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One Night in Millstreet to open The Irish Film Festival London
17 Oct 2023 : News Desk
One Night in Millstreet
Irish Film & Television UK (IFTUK) has announced the line-up of their annual flagship festival with a programme of the latest Irish feature films, documentaries, animation and short films. The festival takes place November 15th - 19th at the Vue West End, Vue Piccadilly and the London Irish Centre.

The Irish Film Festival London opens with the UK premiere of One Night in Millstreet, the latest film from two-time IFTA winner, Andrew Gallimore. It is a snapshot of a country on the edge of change, revealed through the 1995 fight between underdog Steve Collins and undefeated world champion Chris Eubank.

“While films in the festival take on topics including misogyny, sport, history, human rights and language, it is refreshing that all these filmmakers are as keen to entertain as they are to educate,” said Michael Hayden, Festival Director. “There's no shortage of lightness, humour, compassion and hope here, too.”

He continued: “This programme is the first brick in the foundation of a platform for Irish film that IFTUK intends to build in London and across the UK. While I sincerely thank all our partners supporting us in that aim, my greatest appreciation is for the filmmakers. Their vision and voices motivate us to do this.”

Stories by and about women are at the heart of this year’s festival. The longest industrial dispute in Ireland’s history is the subject of Joe Lee’s 406 Days - The Debenhams Picket Line. In April 2020, Debenhams sacked its staff by generic email and reneged on promised union-negotiated redundancy packages. The mostly female workforce refused to take this lying down. Packed with first-hand accounts, 406 Days is a testament to the tenacity of the workers.

Director Patricia Kelly offers her debut feature Verdigris which follows an unlikely friendship between Marian (Geraldine McAlinden), an older woman in a loveless marriage, and young sex worker, Jewel (Maya O’Shea). It won the Best Independent Film accolade at the Galway Film Fleadh this year.

Unveiling a hidden chapter in Irish queer history, Irish language documentary Croíthe Radacacha/Radical Hearts depicts gay women at the heart of the fight for Irish independence from the British Empire, uncompromising in their politics, committed to feminism, socialism and equal rights. Combining talking head testimony with elegantly recreated scenes, Ciara Hyland’s film revives their memory and acknowledges their courage.

Director Lisa Mucahy adapts Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel Uncle Silas in Lies We Tell. This period piece with a feminist edge depicts an orphaned heiress (Agnes O’Casey) forced into the guardianship of her menacing Uncle Silas (David Wilmot).

Irish language film Tarrac, directed by Declan Recks, is about a young woman Aoife (Kelly Gough) who reluctantly leaves Dublin to return to her home in Kerry Gaeltacht to look after her sick father. This feel-good sports drama celebrates female solidarity. 

Adapted from Roddy Doyle’s novel, animation A Greyhound of a Girl, directed by Enzo D’Alò (Pinocchio), follows 11-year-old Mary, whose irrepressible passion for cooking brings generations of women in her family together. The cast includes Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Bad Sisters).

Tomas Vengris’ Five and a Half Love Stories in an Apartment in Vilnius, Lithuania presents various moving stories of love and tragedy from an Airbnb apartment. This film is a Screen Ireland co-production with the Lithuanian and Latvian film bodies, and features music from Irish composer Stephen Rennicks (An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl).

The first feature to be restored through the Irish Film Institute and Screen Ireland Digitisation Project, 1998’s Reefer and the Model is a road movie presenting Ireland at a crossroads, a country questioning whether it can reject the violence of its past and be reborn. This 2023 Director’s Cut celebrates the contribution that Joe Comerford has made to Irish Cinema.

Face Down: The Disappearance of Thomas Niedermayer, directed by Gerry Greg, is about an industrialist and devoted family man who was the Managing Director of the Grundig Factory in Belfast. Over Christmas 1973, intruders broke into his home and kidnapped him. The film illustrates how acts of violence linger far beyond the moments they are committed.

Winner of the Best Irish First Feature Award at Galway Film Fleadh, director John Carlin’s Lie of the Land is about a middle-aged couple living on a small farm crippled with debt. When a newcomer appears, events take a dark turn.

Shot in black and white Ó Bhéal director Ciara Nic Chormaic shines a light on a new generation of musicians expressing themselves in the Irish language across hip hop, electronic music and as singer-songwriters.

The festival will also include a Screen Ireland shorts programme showcasing the work of emerging talent on Sunday 18th November at Vue Piccadilly. 

The Irish Film Festival will be followed by the Irish Film & Television UK Awards on 20th November. This red-carpet event will take place at the Irish Embassy in London.

For more information, click here.

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