Well if we thought there was variety on Day 2 , Day 3 took things to the next level covering topics as divergent as apartheid, an Irish weather station on June 5, 1941, a futuristic wild west without water and maybe the worst vampire movie ever made.
Three short films stood out in today shorts’ programs: Liam O Machain’s THE TENT based on a true story about a Polish couple and the Irishman who sets up camp in their back yard, Paul Murphy’s THE WEATHER REPORT, also based on real events, about a small Irish weather station whose report is called into question on the eve of the landings on Normandy Beach and Damien Dunne’s THE SWING a coming of age story on a rural farm.
Irish films on Day 2 could not have been more varied, literally. The day began with a group of shorts from the west of Ireland that covered topics big and small. Director Michelle McDonagh attempted to explain the unique custom of KICKING THE WALL on a Galway promenade while filmmaker Micháel Ó Flaithearta paid a lovely tribute to Irish composer in CHARLIE LENNON and filmmakers Ed and Mark Griffin put a novel spin on grieving and closure as a young man tries to deal with the death of his father in DRIFT.
2014 CONSULATE OF IRELAND AWARD
STORY BUD? Jenny Keogh
THE AUDIENCE AWARD
1ST PLACE HANNAH COHEN’S HOLY COMMUNION Shimmy Marcus
2nd PLACE VOLKSWAGEN JOE Brian Deane
3rd PLACE WASTED Kathy Brady
HONORABLE MENTION BRIDGE STATION Christopher Brennan
THE FESTIVAL AWARD
1ST PLACE THE MISSING SCARF Eoin Duffy
2ND PLACE BLEEDIN’ RAPID Etain McGuckian
3RD PLACE SCRATCH Phillip Kelly
HONORABLE MENTION DANGER OVERHEAD POWERLINES Mia Mullarkey
This year’s Consulate of Ireland Award winner STORY BUD? directed by Jenny Keogh is a delightful and informative lesson in Irish slang sure to be used in classrooms for years to come. When presenting the award Aidan Cronin, The Consul General of Chicago, noted that although the slang was spot on for many living in Ireland the filmmaker should consider a new production based solely on slang words with Cork heritage for which presumably she would also win the award again as the consul general is from Cork! We see a visual dictionary in the works and there are a number of regions in the US that could use a slang primer with the Windy City kicking off with “da Bears” and “da Mare!
Beautifully directed by Shimmy Marcus with an amazing performance by Lucy Sky Dunne HANNAH COHEN’S HOLY COMMUNION was the run away winner for the Audience Award. The heart warming story of a young girl who wants to “have the best day ever” just like her friend and the lesson she learns about friends, family and faith.
This year’s Festival Award winners closely resembled the popular vote with THE MISSING SCARF directed by Eoin Duffy chosen for its achievements not only in animation but a script that seamlessly melded eye popping colors and graphics with droll observations on human frailties and the fate of the universe.
There are so many reasons to applaud this year’s award recipients for their talents in cinematography, writing and editing, but most importantly for the over all quality of their films. For 15 years we have been amazed by short film in all its variations from the 30 second blink and you miss it “Short Shorts” producing quick laughs and gasps to the mini novels of 30 minute shorts that often tell powerful stories of struggle, endurance and triumph. This year’s collection of short films was all that and more proving that the desire to make films is as strong and diverse as the audiences’ passion for seeing these films. We truly wish we could give an award to all the filmmakers whose films were presented in this year’s program, they certainly deserve it. Congratulations to all and thank you.
We could never fully express our gratitude to our sponsors, but THANK YOU! Your support of the festival allows us to reach for the stars and put them on the screen. Thank you to Tullamore Dew, The University of Chicago Office of Alumni Relations, Brooklyn Brewery, 3 Sheeps Beer and Under the Milky Way and to our many individual supporters that have helped in so many ways for 15 years….. Go raibh maith agat
New Irish Cinema from iTunes in the U.S. and Canada…
Looking to see more Irish films after the festival? Discover a slice of new Irish cinema through a special selection brought to you on iTunes by UNDER THE MILKY WAY to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2014. Starting March 10th, the following four films will be presented in a dedicated St. Patrick’s section of the iTunes store.
GOOD VIBRATIONS: Enjoy the musical spirit of this BAFTA nominated biopic and dive into the worn-torn 1970″s Belfast. “Richard Dormer’s performance is a transcendent, anarchic, amazing joy. If you love music, movies or being alive, you’ll love Good Vibrations” Bono (U2)
BLACK ICE: Set in the world of clandestine road racing in rural Donegal, this action film follows Jimmy Devlin, played by Love/Hate’s Killian Scott, who dreams of breaking into the legitimate rally driving scene. “A well -shot, thought provoking drama featuring excellent performances.” RTE Guide
THE HARDY BUCKS MOVIE: A bunch of lovable slackers leave the confines of small-town Irish life and head across Europe in support of the Irish football team. Things take an unexpected turn after an unscheduled stop-off in Amsterdam. “The Irish Hangover…laugh-out-loud funny.” The Irish Daily Mail
KING OF THE TRAVELERS: John Paul Moorehouse is on a destructive quest to uncover the truth about his father’s killer. His desire for revenge is swayed when he falls for Winnie Power, the daughter of the man he suspects killed his father. “Genuinely engrossing action…A Gaelic Godfather.” Variety
The short’s program began last night with a proper kick off at City Hall and greetings from the Lord Mayor of Cork, the festival chairman, Denis McSweeney and James Mullighan the new festival director. The event really served to highlight just how important a place shorts have at the festival not the least being sold out screenings and great networking opportunities for filmmakers and producers especially with one of the festival’s new sponsors, Vimeo, with one of their reps serving on the Grand Prix Irish jury. On a minor note, the festival is also a platform for winning shorts to screen in the EU and then Academy Award submissions. All eight of the short Irish films that have been short listed, nominated or ultimately won (Martin McDonagh’s Six Shooter(2004) and Terry George’s The Shore(20012) all screened in Cork, so the bar has been set quite high and its no surprise the first group to screen did not disappoint.
The first program was Cork Shorts, all the films were produced in Cork, that have had a remarkable evolution since their inclusion into the festival about more than a decade ago. Without casting aspersions on past entries this year’s entries are really remarkable on every level from production values, to story line and acting. There were thirteen presented and few of our favorites were from filmmakers that have screened in Chicago in the past and as is always the case some new discoveries. On the heals of the brilliantly animated Daitha Agus Golaith (David and Goliath) by animator, Gerald O’Brien which screened at last year’s fest comes, The Scumbagnetic Effect, a wickedly funny animated film that “looks at the nature of bad behavior in Irish society” from the ASBO to bankers; looking forward to O’Brien’s take in obsessive social media users. Relationships have been the core of Mark Cogan’s series of three friends that started with Heart and Partly Cloudy and ends with The Handsome Shadows which was filled with pathos and a subtle reminder that we can’t control things happening, but with good friends we get by and move on.
The sun was blazing down on the River Lee as we drove into Cork City yesterday afternoon and it seemed to be the perfect omen to kick off our annual visit to one of Ireland’s most cultural cities and the 58th Cork Film Festival. First stop was the guest offices where we caught up with old friends, most especially Dawn McAllister and Ruby Moore who always treat us like American royalty, and got the inside scoop on festival and industry happenings we didn’t already have on our agenda. After posing for a jet lag picture to post on the “look who’s in Cork” wall we turned and there was the new festival director James Mullighan who was absolutely charming and most welcoming.
Not wanting to miss a single Irish film we have a quick dinner and then headed to The Pavilion for a screening of Luno Valleti’s The Invention of Failure…both the film and the space were quite interesting, the film a huge montage of vintage clips showcasing mankind’s missteps accompanied by live music and the space an old movie house broken into a bar and a dance club, strobe lights and all…we were warned. Then it was off to a midnight screening at Triskel Christchurch for a midnight screening of Marina DeVan’s Dark Touch a film that brings to mind Carrie and Firestarter featuring some brilliant special affects and acting by its young stars with absolutely no shortage of blood curdling screams and curdling blood. A good first day and no shortage of nightmare producing images…thank goodness for jet lag.
This morning we were in our seats for the 10 am screening of Colin Downey’s The Shadows, a small budget, but well executed, revamping of an old Scottish fairy tale by George Macdonald about a witched queen and the shadow people that help keep her evil designs in check over the centuries. Although the film may not have the rapid action and techno wizardry of most of today’s children’s films it was still really enjoyable and well received by the 100+ Jr. high students we viewed it with. Their Q&A after the screening with the director certainly proved that it held their attention and they were very interested in learning about “green screen” filming and the make-up used to create some of the characters.
The day is ending on high note with the first of eight shorts programs…tonight will be Cork Shorts I and we are very excited as always to see what’s new in a city that seems to have a young filmmaker standing on every corner. So we are off to grab a pint and hopefully snag the first of many great Irish shorts for our fest.
Back tomorrow with another festival update and hopefully a few films in hand.
DAY 6 – MARCH 6TH @ AMC THEATER
NO SHORTAGE OF SHORTS!
Do you like films that make you laugh out loud? How about films that capture small moments ? Mini history lessons? New economic recovery schemes? How about a bird that can’t fly? These and other topics great and small are part of the festival’s closing night SHORTS PROGRAM II. You will laugh, cry, gasp and smile when the films by 9 Irish filmmakers and 1 Irish American filmmaker light up the screen.
The festival welcomes Maeve McGrath the producer of the short film VANNER who also starred in the role of Marion. Turns out Maeve loves snow and Chicago so do say hello. Maeve is currently working on an Irish language documentary An Teach Mor In Eireann about castles and big houses in Ireland. BUY TICKETS
The evening begins with the announcement of two of the festival’s awards:
Mary Francis Bragiel, WLS News 890 AM, will announce the 2013 CIFF Festival Award winners, and Katie Hamilton, Public Affaires Officer at the Irish Consulate of Chicago, will announce the 2013 Consulate of Ireland Award to the film that best represented Irish culture In this year’s festival. Following the screening everyone is asked to vote for their favorite short and the 2013 CIFF Audience Award winners will be announced on line. The evening ends with the closing night reception at Lizzie McNeill’s. BUY TICKETS
Thank you to everyone who attended screenings at this year’s festival, we hope you had a wonderful time and look forward to sharing the best in Irish cinema with you at the 15th Chicago Irish Film Festival, March 2014.
Wednesday night marks the close of the 14th Chicago Irish Film Festival, but its not too late to grab some tickets, watch some films … all shorts, all night!….get into an intense debate over which one deserves to win the Audience Award …vote, vote vote and then head on over to Lizzie McNeill’s to down a pint. Don’t let the festival pass you by or you’ll be kicking your shillelagh until next year when we will be celebrating 15 years of brilliant Irish cinema.