One of the greatest things that happens at a festival is the burst of dialogue and debate that occurs after the screenings as audience members, directors, producers and actors engage in lively discussions about the films they just saw. It is the stuff of art and what makes presenting the festival meaningful and exciting for everyone involved. Add to that energy the chance to select your favorite film and then waiting to see if others agreed; the power of the vote! And so it is with great thanks to all of the audience members and the festival's selection committee that we announce this year's awardees:
2017 Festival Award
2017 Audience Awards
Consulate of Ireland Award
Since 2012 the festival has awarded a prize to a film that captures the spirit, culture and history of Ireland selected and presented by the Consul General of Ireland-Chicago. This year is the first time the award has been won by an American, in fact four Americans!
Thank you to all of the filmmakers for sharing their talents, our wonderful sponsors who do so much to make it all possible, our committee members who work tirelessly to create a great event, our volunteers who jump in and help any and everywhere and of course our audiences that made every screening one to remember. Thank you for making the 18th Chicago Irish Film Festival a grand success.
Congratulations to all of this year's winners!
Abner Brown Barbershop has become one of the main and most interesting music venues in Ireland. The short-documentary “More than a Barbershop” tells the story of this famous Dublin barbershop, where renowned international bands and musicians have performed. The barbershop has been recently nominated to the “Irish Live Music Venue of the Year Awards” for 2016.
This documentary will be screened at The Chicago Irish Film Festival the first weekend of March. The documentary has been awarded as the best documentary at the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival in 2016 at Queens, New York City. It has also been screened in a few film festivals in Europe, such as “Fingal Film Festival” and the “Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival”.
“1844 Times Projects” has created a documentary which captures what is happening in this small corner of Dublin. The idea of featuring concerts in a barbershop would be crazy, but in here it becomes real, friendly and open to everyone. Hundreds of acts have already performed at Abner Brown, such as Ash, Gavin Glass, Duke Special, David Geraghty (of Bell X1 fame), Molly Sterling, Mundy, The Hot Sprockets and many more. Even Michael Stipe, REM singer, was a visitor to this alternative spot last time he was in Dublin. “More than a Barbershop” tells how a passion for music turned a local old-school barbershop into an icon of the Irish music scene.
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We are delighted to welcome you to the 18th Chicago Irish Film Festival and are looking forward to sharing with you a program of amazing stories. This year we were once again overwhelmed not only by the number of entries, but also by the diversity from across Ireland and beyond. And we are doubly thrilled that several of this year’s filmmakers, that had screened at the festival in the past, are back again, including the Consulate of Ireland award winner, David Quin, with his brilliantly animated social satire Proceeds of Crime and Len Collin’s remarkable and ground-breaking debut feature film Sanctuary which will be having its US premier.
A few years back we began presenting short films by filmmakers with Irish heritage and it comes as no surprise that this wealth of talent has created many amazing stories this year highlighted by Ken Womack’s Reel Time which captures the vibrant spirit of Celtic music and dance and the collective effort of four young documentary directors, Rachel Lattin, Michelle Sahlin, Brett Melnick and Peter Heres to capture the struggles and hopes of the Killary Sheep Farm in Walk On.
And a love of Ireland is front and center in films by filmmakers that have immigrated to Ireland judging by the films More Than A Barbershop directed by Xandru Ramirez and Fernando Perandones about the unique barbershop slash music venue, Abner Browns, in the Dublin neighborhood of Rathmines and Alessandro Negrini’s Tides: A History of Lives and Dreams Lost and Found (some broken) a poetic journey on the River Foyle.
No festival can survive without sponsors who share our vision of presenting unique, challenging and extraordinary Irish films and so we are very grateful to this year’s festival sponsors. Please do take a moment to check them out as they are as diverse as our program spanning unique Irish gifts at Biddy Murphys, to financial planning with Doder-Wash and one of Chicago’s most iconic bar’s Butch McQuires.
We would also like to say thank you to all our many cultural sponsors including Culture Ireland, Ireland Film & Television, The Irish Consulate of Chicago, Ireland Network-Chicago, The Irish American Heritage Center and our media sponsors the Irish American News and Windy City Irish Radio.
Finally, but with no less gratitude, thank you to the amazing people who have worked tirelessly to make the festival a success, from the board of directors, the 2017 Festival Committee, the volunteers and finally, those of you who have come to enjoy the best in indie Irish cinema.
THANK YOU AND ENJOY THE FEST!
Board of Directors
2017 Festival & Program Committee
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18th Chicago Irish Film Festival