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Irish Film Festival Arrives in New Zealand
24 Sep 2007 :
Audiences in New Zealand will have a chance to view Irish features at the inaugural University of Otago Irish Film Festival, set to screen at Rialto Cinemas in New Zealand during October. Films such as ‘Mickybo & Me’, ‘Adam & Paul’ and ‘Inside I’m Dancing’ will screen as part of the festival lineup.

The Irish Film Festival runs in Dunedin from 14th-18th October and Newmarket, Auckland, from 23rd-27th October. All films selected are drawn from the Reel Ireland program developed by the Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar, in collaboration with Culture Ireland.

Titles range from high-energy films that explore the relationship between images of masculinity and violence in Terry Loane’s ‘Mickybo and Me’ and Pearse Elliott’s ‘The Mighty Celt’: to light-hearted comedy and satire in Ian Fitzgibbon’s ‘Spin the Bottle’ and Elizabeth Gill’s ‘Goldfish Memory’. The line-up continues with Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Adam and Paul’, Damien O’Donnell’s ‘Inside I'm Dancing’ and Aisling Walsh’s ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’.

With more than 600,000 Kiwis of Irish descent, festival director and Eamon Cleary Chair of Irish Studies Professor Peter Kuch says the film festival will provide an excellent opportunity for people to learn about Ireland's past and present, and build a strong sense of community.

"To my knowledge it is the first time that Irish films have been shown at such a festival in New Zealand,” he says. “The films we have chosen take radically different approaches to dramatising varieties of Irishness. It provides a stimulating way for people to keep in touch with contemporary Ireland. It is very easy for an image of a country to ossify into a collection of stereotypes - but film challenges that."

‘Short Order’, Anthony Byrne’s art-house all-singing all-dancing revenge comedy about food, sex and ‘paying the bill’ completes the programme.

Kuch says that one consequence of Irish films not being widely distributed in New Zealand and Australia is a loss of community. "The experience I had in running the Irish Film Festivals in Sydney and Melbourne is that it is an event the whole community can enjoy. It not only builds a relationship between the University and the community, but it also brings the community together."

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