork field. Soon, against all the odds, the local's villagers are building a runway to get him back into the air and safely home.
That's exactly the kind of true to life storyline that has crowd pleaser written all over it, which is probably why The Runway walked off with top honors at the Galway Film Fleadh (Festival) in 2010.
Demian Bichir (star of Showtime's Weeds and Stephen Soderberg's Che plays the lost South American pilot flawlessly with able support from the beautiful young Irish actress Kerry Condon (Angela's Ashes, Rome), and the film is shot in the timeless, sleepy little Irish village of Schull in West Cork.
Written and directed by young up and coming Irish director Ian Power, The Runway reproduces many of the true life events. The local people of Dromoleen come together fix up the plane just as they did in real life, and they also lay an extensive new runway at the crash site just as it happened years ago.
In doing all of this in reality they caught, however briefly, the imagination of the entire nation at the time -- and eventually the caught the imagination of Power himself, whose love for the tale is evident in every frame he films.
Power's new fictional take introduces us to nine year old Paco Thomas, a young Cork boy who lives with his hardworking mum and misses his Spanish-born sailor dad, who he doesn't even remember.
Mother and son live in the crippled town of Dromoleen, where Paco spends his days playacting with his traveler friend Frogs and learning Spanish from a linguaphone tape at night (in case his long lost dad ever comes home).
Then late one night Paco's life (and that of his little town) is turned upside down when a mysterious Colombian pilot crash-lands his plane in the woods just outside of town. But just who is this handsome but impossible to understand stranger, and what does he want?
As the film takes us gently toward an answer, Power manages to skillfully weave all the disparate strands of his story until a compelling portrait of the town and its people emerge.
Writer / Director Ian Power can also claim credit for Buskers, his 2000 film school short that was a hit at one of our Irish Short Films evenings - think snot nosed four year old Stephen Moran singing U2's "Still haven't found what I'm looking for"!
Film Ireland :: Much like the runway itself at the time, this movie should capture the hearts and imagination of the rest of the country.
IFTA :: The Runway was chosen as Best Irish Feature at the Galway Film Fleadh 2010 and was this year's winner of the Directors Finders Series at the Directors Guild of America.
RTE :: Winner of the Galway Film Fleadh's Best Irish Feature, 'The Runway' is a heart-warming comedy, loosely based on the true story of a South American pilot who crash landed his plane in Cork in 1983.
88min - Dir: Rebecca Daly :: Guest Speaker: David HanleyDavid Hanley, the newest member of the Ciné Gael Committee, and responsible for Programming, has a BFA in Film Studies from Concordia University and is currently in the MA program at Concordia's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. He has had pieces on cinema published in the journals Offscreen, Isis and The Projector.
"An arresting debut feature from Irish director
Rebecca Daly, The Other Side of Sleep refuses to give in to simple
classification. At once an absorbing mood piece, disquieting fever dream and
stark crime drama, Daly's film avoids the well-worn conventions of the
suspense thriller to dig at something far more brooding and uneasy." -
Michèle Maheux for www.tiff.net
Loosely inspired by the director’s own memory of a girl’s disappearance from her village, the film follows Arlene (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), a young factory worker living alone in a rural Irish community. Ever since her mother was killed mysteriously when she was a child, Arlene has been plagued by chronic sleepwalking and has withdrawn into a solitary life.
This solemn existence takes a jarring turn after she wakes up beside the bloodied corpse of another woman. From here, Daly’s film blurs the line between the reality of the crime and the confusion of Arlene’s unconscious. Her tragic past and mounting sleep deprivation intensify her dreamy state, making her increasingly volatile. She threatens her own safety by wandering into the streets late at night, and into the shady lives of the victim’s family and outcast boyfriend, who has been named as a suspect in the case. Yet nothing is ever certain in this elusive and often abstract murder mystery.
Daly downplays familiar genre trappings to create an ambiguous emotional journey. Extended moments of silence and pensive close-ups amplify Arlene’s slanted perception. Recognizable from her supporting part in Jane Campion’s Bright Star, Campbell-Hughes strikes an emotional bond with the audience. From the film’s unsettling opening moments, Arlene’s melancholic gaze and deep vulnerability are as engrossing and bewildering as the mystery at hand.
105min - Dir: Eugene Brady :: Guest Speaker: Mike BurnsMike Burns, Irish storyteller extraordinaire, teacher, author of Raconte-moi que tu as vu l’Irlande ('Tell me you’ve seen Ireland')and screenwriter for the NFB short film, The Saga of Murdo MacLeod'.
"the Nephew is surprisingly good fun, and the instances of emotional catharsis are well outnumbered by comic moments." - www.fortunecity.com
Pierce Brosnan produced and co-stars in this Irish family drama, directed by Eugene Brady and set on the island of Inis Dara. Since farmer Tony Egan (Donal McCann) has had no contact with his sister over two decades, he's startled to find she married a black New Yorker and managed a Hell's Kitchen grocery, facts he learns when her son, artist Chad Egan-Washington (Hill Harper of Spike Lee films) arrives on the island to scatter her ashes. A romance between Chad and Aislin (Aislin McGuckin) disturbs her father, bartender Joe Brady (Brosnan), not for racial reasons, but because Joe once had an ill-fated love affair with Chad's mother. Chad's questions dig up other long-buried family secrets and tensions.
Tony Egan (Donal McCann) devotes his time to farming a small holding on the Irish island Inishdaragh. He gets a shock when he receives a letter from America from his estranged sister. It is twenty years since she left, and she has written to Tony asking him to look after her teenage son Chad, since she is dying and he is her only living relative. When Chad (Hill Harper) arrives, his presence causes a reaction among the people of the island, and also revives a dark episode in Tony's past, which had lain simmering since his sister's departure.
There are a number of enduring themes in Irish story-telling, regardless of whether the medium is prose, theatre or film-making. One is the claustrophobic nature of small-town or rural life in Ireland, which is accentuated in an island community. No relationships of any sort can escape the attention of the community, and the close-knit nature of the community means that a destructive act can ripple throughout and affect everyone. Another is the long-lived nature of people's memories, where deeds of ancestors continue to colour the lives of the living. And, of course, no self-respecting Irish drama is complete without the sea. The sea, which introduces visitor and invader alike, and which provides the means of escape, usually to the new world (America).
All of these themes feature in The Nephew, though happily as merely background material for a light-hearted and funny love story. It is probably just as well, since the story (by Jacqueline O'Neill and Jack. P. Steele) is almost too complex for its own good. Chad returns to Inisdaragh to learn more about his mother's family and background. His quest causes unease amongst several of the locals, especially his uncle, but also the local bar-owner, Mr. O'Brady (Pierce Brosnan, who also has a credit as executive producer). Egan and O'Brady hate each other, and the source of that hatred is a relationship between O'Brady and Chad's mother decades earlier, and Egan's opposition to it. Matters aren't helped when Chad begins to woo O'Brady's daughter, Aislin (Aislin McGuckin). If that wasn't enough, Chad incurs the enmity of Peter (who secretly desires Aislin), and whom Egan pointedly ignores every time they meet, even though Egan is friendly with his mother, the local postmistress (played by Sinéad Cusack). Phew !
Luckily, the potential for a gloomy drama is avoided by large helpings of humour. Donal McCann is one of Ireland's most underrated and versatile actors, and he conveys just enough bitter humour with dourness, guilt and regret to retain our sympathies. Egan's actions in the past has irreparably changed the course of his family for worse rather than better, and now Chad's arrival offers him a similar set of choices - can he live with the same consequences ? The blossoming relationship between Chad and Aislin is also nicely done (though Chad's interest in her is never clear - her friend Rachel (Lorraine Pilkington) seems far more fun).
There are some nicely observed scenes, particularly Chad's encounters with farming, and a very funny (and accurate) depiction of a choir at a Roman Catholic mass, which features Tony (Phelim Drew) who appears throughout the movie to liven it up. Unfortunately, one of the better moments is spoiled by the trailer.
The film is not without its flaws - the relationships dovetail too neatly, and are far too conveniently resolved, considering the dark nature of the story. In fact, the story would be better served with less characters, since some of them never develop beyond bare outlines. The character of Peter (Luke Griffin) does nothing but sulk and glower in every scene, but there's little else he can do since he has so little dialogue. Pierce Brosnan seems so intent on not upstaging anyone that he practically fades into the background - it's a shame that his character does not have a more central role.
The director never really captures the feeling of a small island community either - panning shots of mountain ranges and expansive lakes don't help (the movie was filmed in Wicklow, by the look of it), and there are probably too many shots of characters staring dolefully out to sea.
Nevertheless, The Nephew is surprisingly good fun, and the instances of emotional catharsis are well outnumbered by comic moments.
Crossword (13 mins, live action) dir. Vincent Gallagher
On a significant day in her life, a lonely woman who finds solace in the daily crossword finds that the answers to the clues are all around her. Is it magic, coincidence or something else entirely?
Best Short, Waterford FF
Best Int’l Short, Edmonton FF
Murdo MacLeod :: Guest Speaker: Scott MacLeodG. Scott MacLeod is a multimedia artist in the truest sense of the term. A critically acclaimed painter and photographer whose work is in many permanent collections, including that of the National Gallery of Canada, he is also a performing songwriter and recording artist. Engaging his lifelong interest in history, with support from the National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker Assistance Program and a Main Film Grant, in 2009 MacLeod added filmmaker to his list of endeavors with the release of After the war with Hannelore- A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989.
Special screening of a Montreal-Irish short film: The Saga of Murdo MacLeod (16 mins, animation)
Written and narrated by Mike Burns, a celebrated Montreal storyteller, The Saga of Murdo MacLeod reveals the history of millions of Canadians whose ancestors found freedom and opportunity only through great sacrifice and the compassion of unlikely allies.
Rich pencil animation is fused with new digital media to provide a deeply moving depiction of an iconic early Canadian immigrant experience.
Nietsche No 5 (6 mins, live action) dir. Shaun O’Connor
An arrogant young man visits the hairdresser in this short film about snobbery and preconceptions.
Best Comedy, Fastnet Short FF
Audience Award, Kerry FF
Small Change (18 mins, live action) dir. Cathy Brady
Slot machines have become a secret thrill for a young single mother. A desperate hope for a big win sees her life spiral out of control.
Best Short Film, IFTA
Best First Short, Cork FF
Best Short, Dublin FF
Asal (13 mins, live action/Irish language) dir. Tom Sullivan
Fionn, a young fisherman from the west of Ireland, risks his life to save a friend.
Best Short, Galway FF
Forty Foot (9 mins, documentary) dir. Leticia Agudo
An intimate look at the '40 Foot' swimming spot in Sandycove, and the people who have been swimming there for years.
Best film, Int’l Documentary Challenge, Hot Docs
Best Irish Short Doc, and Audience Award, Stranger than Fiction
Leitronium (5 mins, animation) dir. David Quin
In a sequel to last year’s award-winning Mr Heaney: a Wee Portrait, the Nobel laureate turns his hand to detective work as he investigates mysterious goings-on in the wilds of Leitrim.
Shoe (13 mins, live action) dir. Nick Kelly
A young man is on a bridge with the intention of throwing himself off, but finds himself being pestered for his money and clothing by a homeless man.
Shortlisted for an Oscar nomination
Best short screenplay, Vail FF
Downpour (4 mins, live action) dir. Claire Dix
An ode to Ireland and to the rain; to love in the rain, love of the rain, love of a country drenched in rain.
Best Irish Short, Foyle FF
Nominated for Best Short, IFTA
Director’s Choice award for Short Film, Boston Irish FF
87min - Dir: Thaddeus O'Sullivan :: Guest Speaker: Pierre PageauPierre Pageau is a retired film teacher (Collège Ahuntsic and Université de Montréal). Pageau currently works as a film journalist (writing for Offscreen and regularly for the French film magazine Séquences) and hosts a weekly (Friday) radio show on Radio Centre-Ville. He has published many articles, mostly on film history, and provided research for two movies on Mack Sennett. In 2006 he published Chronologie du cinéma au Québec (with Yves Lever), and in 2009 Les salles de cinema au Québec, 1898-2008. He is currently researching another book on cinema theatres in South-West Montreal, including Griffintown.
Stella Days is held together by a sterling performance from Martin Sheen and a boldly challenging look at the Irish cultural mentality. Indeed, it's easy to read this tale of a small-town parish priest trying to build a cinema as a metaphor for Irish cultural philosophy. - them0vieblog.com
A small town cinema in rural Ireland becomes the setting for a dramatic struggle between faith and passion, Rome and Hollywood and a man and his conscience.
Stella Days is a story about the conflict between love and duty, hope and faith, and between the excitement of the unknown and the security of the familiar. It encapsulates the dilemma of Ireland in the mid-1950s - on the cusp of the modern but still clinging to the traditions of church and a cultural identity forged in very different times.
Stella Days, starring Martin Sheen, is a story of a man whose love is the church and whose passion is the cinema. Set in the rural community of Borrisokane, County Tipperary in the mid 1950s - it views a world on the cusp of the modern era, a time stimulating both excitement and apprehension.
Produced by Jackie Larkin, Lesley McKimm and Maggie Pope, co-produced by Stein B Kvae and Finn Gjerdrum, and directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan, Stella Days was written for the screen by Antoine O Flatharta and based on the memoir Stella Days: The Life and Times of a Rural Irish Cinema by Michael Doorley.
John Christian Rosenlund is the cinematographer and the original music is by Nicholas Hooper. Anna Rackard is the production designer and the costume designer is Judith Williams. Dermot Diskin is the editor.
87min - Dir: Lelia Doolan, our Guest Speaker: Director...Director, Actor and Teacher, she was appointed chairperson of the Irish Film Board in 1993, a role she fulfilled for three years before retiring. She was also a founder and director of the Galway Film Fleadh.
"The skill of the movie is all hers. It is an absolutely brilliant piece of film making, I was watching thinking, how did she take this woman with the ever changing head and make it coherent?" - Bernadette Devlin on director Doolan
IFTA (Irish Film & Television Awards)
George Morrison Feature Documentary Award
Bernadette; Notes on a Political Journey- Lelia Doolan, (Digital Quilts)
The documentary, directed by Lelia Doolan, mixes archive footage of the younger, firebrand McAliskey with interviews conducted over the last several years. In total the film has been in production for nine years. There is certainly enough material to merit a feature length documentary.
The Coalisland woman rose to prominence in Derry during the Battle of the Bogside, August 1969. The young Tyrone woman received a nine month prison term for incitement to riot, serving four. A founding member of the People's Democracy, Mrs Devlin-McAliskey, as she is now known was elected MP aged 21 years-old. She is still the youngest ever female to win a seat in the House of Commons. Her time there is best remembered for crossing the floor of the House to punch Reginald Malding after he claimed the Paratroopers had opened fire on Bloody Sunday "in self defence." Bernadette lost her seat in Parliament in 1974, the same year she co-founded the Irish Republican Socialist Party, from which she resigned one year later.
This did not remove her from public life or indeed
from being targeted by paramilitaries. In 1981 Bernadette and husband Michael
were shot, her eight times, him nine, by loyalists; they narrowly escaped
with their lives. Bernadette McAliskey is still active in public live.
She recently chaired a meeting in Derry on the plight of republican
prisoners at Maghaberry and is a founding member of the South Tyrone
Empowerment Programme (STEP). Bernadette addresses all of these issues
and topics as well as her attitude to the developing peace process in
'Notes on a Political Journey.' The director of 'Bernadette…',
Lelia Doolan summed up the 87 minute documentary as: "Giving younger
people, and older viewers as well, in a time of bland politics,
a chance to see that there are ways of thinking open to them that
allow them to exercise their freedom as citizens and encourage them."
[from the Derry Journal 20 July 2011]
www.corkfilmfest.org "This remarkable documentary, made over a nine year period, charts the story of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey's political journey since her explosive entry into the public arena in the late sixties."
Jim Nicholl "Bernadette was an internationalist.
She had a vision of the world that went much wider than a united Ireland,
and she was actively supporting the workers struggle.
When five dockers were imprisoned in Pentonville she supported them. There was a real split consciousness with some of the men - the more political were glad she was there, but some said, 'You Irish go home.'
A million people demonstrated over the Pentonville dockers - and the government backed down.
I remember some of the meetings where Bernadette spoke - we would leaflet all the Catholic churches and clubs. You would even have some nuns in the audience sometimes.
She was really very courageous - people all have convictions, but do they have courage?"