19 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Catalyst International Film Festival returns for its 4th edition
08 Mar 2023 : News Desk
Catalyst Film Festival
The Festival will run from 31st March - 1st April 2023 across Limerick City.

Based in Limerick, Catalyst International Film Festival will host the 4th edition of the festival presenting films, panel discussions, workshops and networking events in venues across the city.

Pray For Our Sinners, a new documentary from Sinéad O'Shea, and Klondike directed by Maryna Er Gorbach, will lead a festival programme where diverse stories and storytellers are celebrated. Eight films comprise this year’s international shorts programme. From North America to South America, from Europe to Oceania, these stories feature characters that have often been overlooked on screen. Diverse in terms of storytelling, this program is also diverse tonally, with dark comedy, satire, psychological thriller and one animation film. The festival also features a variety of panel discussions.

The Festival is dedicated to supporting and championing screenwriters; particularly those from under-represented groups. In association with the Writers Guild of Ireland, Catalyst is delighted to host the ‘Putting the Screenwriter into the Picture’ panel. This event will discuss the importance of the short film script as a calling card and how writers can break through into longer forms. With panellists Jennifer Davidson Chair WGI (Fair City; Waiting for Tom), Ursula Rani Sarma Screenwriter/ Playwright (Smother; Bodkin) Carl Austin Screenwriter (Operation Cobra; Fair City), Aisling Walsh Screenwriter/ Director (Song for a Raggy Boy; Maudie; Elizabeth is Missing), Robert Higgins Screenwriter, director, producer (Lakelands; Angels Guard Thee). The 6 finalists in the Short Screenplay Award will each speak about their script and their work and career with the winning screenplay awards announced at the closing event on Saturday evening. 

“We want to create a more inclusive industry and films screened here will promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion whether in content, key creative roles or crew” said Dr Susan Liddy Festival Founder and Director. “Catalyst is going from strength to strength as we move into our 4th year. We have an exciting and inclusive programme from a diverse range of filmmakers; panels that will challenge and inspire; workshops and masterclasses for emerging and established talent and networking events to help build your tribe.”  

Pray For Our Sinners is the new documentary from filmmaker and journalist, Sinéad O'Shea in which she confronts Ireland's recent history of brutality against children and women from corporal punishment to state-sanctioned mother and baby homes. O'Shea returns to her hometown in rural Ireland to explore the control the Catholic church held there until recent years and uncovers the gentle but extraordinary figures who chose to resist. This is a portrait of genuine bravery, hope and love. The screening will be at 8pm at The Belltable Theatre Friday 31st March followed by a Q+A with O’Shea. 

Klondike (2022) directed by Ukrainian filmmaker, Maryna Er Gorbach will screen at 8pm on Saturday April 1st at The Belltable Theatre.  It is July 2014. Expectant parents Irka and Tolik live in the Donetsk district of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. Their nervous anticipation of their first child’s birth is violently disrupted as the crash of flight MH17 elevates the forbidding tension enveloping their village. Catalyst will be joined on the night by special guests to discuss the effects of war and the power of film to depict its horrific reality. 

Catalyst will present a full programme for students on Thursday 30th March which includes an Interactive Masterclass with Screenwriter & Director Laura O'Shea, Editor & Educator Phil Shanahan and Actor & Traveller Rights Activist Martin Mahon. 

Programmer Céline Roustan has curated a selection of short films with younger audiences in mind which exemplify excellence in short filmmaking and which meet the festival’s equality, diversity and inclusion criteria. After the screenings, students will get the opportunity to vote for their favourite film. The recipient of the Young Audience Award 2023 will be given a trophy on behalf of the audience on the day. The day will conclude with a Meet the Industry panel and Q+A. Participants include an international curator and festival programmer; a film director; a producer; an actor; an editor and a camera operator. They will discuss their role in the industry and talk to students about their journey from school to set to screen.

The Festival is excited to present a slate of documentary shorts, International shorts (Friday 31st March) and Irish shorts (Saturday 1st April) at The Belltable Theatre. This year's short documentary programme pays tribute to the power of personal testimony as a force for change and shines a light on the audacity of the human spirit. From older men to the gay community, from street artist to traveller. These films reveal the people behind the creative and personal struggle to be seen, to be heard and to be accepted.

On Saturday the Director-DOP Masterclass sees cinematographer Jaro Waldeck in conversation with award winning director Aisling  Walsh  (Song for a Raggy Boy;  An Inspector Calls; Maudie; Elizabeth is Missing). In addition, Aisling Walsh will be offering emerging screenwriters from a range of underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to work in small script labs with her. 

Filmmaker and Catalyst Programme Assistant Aisha Bolaji will be moderating a New Voices panel of up-and-coming creatives within the Irish film industry at 1 Pery Square. The lineup includes Actor Martin Mahon, Screenwriter Rehan Ali and Writer/Directors Elizabeth Adewusi and Nell Hensey. 

In the Belltable, Gemma Creagh (Film Ireland, Arena) will moderate a discussion of the Critics panel. Creagh is joined by fellow critics Chris Wasser, Ruth Barton, Mohamed Tarek and Roe McDermott who debate the role/power of the film (screen) critic. Can the gender or background of the critic impact on what films are reviewed and how films are reviewed? Are there implications for underrepresented groups if critics are, in the main, white (probably middle class) men? Or does an insightful critic override such concerns? 

This year’s Catalyst judges include Frank Berry (Aisha), Rachael Moriarty (Róise & Frank), Paddy Breathnach (Rosie), Paddy Slattery (Broken Law) and Ursula Rani Sarma (Smother). 

Catalyst International Film Festival will run from 31st March - 1st April 2023 across Limerick City.

Tickets can be purchased from the Catalyst Film Festival website.

The Programme pdf is available here

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