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L.A. Film Festival Closes with Tribute to Hugh Leonard
02 Oct 2009 :
The Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (LAIFF) wrapped up proceedings on Sunday, September 27th in the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica with a screening of Matt Clarke’s ‘Da’, the film based on Leonard’s popular Tony-award winning semi-autobiographical stage play as a tribute to acclaimed Irish playwright Hugh Leonard, who died in Dublin in February of this year.
The 2009 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival opened on Wednesday, September 27th with a screening of Conor McPherson’s ‘The Eclipse’ at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and was attended by its producers Robert Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan, as well as Consul General Gerry Staunton, Simon Perry and Jonathan Loughran of the Irish Film Board, filmmakers Tom Collins (The Boys of St Columbs), Vittoria Colonna and Rachel Lysaght (Identities), John Fleming (Guests of Another Nation), IFTA CEO Áine Moriarty and GM Deirdre Hopkins, producer Marcus Fox, San Francisco festival director Niall McKay, and 'Emeralds in Tinseltown' producers Paul Howard and Bernadette Howard. LA based actresses including Fionnula Flanagan, Roma Downey, Orla Brady, Natascha McElhone and Lara Flynn Boyle, as well as Bernadette O'Neill, Marion Comer, Tony Herbert and Caroline Morahan were in attendance.

The screening of 'The Eclipse' was proceeded by a 10 minute clip from ‘Emeralds in Tinseltown’, Imagine Films’ documentary about the history of the Irish in Hollywood as a tribute to THR Editor Steve Brennan (and author of the book ‘Emeralds in Tinseltown’) who passed away earlier this year. The rare Irish silent film ‘The Days of St. Patrick’ also screened accompanied by a live orchestra with a newly extended version of the original score composed by Eimear Noone.

Other highlights from the festival included a Q&A with Gabriel Byrne after the screening of Pat Collins’ documentary 'Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home'. Moderated by FX Feeney, the screening and Q&A drew a large crowd at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, and was attended by Embeth Davidtz (Schindler's List) and Jane Allen (HBO series "Hung") and ex-F1 driver Eddie Irvine.

Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn also participated in a Q&A with a very receptive audience after their screening of ‘Cherrybomb’ on Friday evening, as did Vittoria Colonna Di Stigliano and Rachel Lysaght following the screening of their documentary about the Irish transgender community ‘Identities’. Saturday’s doc programme included the US premiere of Tom Collins (Kings) ‘The Boys of St Columbs’ along with Lucy Kennedy’s Waterford Crystal short doc ‘Raise the Last Glass’ and John Fleming's recently re-discovered doc ‘Guests of Another Nation’. Joel Conroy attended the Saturday evening screening of his multi-award winning ‘Waveriders’ with some of the featured waveriders enjoying the post-screening reception.

Events during the festival included a director/actor workshop hosted by Mark W. Travis and a presentation and signing by author Mary Pat Kelly of her latest book "Galway Bay".

After the closing reception at the nearby festival headquarters, adjacent to the Aero Theater, the 2009 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival officially closed its doors for another year.

The 2009 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival was co-presented by The American Cinematheque and ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America). The Irish Film Board (Bord Scannán na hÉireann) is a partner of LAIFF. IFTA (Irish Film & Television Academy) was also a co-presenter. Lisa Strassman-McLoughlin is the festival director.

For more information about the festival go to www.lairishfilm.com.



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