In 1992 the Saint Patrick's Society of Montréal...
...with the urgings first of Anthony Kirby. and then of Lynn Doyle, Gus O'Gorman, Michael Kenneally and several other worthies, it was decided that Montréal's Irish community - indeed, Montréal's film community - needed an Irish film series.
The funding was forthcoming, and the Society has remained our most important and generous donor; Concordia University and Le Conservatoire d’art cinématographique de Montréal provided a cinema and an array of Irish films to offer to our audience.
Latterly, the School of Canadian Irish Studies has given us an even firmer footing in Concordia, and within Montréal's Irish Community. Ireland's Embassy to Canada has been an enthusiastic supporter all along the way. The ranks of our sponsors have grown over the years and we thank all of them, and you our audience.
So here we are, 25 years on from our founding, one of the longest running Irish film series in the world. This is a momentous year as you can see from our banner, with our celebration sharing the stage with Montréal, Canada, and the NHL. For our celebration, we hope to show 25 films - some long, some short. Join us.
Our programmers have been scanning film fleadh catalogues and soliciting recommendations and screeners from our film and filmmaker contacts in Ireland, and especially from IFI, the Irish Film Institute .
We are, of course, always interested in direct contact from filmmakers with films they'd like to submit. The 2013 winner of our first-time Short Films Audience Award was Shimmy Marcus, with Rhinos. He had contacted us with a submission before we'd discovered it ourselves. He was back again the next season with a second winner, Hannah Cohen's Holy Communion!
We are always interested in submissions and recommendations of Irish-related films, whether they be features, shorts, documentary, animation, in Irish or English.
85 min - Dir: Peter Foott with: Alex Murphy, Chris Walley, Hilary Rose, PJ Gallagher and Dominic McHale
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The trailer has also become something of a sensation and the film has already attracted a rave notice from Graham Norton who has praised Murphy and Walley as "a classic movie double act". - Irish Times [Tara Brady]
These young offenders may steal your bikes, but they'll also come back for your heart! There's real chemistry in both the bromance between both the two boys, and in the relationship between Conor and his Mam (Hilary Rose). - Film Ireland [Gemma Creagh]
Comedy feature inspired by Ireland's biggest cocaine seizure of €440 million off the coast of Cork in 2007, The Young Offenders follows two Cork inner-city teenagers, Conor and Jock, as they embark on a 160km road trip on stolen bikes in the hopes of finding an unrecovered bale of cocaine.
The Young Offenders premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh on 8 July 2016, and won Best Irish Feature Film at the festival. The Irish Examiner scored it 4/5, saying "huge potential for that rare breakout hit which also attains a cultish following with endlessly quotable one liners." The Irish Times named it as one of the highlights of the Fleadh, saying "Chris Walley and Alex Murphy are brilliant as track-suited layabouts who, though lazy, impulsive and ignorant, remain endlessly lovable throughout." The film had its United States premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin Texas on 23 September 2016, where it won a Special Mention for Best Comedy Debut. The Austin Chronicle commented saying "The Young Offenders is a charming return for Irish comedy."
105 min - Dir: Brendan J Byrne with: Martin McCann, Fintan O'Toole, Charles Moore, Richard English, Norman Tebbit, Tim Pat Coogan, Dessie Waterworth, Gerry Adams
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The Irish Times awarded the film four stars out of five, calling it " a comprehensive, balanced, gripping tale of terrible times." Empire said " Narratives of the Northern Irish Troubles are a nightmare of bias and bullshit - this superior doc does better than most in cutting through both." Wikipedia
In the spring of 1981 Irish Republican Bobby Sands' 66-day hunger strike brought the attention of the world to his cause.
Drawing on an Irish Republican tradition of martyrdom, Sands' emotive, non-violent protest to be classified as a political prisoner became a defining moment in 20th century Irish history.
Sands' death after 66 days marked a key turning point in the relationship between Britain and Ireland, and brought a global spotlight to the Northern Irish conflict which eventually triggered international efforts to resolve it. - The Irish Post [Stephen Martin]
66 Days is a major feature length documentary exploring Sands' remarkable life and death, 35 years on from his ultimate sacrifice. The spine of the film is comprised of Sands' own words, drawn from his hunger strike diary, a unique insight into the man and his beliefs as he embarked on his final journey.
Directed by award winning filmmaker Brendan J Byrne and produced by Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films, this landmark non-fiction feature film will have its world premiere at a major international film festival in 2016. - Wikipedia
65 min - Dir: Claire Dix
"This is a celebration of Joan Denise the artist, the dancer, and the woman who was best known, loathed, and loved as Miss Moriarty."
Roads Entertainment presents a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Claire Dix. We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty (Ireland, 2016) is an intimate portrait of Joan Denise Moriarty, a visionary who overcame enormous odds by doggedly following her dream of bringing ballet to every corner of Ireland. A pioneer of early 20th century Irish dance, Joan Denise Moriarty dared to create a uniquely Irish form of ballet inspired by her love of nature and Irish folklore.
A divisive figure, both her professional and personal life has been subject to much scrutiny over the years, and remain contentious issues for those who knew her. Despite these controversies, Joan Denise Moriarty has left behind a remarkable legacy of dancers and dance lovers who may never have found ballet without her influence.
Oíche Nollaig na mBan / Women's Christmas Night
(2016 6 mins, poetic interprretation) dir. Oonagh Kearney
Women's Christmas Night/Oíche Nollaig na mBan is a visual response to the famous poem by Irish language poet Seán Ó'Ríordáin. Working with a schoolgirl choir and intergenerational cast of women based in Cork, the film celebrates the power of the 'unleashed feminine' in a radical re-imagining of his poem.
Best Cork Short
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
Moore Street Masala! (5 mins, musical) dir. David O’Sullivan
In Ireland’s first indigenously produced Bollywood musical, shop clerk Baba falls for the sexy estate agent across the street. When he sells her lunch, she steals his heart. There is only one way their love can make it... Bollywood Style!
Audience Award, Cork Film Festival
91 min - Dir: Irvin Kershner with: Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Liam Redmond, Tom Harvey, Libby McClintock, Leo Leyden, Powys Thomas, Tom Kneebone, Leslie Yeo, Vernon Chapman, Paul Guèvremont. Scenario: Brian Moore.
"The Luck of Ginger Coffey is a 1964 film directed by Irvin Kershner. It was filmed in Montreal by Crawley Films, and is based on the Governor General's Award winning novel by Northern Irish-Canadian writer Brian Moore." Wikipedia
"What is attractive about this picture is the way it is made and played. It has a neat and crisp naturalness about it, a compelling illusion of truth. Brian Moore's screenplay, written from his novel, is firm in structure and dialogue and an air of reality is given to it by dandy location shooting in Montreal." - New York Times [ Bosley Crowther]
"Downtown Montreal of the mid 1960's is displayed here like you have never seen. And Irvin Kershner, the director of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, proves here that he was quite capable of handling a small, intimate picture."
An ambitious Irishman emigrates with his wife and daughter to Montreal with plans
of becoming a successful journalist. He soon discovers that it takes more than luck to make it in this hostile foreign land.
Barely able to survive, his family begins to lose faith in him as he makes one drunken promise after another to them in his quest for success.
Will his wife and daughter return to Ireland or will they stand by his side through thick and thin?
Robert Shaw (most famous for Jaws, but also known for performances in A Man for All Seasons and The Sting, among many others) and Mary Ure (Look Back In Anger, Sons and Lovers) give outstanding performances in this screen adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Brian Moore (Black Robe, Hitchcock's Torn Curtain).
This is a truly excellent film adored by critics everywhere and it is one of those films that, once you see it, you wonder why it is not better known. Part of the reason it has languished in obscurity is because it was never given a proper release during or following its limited theatrical run. Fortunately, Montreal's C/FS (Le Cinéclub / The Film Society) has located a very nice uncut 16mm film print for you. What better way to celebrate 25 years for both Cine Gael and C/FS than a co-presentation that resurrects this Montreal-made gem of a movie. Be one of the lucky ones to see it before it returns to the shadows of obscure wonders.
Shaw's acclaimed performance and foray into Canadian film is notable given the film's release between two of Shaw's landmark performances in From Russia with Love and A Man for All Seasons. Shaw stars as James 'Ginger' Coffey, a down-on-his-luck Irishman who moves to Montreal with hopes to better his prospects and finds that little changes for his fortune in this new land. The film co-stars Mary Ure, as Ginger's wife Vera. (The two were also married in real life.) The film is adapted from the novel by Brian Moore, whose novels have provided the source for other Canadian milestones like Black Robe. www.cinemablographer.com [Pat Mullen]
The Nation Holds Its Breath (2016)
(20 mins, comedy)
Dir: Kev Cahill
who was Director of last year's Audience favourite, and has again won the Audience Award this year!
On the day of the most important football match in Irish history a young father-to-be is torn between witnessing the miracle of childbirth and the miracle of reaching the quarter finals of the World Cup.
Audience Award - Audi Dublin International Film Festival
Audience Award - Chicago Irish Film Festival
Best Direction - LA Indie Festival
Five Stone of Lead (2016) (5:26mins, documentary) Dir: Jonny Madderson
This is the story of 12-year-old Dylan who is tiny, even for a jockey. At the Glenbeigh Races, one of the biggest events in the grassroots horse racing calendar, Dylan has the chance to make a name for himself...
Best Doc - Kinsale
Short Film of the Week - Esquire
The Fireman and the Nurse (2016)
(14 mins, drama) Dir: Gemma Doorly
It's 1994, teenagers Anna and Paul fall in love at a school disco. Twenty years later it is going to take some imagination to stay "happy ever after."
Best Short Film - Underground Cinema Film Festival
Best Director - Wexford Film Festiva
Joining Dots (2016)
(12 mins, animation) Dir: Fiona Ryan
Luna traces constellations which come alive in the night sky. She tries to show her dad, who struggles to understand her imaginary world.
Best First Animation - Galway Film Fleadh
Céad Ghrà (2014)
(12 mins, drama) Dir: Brian Deane
Two best friends set off on a quest in pursuit of their first crush.
Best Short - Dublin GAZE Festival
Strangers in the Night (2015)
(12 mins, drama) Dir: Conor McMahon
Two lonely people find the love they were searching for. Well, one lonely person and one banshee!
Audience Award - Chicago Irish Film Festival
Audience Award - L'étrange Festival
Seán Hillen, Merging Views (2016)
(10 mins, documentary) Dir: Paddy Cahill
This new short documentary portrait observes artist Seán Hillen as he creates a beautiful new photomontage. He shares thoughts about his work and recent personal discovery.
Best Short Doc - Galway Film Fleadh
Best Short Doc - Clones Film Festival
Second to None (2016)
(7 mins, animation) Dir: Vincent Gallagher
A black comic drama from the perspective of the second-oldest person in the world-a younger twin brother-as he starts to form a cunning plan to succeed to the top tier of the oldies list.
Best Animation - Galway Film Fleadh 2016
(14 mins, drama) Dir: James Doherty
A macho Traveller becomes increasingly concerned that his young son is soft.
ICCL Human Rights Film Awards
Best Film - Earls Court Film Festival
Special Mention - Dublin International Film Festival
95 min - Dir: John Butler with: Nick Galitzine, Fionn O'Shea, Moe Dunford, Andrew Scott, Jay Duffy, Michael McElhatton, Hugh O'Conor, Ardal O'Hanlon
:: Guest Speaker:
"A music-mad 16-year-old outcast at rugby-mad boarding school forms an unlikely friendship with his dashing new roommate, in this funny and observant coming-of-age tale from Irish novelist and filmmaker John Butler." MovieWeb
In Handsome Devil, two very different boys are forced to share a room together at their boarding school. Ned's an effete, sensitive musician, and Conor the star out-half on the rugby team. Over the course of the year, the boys become unlikely friends while an inspirational English teacher (Andrew Scott) and a rugby coach (Moe Dunford) begin to exert contrasting influence upon them. Like American high school films (Dead Poet's Society, Election), this film is about finding one's own voice, and how kids sometimes end up teaching their teachers. Hinterland Films
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25 min each - Dir: Cathy Brady with: Seána Kerslake and Nika McGuigan, Amy Huberman ,Norma Sheahan, Laurence O' Fuarain, Muiris Crowley and Eileen Walsh
"Can't Cope, Won't Cope is a darkly comic drama detailing the unravelling of a friendship between two co-dependent young women as the hangover wears off and their lives and priorities begin to radically diverge." - Rte.ie
Stefanie Preissner has captured the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something woman grappling with life in the capital city with such accuracy that it is at times like looking at a mirror image of your own world. And that is not always easy.
Some details are obvious: the smoking area in Coppers, the photo keyring from Flannerys, the walking shoes tucked under the desk. While others are less so - the overreliance on the best friend from home, the worried mammy, struggles to pay rent and the search for a fulfilling career in a place far away from home supports. We are beginning to get a sense that the main character Aisling really is struggling to hold it all together.
is great craic, clearly a smart woman working at an investment company; fiercely loyal to her best friend Danielle
and has men falling at her feet.
From outside looking in you might think she is coping just grand. But the reality is quite the opposite.
She uses drink as an escape from her reality and doesn't slow down to think about the effect it is having on her life - from work and relationships to friends and family. There is no doubt she has a great time doing so, but is the perpetual hangover worth the high?
Her ability to bury those insecurities in a sea of vodka and tequila may seem a little far-fetched, but as young women I think we have all either been in those shoes or witnessed someone who has. -Irish Times - [Niamh Towey]
(20 mins, drama)
Dir: Cathy Brady with: Eileen Walsh, Johnny Harris
Mary wakes up on the sofa with a banging headache. Her morning routine is interrupted
by a persistent reporter. She is a broken lost soul that has suffered a devastating life tragedy. But this morning is the morning
she decides to deal with what has happened. Morning is a truly gripping drama. Brady has managed to give a sneak peek
into a world no one would ever wish to experience.
Best Short - Irish Film and Television Awards 2013
Underwire Film festival 2013
Small Change (2010)
(17 mins, drama)
Dir: Cathy Brady with: Nora-Jane Noone, Olivia Nash, Tina Maxwell
Karen, a young single mother is bored by routine. Slot machines have become her secret thrill and addiction. With Christmas looming, a desperate hope for a big win sees her life spiral out of control.'br. This award-winning short sees single mother Karen (Nora-Jane Noone) escape the monotony of her supermarket job through the excitement of the slot machines at a local arcade. Already with emptying pockets, Karen's need to provide for her daughter leads her to spending more and more time working the slot machines. Small Change captures in fine detail the magnetic appeal of the slot machine and contrasts it with the morale sapping environment Karen lives and works in.
(33 mins, drama)
Dir: Cathy Brady with: Nora-Jane Noone, Andrew Simpson and Barry Keoghan
In Wasted Nora-Jane Noone plays Sarah, a 30-year-old woman who strikes up a friendship with two teenage boys whose rivalry for her attention develops menacing undertones.
115 min - Dir: Aisling Walsh with: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke
"Academy Award nominees Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine) and Ethan Hawke star in the true story of Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada's premier folk artists. TIFF [Michèle Maheux]
Maud Lewis is among the most inspiring figures in Canadian art. Afflicted with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she spent her early life dismissed for what was presumed to be her limited ability. But Lewis' colourful paintings, made on surfaces ranging from beaverboard to cookie sheets, established her as one of our country's premier folk artists. Starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, this moving film explores Lewis' life in all its heartbreak and triumph.
Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, 1937. Maud Dowley (Hawkins) is stuck living with her unsympathetic aunt. Desperate to break away, she responds to a local fish peddler's call for a housekeeper. Everett Lewis (Hawke) is disagreeable and initially cruel to Maudie, but the two quickly acknowledge that each is in their own way a social outcast. They need and understan d each other. Within weeks, they marry.
One day a summer resident comes calling. She's a New Yorker, wears alluring clothing and talks like Katharine Hepburn. She sees something in Maudie's paintings and commissions one. Suddenly Maudie's pastime is recognized as having real value. People come from far and wide. Eventually her work will hang in the White House.
Cinematographer Guy Godfree fills Maudie with majestic images of maritime landscape and light, while director Aisling Walsh `focuses on character, drawing performances of emotional complexity and great physical detail from her leads.
Though set in the past, Maudie speaks to the present in many ways - this is, after all, a tale of a woman asserting herself as a generator of both art and commerce. But it is also a story of the power of creativity to transform a life and touch the soul.
TIFF [Michèle Maheux]
82 min - Dir: Darren Thornton with: Seána Kerslake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bailey, Denise MacCormack, Siobhán Shanahan
"It is a tough and tender story about friendship, first love, and letting go of the glory days."
"Darren Thornton's A Date for Mad Mary is the best Irish film I've seen in a long time, and blends comedy, romance and pathos with extraordinary skill. " www.independent.ie [Paul Whitington]
Joint winner of Best Irish Feature at this year's Galway Film Fleadh, A Date for Mad Mary, based on Yasmine Akram's theatrical monologue, sees director Darren Thornton make an auspicious feature debut, centred on an exceptional performance by lead actress Seána Kerslake. Upon release following a six month prison sentence, Mary returns home to Drogheda, eager to reunite with best friend Charlene (Charleigh Bailey), for whom she is about to act as maid of honour.
Mary's evolving relationships with Charlene, Jess (Tara Lee) and her mother (Denise McCormack) form the engine of this impressively focused film, which uses words with admirable economy and tells its story in a truly cinematic fashion. That places huge demands on Séana Kerslake, who's on screen constantly and examined relentlessly in telling close-ups. She's superb, an extraordinary talent, and surely bound for bigger things. from www.independent.ie
47 min - Dir: Kevin Moynihan Grosse Île; the Black Rock (Montréal; Ireland Park (Toronto)
[our first Members Evening of this Season, a Members Only event.]
The Great Irish Famine 1847 - The Canadian Connections
This documentary film will explore the three major Canadian Memorials to the Great Irish Famine: Grosse Île (an Island near Quebec City), the Montreal Black Rock Memorial and Ireland Park in Toronto. Tens of thousands of Irish immigrants forced to emigrate from their homeland during the Great Famine of 1847 came to Canada on what can only be described as ‘Coffin Ships’.
Visiting the three Memorials to the Great Famine, this film will explore the reasons for the Great Hunger, the arrival of the Irish in 1847
and the compassion of early Canadians to this, our first of many refugee crises.
A Documentary exploring Canada's compassion in welcoming the 109,000 Irish emigrants fleeing the Great Famine in 1847. This film visits Grosse Île, Montreal and Toronto to understand how the memorials to the Irish Famine help to tell the story of courage and compassion on the part of Canada's First Responders.
Kevin Moynihan has been making film and audio visual tools since 1973.