Chicago Irish Film Festival celebrates culture
February 29, 2012 4:16PM
With its spellbinding cinematography, the short film "Dark Side of the Lens" will give Chicago Irish Film Festval attendees a spectacular glimpse into the work of an ocean-based photographer.
◆ March 2-7
◆ Beverly Arts Center,
2407 W. 111th St., Chicago
◆ Passes, $65, which includes all screenings and opening and closing receptions
Individual screenings are $10 each.
Admission to the opening reception and screening is $30.
Admission to the closing night screening and reception is $20.
◆ (773) 445-3838; beverlyartcenter.org
◆ The festival schedule can be found at chicagoirishfilmfestival.com.
Updated: April 3, 2012 8:08AM
Audience favorites and more than 20 short films will be screened at the Chicago Irish Film Festival during its run from March 2-7 at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago.
New this year is the Consulate of Ireland Award, which will be presented to the short film that best celebrates the Irish culture.
The award will be presented by Aidan Cronin, consul general of Ireland, at the 13th annual festival’s closing-night program of shorts.
The festival will open at 7 p.m. March 2 with a gala reception celebrating the U.S. premiere of “The Road to Moneygall.”
The film is a fascinating and disarming chronicle of three years in the life Henry Healy, long lost cousin of Barack Obama, and his efforts to bring the U.S. president to Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland — birthplace of Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.
Director Ed Godsell will attend the opening and 8 p.m. screening, and be available for questions and conversation.
On the afternoon of March 3, the festival focus will be documentaries but the films are as unique as they are enthralling, officials said.
“Ballymun Lullaby,” an inspiring documentary about the Ballymun Music Programme that offers free music lessons to students in one of Dublin’s most impoverished communities, will be screened at 2 p.m. March 3.
At 4 p.m. March 3 the film “Bram Stoker agus Dracula” will examine Stoker’s remarkable life and the influence his Irish background had on the creation of his most famous — and apparently immortal — character, Dracula.
The film, done in both Irish language and English, is directed by Keith O’Grady, a founding member of Dearcan Media, an Irish language production company based in Derry in the north of Ireland.
Rock music fans will be tuning in at 6 p.m. March 3 for the U.S. premiere of “Hot Press: The Write Stuff,” a documentary about the early years of the iconic Dublin-based rock music magazine Hot Press.
“Behold the Lamb,” the award-winning first feature film by director John McIlduff, will have its Midwest premiere at 7:30 p.m. March 3.
A gritty mix of comedy and tragedy, the film follows a couple of connivers — tough junkie Liz (Aoife Duffin, 2012 Irish Film & Television Academy best-actress nominee) and middle-aged loser Eddie (Nigel O’Neill) — as they travel across the Northern Irish countryside to make an unexpected score.
The film is similar in its gritty dark humor to the award-winning McDonagh brothers’ films “In Bruges” (Martin McDonagh) and “The Guard” (John McDonagh).
Classic Irish cinema will fill the bill March 4, beginning with the documentary “Blazing the Trail: The O’Kalems in Ireland” at 2 p.m.
Director Peter Flynn, who will attend the screening, offers a fascinating look at the early 1910s when the New York-based Kalem Co. sent its leading filmmakers to County Kerry to make movies.
This documentary tells the story of the filmmakers’ adventures in Ireland, how they made films without electricity, using locals as actors, and provoking both the priests and the British authorities.
Screening with this documentary are two silent shorts from the Irish Film Archives.
At 4 p.m. March 4, the festival will screen the 1922 classic Irish cinema silent “Come On Over,” a romantic comedy in which Colleen Moore stars as a spunky immigrant who travels to New York to meet her husband in a busy boarding house.
This film was acquired for screening with the support of the Irish Film Institute (Dublin) and the Film Preservation Center of the Museum of Modern Art (New York).
Dennis Scott, of the Silent Film Society of Chicago, and organist for Chicago’s Music Box Theatre will play the organ during the film.
The festival audience will be taken on a whirlwind adventure March 5 with the 7:30 p.m. screening of “A Kiss for Jed Wood.”
Inspired by director Maurice Linnane’s work with Garth Brooks during his first European tour, this dramedy has an eclectic soundtrack featuring music by Fight Like Apes, Adrian Crowley, the Buckleys and more.
The film follows a wild Irish 19-year-old TV game show contestant whose task is to get a kiss from country superstar Jed Wood (Neal Bleadsoe).
A has-been cameraman and disreputable soundman are sent along to document the wildly unsuccessful quest.
Irish history and politics take over the screen at 7:30 p.m. March 6, for Lelia Doolan’s remarkable documentary “Bernadette: Notes On A Political Journey.”
Using live interviews and archival footage, the film tells the story of 1960s political activist Bernadette Devlin and her explosive, unrelenting fight for civil rights, feminism and socialism in Northern Ireland.
Doolan will fly to the Chicago Irish Film Festival straight from a screening of this film in Beirut to participate in a question-and-answer session.
In addition to the new Consulate of Ireland Award, the Chicago Irish Film Festival will present its two longtime awards, the Festival Awards and the Audience Award.
These awards have honored such films as “Pentecost,” a 2012 Academy Award nominee, as well as several other Academy Award nominees including “Shoe,” “The Crush” and “The Door.”
The closing night of the festival traditionally offers a program of short films that reveal the creativity, humor, insight and culture of the Irish through the lens of Ireland’s talented filmmakers.
In addition to directors Sophie Merry and Don Field and Consul General Cronin, who will be attending the closing-night screening and reception, Tim Reilly, vice consul general of Ireland, will be in attendance.
The 90-minute closing-night program of shorts includes animations, documentaries, comedies and even a heart-stopping horror film by directors that include Chicago Irish Film Festival favorites Damian McCarthy, David Quin and Thomas Hefferon, as well as talented newcomers.
The screening will be followed by the festival closing reception.
“The Shore,” the 2012 Academy Award winner for live action short film, has been added to the stellar schedule of films to be screened at the 13th annual Chicago Irish Film Festival.
Directed by Terry George, the comedy-drama stars Ciaran Hinds, Conleth Hill and Kerry Condon.
Other recent additions to the schedule include the award-winning shorts “Deep End Dance” (Irish Film Festival, Boston) and “Jam Today” (European Short Film Festival).