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Irish Festivals Abroad
22 Feb 2001 :
Local filmmaking goes international during March, with three major overseas festivals dedicating themselves to Irish cinema.

The Seattle Irish Reels Film & Video Festival has announced it's 2001 line-up. Now in their fourth year, the festival kicks off on March 7th.The opening night feature is When Brendan Met Trudy, written by Roddy Doyle and directed by Kieran J. Walsh. Rona Mark's short film Finabr Lebowitz will be screened beforehand.

The festival continues until March 10th, and includes a showcase of new documentaries, including Hugh Farley's, Ahakista, The Nook by Denis McArdle, Adrian McCarthy's To Russia with Love and Liam McGrath's Essie's last Stand. On March 9th, the Seattle Art Museum will host a screening of Saltwater, Conor McPherson's directorial debut, accompanied by the short film The Birthday directed by Lucy Blakstad. This will be followed by Flick, Fintan Connolly's first feature, which is preceded by Julie Harris's short film, Therapy. Other shorts being screened at the festival include Buskers directed by Ian Power, P.J. Dillon's Headwrecker, and Ronan Gallagher's Underworld.

Representing the ‘Premiere Series’ from the NI Film Commission are: Deadlands by Brian Drysdale, Chihuahua by Phil Crothers, and Fintan Brady's Tonight We Fly. A party hosted by Fado in downtown Seattle, will follow Saturday's closing night screening of Dudi Appelton's The Most Fertile Man in Ireland.

Caroline Cumming & Fidelma McGinn founded the festival after relocating from Ireland in the mid-90s. They felt that the only Irish movies picked up for US distribution tended to represent the stereotypical, Hollywood version of their native country. Their focus is on independently produced work and those that have yet to receive international distribution.

The New York Film Fleadh, which runs from the 1st to 4th of March, is also a labour of love. As organiser Terence Mulligan puts it “It’s not Sundance nor is it Riverdance, it’s about the ‘fillums’”. The Fleadh started with the ambitious idea of building a showcase for Irish and Irish-American filmmakers in New York. Their mantra was, and still is, to expose new Irish cinema to a multicultural audience, while building a foundation to promote emerging filmmakers. Like Irish Reels, the 2001 Fleadh will showcase When Brendan Met Trudy and The Most Fertile Man in Ireland. Also featured are: Aidan Walsh, Master Of The Universe, directed by Shimmy Marcus, Talking To The Dead, directed by Pat Collins, Connemara, directed by Eoin Moore, On The Nose, directed by David Caffrey, An Everlasting Piece, directed by Barry Levinson, Wild About Harry, directed by Declan Lowney and About Adam, directed by Gerry Stembridge.

Shorts, preceding almost all of the features include: Fatboy, directed by Claire Breton, Paddy, directed by Cashel Horgan, Buskers, directed by Ian Power, The Bellwatcher, directed by Whitney Hamilton, Safe Space, directed by John Sullivan, Slumber, directed by Emer Reynolds, Last Call, directed by Cami de la Vigne, Painting Politics, directed by Claire McGrath and The Gentle Cycle, directed by Serena McDonald.

The Rennes Film Festival hosts Travelling from the 5th to 12th of March, which this year includes a retrospective and showcase of new Irish cinema. The festival, run by organisation Claire Obscur, opens with a look through the Irish filmmaker’s eye. Of the twenty recent films selected, works include: Country, by Kevin Liddy, Guiltrip, by Gerry Stembridge, December Bride, by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, Korea, by Cathal Black, East Is East, by Damien O’Donnell and I Went Down, by Paddy Breathnach.

Honoured with screenings of several pieces of their work, are both Neil Jordan and Pat Murphy. The festival also pays homage to the influence of one family on Irish film. The work of Jim, Peter and Kirsten Sheridan will be showcased, illustrating the esteem in which the family is held within the industry, both at home and internationally.

Travelling Junior will feature cinema that appeals to younger buffs, with screenings of Into The West by Mike Newell and The Secret Of Roan Inish, by John Sayles. War Of The Buttons by, John Roberts will also feature.

Claire Obscur have been inviting audiences to appreciate cinema since 1900. More than 45,000 people have attended the Rennes Travelling festival each year, making it one of the most important cultural events in Western France. For further details on each of the festivals please follow the links provided.


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