22 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Line-Up Announced For Irish Film Festa – March 21st-25th
09 Mar 2018 : Nathan Griffin
Details for the 11th edition of the Irish Film Festa in Rome have been announced. The festival, which prides itself to on dedicating its entire festival to Irish film will once again take place at Rome’s ‘Casa del Cinema’ from March 21st-25th, 2018.

The festival, this year continues to promote Irish Short Films, with 16 works included in this year’s Short Film competition, as well as the return of the ‘Making Shorts’ showcase. The in-depth panel discussion, which focuses on the short film sector across Irish & Northern Irish film industry, welcomes a number of well know directors, distributors and industry professionals to participate and give insight on the growing industry each year.

The festival will also welcome the out-of-competition animated short film ‘An Béal Bocht’ by Tom Collins, which was awarded at the Galway Film Fleadh 2017, and is based on the eponymous story by Flann O'Brien.

The feature films scheduled for the festival's 11th edition include ‘Song of Granite’ by Pat Collins: a highly original reinterpretation of the biopic genre centred on the life and art of the Irish singer Joe Heaney (1919-1984). Defined by Variety as " solemn, stirring and surprisingly radical ", ‘Song of Granite’ won the Best Photography Award (by Richard Kendrick) at the Galway Film Fleadh 2017, and received three IFTA nominations, including that of best film.

Speaking ahead of the festival, IFF’s Artistic Director Susanna Pellis said:

"While the Irish cinema continues to develop and surprise, our festival welcomes a growing number of films and filmmakers who also come from Northern Ireland. After all, Irish Film Festa has always looked at Ireland as an artistically-united island, we have been an All Ireland event since the first edition."

The festival will also welcome Stephen Burke's Maze’, inspired by the real life story behind the escape of 38 Republican prisoners from Long Kesh prison in 1983. Burke and the film's producer Jane Doolan will be guests of the festival along with the film's protagonist Barry Ward (‘Jimmy's Hall’, ‘Pursuit’,L'accabadora’). ‘Maze’ received four nominations at the recent IFTA Film & Drama awards.

‘No Party for Billy Burns’, written and directed by newcomer Padraig Conaty, is a contemporary western set in the town of Cavan, on the border with Northern Ireland. Conaty will also be present at the festival with ‘You're not at Man at All’, one of the short films in competition.

The festival will host the Italian premiere of ‘Kissing Candice’, the debut film by director Aoife McArdle, fresh from the Toronto Film Festival and the Berlinale. ‘Kissing Candice’ effectively fuses reality, dream and imagination through the fantasies of a teenager. The role of the protagonist's father is played by the Northern Irish actor John Lynch.

The documentary ‘Rocky Ros Muc’ by Michael Fanning tells the life and the sporting career of Sean Mannion, an Irish boxer who emigrated from Connemara to Boston in the 1970s. ‘Rocky Ros Muc ‘ was presented at the Irish Film Festival in Boston and won the award for the best documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh 2017.

‘Handsome Devil’ is the new film written and directed by John Butler, whose film ‘The Stag’ (2014) was presented at the Irish Film Festa in 2014; ‘Handsome Devil’  is a delicate coming-of-age story set in secondary school, between study, rugby and personal awakening. Alongside the two young protagonists Fionn O'Shea and Nicholas Galitzine, the actors Andrew Scott and Moe Dunford stand out in their role as teachers.

Irish Film Festa will continue its strong relationship with Kilkenny-based animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, which has gained international recognition after films such as: ‘The Secret of Kells’ (2009) and ‘Song of the Sea’ (2014), and ‘The Breadwinner’ by Nora Twomey, which will screen  at this year's festival. Well received on the film festival circuit and nominated for a 2018 Oscar, ‘The Breadwinner’ is based on the novel of the same name by Canadian writer Deborah Ellis and features Parvana, an Afghan girl who lives under the Taliban regime. Twomey's film, whose production also involved Angelina Jolie, is an ode to the power of stories and imagination, brought to the screen thanks to thorough research into the visual and folklore culture of Afghanistan.

As part of the new #IFFbooks section, dedicated to Irish literature, Irish Film Festa will present ‘My Astonishing Self: Gabriel Byrne on George Bernard Shaw’, a documentary made by Gerry Hoban for RTÉ and BBC in which the celebrated actor Gabriel Byrne guides viewers through Shaw's life and works. Gabriel Byrne, who received the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award this year, is also linked to this year's Irish Classic, ‘Into the West’ (1992): written by Jim Sheridan and directed by Mike Newell, the film is a modern-day fairytale set in the world of the Irish Travellers. In addition to Byrne, the cast also includes Ellen Barkin, Colm Meaney and Brendan Gleeson.

#IFFbooks will include an encounter with the award-winning Irish writer Paul Lynch, author of three novels: ‘Red Sky in Morning’ (2013), already published in Italy by the publishing house 66thand2nd, ‘The Black Snow’ (2014) and ‘Grace‘(2017). Lynch's style has been compared to that of Seamus Heaney and Cormac McCarthy, earning praise from established Irish writers such as Sebastian Barry and Colm Tóibín.

Irish Film Festa, founded and directed by Susanna Pellis, is produced by the cultural association Archimedia in collaboration with the Irish Film Institute; with the support of Culture Ireland, the Irish Film Board, Tourism Ireland; and the patronage of Ireland’s Embassy in Italy.

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