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What do mid century Irish architects, “The Troubles”, the Congo: 1961, an iconic American photo from 1932 and Mohammed Ail have in common, they are all the subjects of documentaries in the 14th Chicago Irish Film Festival, made by some of Ireland’s finest award-winning documentary filmmakers.Still Films’ Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley bring architectural precision to their film BUILD SOMETHING MODERN that tells the story of a group of young Irish architects who embark on a remarkable journey, both personally and architecturally, when they decide to design and build schools, hospitals and churches across Africa in the 1950’s and 60’s commissioned by Catholic missionaries. Religion, which has played a major role throughout “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, but it takes a back seat in Margo Harkin’s THE FAR SIDE OF REVENGE as six women weave their stories of pain, lose, regret, and remorse into a mantle of forgiveness and support as they move towards peace and understanding in post-conflict Belfast. Peace was the objective when the United Nations stepped in to protect the newly established Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960 after it gained independence from Belgium. Directed by Brendan Culleton and Irina Maldea the documentary, CONGO: AN IRISH AFFAIR, focuses on the Irish Army’s 35th Battalion as it struggled to preserve democracy while being attacked by both native and international forces. Immigration, skyscrapers, jobs and New York City were all caught in one iconic photograph taken in 1932 of a group men perched on a steel beam 69 stories high taking a break during the construction of the GE Building, known as Lunch Atop A Skyscraper. Directed by Seán Ò Cualáin of Sonta Films, MEN AT LUNCH tells the marvelous and previously untold story of the men and the photograph with narration by Fionnula Flanagan. Although it’s not an untold story the fight between Muhammad Ali and Al “Blue” Lewis at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland in 1972 was not well known outside of Ireland. WHEN ALI CAME TO IRELAND, directed by Ross Whitaker, is a ringside seat to one of the most colorful and amazing sports stories ever told with a cast of characters that includes Yul Brynner’s son Rock, John Houston and Ronald Reagan….truly a great story about “The Greatest.”


Congo_3Documenting Ireland: amazing stories about amazing people by amazing filmmakers….