Los Angeles Irish Film Festival, September 30 – October 3


The Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (LAIFF) today announced the program for the 2010 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (Thursday, September 30 through Sunday, October 3, 2010) including the U.S. premieres of “Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne” and the documentary “The Yellow Bittern,” and the West Coast premieres of “My Brothers,” “Cup Cake” and “Ballybrando”.

Except for opening night, the remainder of the LAIFF’s program of screenings and events will take place at the Aero Theater, Cinematheque, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, California.

“We are excited to be presenting a number of U.S. & West Coast premieres, continuing our tradition of bringing the best of Irish cinema to local audiences,” said Festival Director Lisa McLaughlin. “We are honored to be presenting a Tribute to Richard Harris and are moved to share the night with his family.”

Opening Night
Ian Fitzgibbon’s critically acclaimed crime comedy/drama “Perrier’s Bounty” starring Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent and Jodie Whittaker, with voice-over by Gabriel Byrne, kicks off the festival at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, September 30. In what is becoming a tradition at LAIFF, composer Eimear Noone will again be bringing her prodigious talent to Opening Night with a new original musical score that she will conduct to two rare silent films, “Will Rogers in Dublin” & “Ireland A Nation” (1914). The screenings will be followed by a reception with live music entertainment hosted by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland onsite at the Pickford Center.

Opening Night film, “Perrier’s Bounty” features three fugitives trying to escape from underworld boss, Perrier (Brendan Gleeson), who is determined to keep his pride and money after the accidental murder of one of his loyal cohorts. With only 24 hours to escape certain death, the trio must beat the clock, stay awake, and above all, pay Perrier’s bounty.

Closing Night
The festival will close on Sunday, October 3 beginning with a musical performance by Colin Devlin, whose 1994 critically debut album (with brother Peter, as The Devlins) won four stars in Rolling Stone. The Devlins are known for their TV & and movie soundtracks (Closer, Batman Forever, HBO’s Six Feet Under) and performing onstage with critically acclaimed REM and Sheryl Crow. Colin Devlin was nominated for a 2010 Meteor Award (the Irish Grammys) – for the 2009 release of Democracy of One, an exquisite solo album produced by Sarah McLachlan collaborator Pierre Marchand.

The musical entertainment will be followed by LAIFF’s annual “Steve Brennan Tribute,” founded in memory of the veteran journalist and International Editor for the Hollywood Reporter, which will be awarded this year to the iconic Irish actor Richard Harris (1933-2002) and presented by Brennan’s widow, Bernadette. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of Jim Sheridan’s acclaimed film “The Field,” a hard-hitting drama set in Ireland during the 1930s about one man’s obsession with a plot of land that his family tended for generations, for which Harris received an Oscar nomination. In what promises to be a memorable evening, Harris’s three sons, Jared, Damian and Jamie will accept the award on behalf of their father. Director Jim Sheridan will also be attending and will participate in a discussion following the screening.

US Premieres
LAIFF will present the US premiere of “Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne” directed by Conor McDermottroe starring Belfast actor Martin McCann (“The Sound of People,” “Killing Bono”) in the title role alongside Jodie Whittaker (“Perrier’s Bounty”), Marcella Plunkett (“Once”), Gerard McSorley (“Omagh”), Brid Brennan (“Dancing at Lughnasa”) and Owen Roe (“Intermission”). The film portrays the life of Austin ‘Occi’ Byrne who is brought up in Sligo by his alcoholic mother and suffers traumatic bullying at the hands of a local gang because he has no father. ‘Occi’ grows up plagued by anger, confusion and pain. In the hopes of unlocking his own identity and overcoming the past that haunts him, ‘Occi’ sets out to find his father and discover the secret of his birth. The film has received much attention on the festival circuit. Produced by Edwina Forkin (“Three Days in Dublin”) and Tom Maguire (“Headrush”) for Zanzibar Films in Ireland and Hermann Florin (“Une Femme sur Mesure”) for Florin Films in Germany, the film was co-financed by the IFB, RTÉ, Eurimages, Kinowelt and ZDF/Arte. Director Conor McDermottroe and producer Edwina Forkin will be in person at the screening.

The festival will also screen the US premiere of Alan Gilsenan’s documentary “The Yellow Bittern,” produced by John Murray and Anna Rodgers. A revealing portrait of the man Bob Dylan called “the best ballad singer I’d ever heard,” “The Yellow Bittern” chronicles the life of Liam Clancy, the youngest of the iconic Clancy Brothers. Featuring candid interviews and never-before-seen footage, some of it from Clancy’s personal archives, Gilsenan’s masterful documentary is a fascinating look at the life of one of Ireland’s great musical artists.

West Coast Premieres
“My Brothers” directed by Paul Fraser will receive its West Coast premiere at LAIFF. The film tells the story of seventeen year old Noel who, when the watch belonging to his dying father is accidentally broken, along with his brothers, Paudie and Scwally, “borrows” a broken-down bread van from his employer, and journeys to the seaside town of Ballybunion to find a replacement. The cast includes Timmy Creed, Paul Courtney, T J Griffin, Don Wycherley and Kate Ashfield, written by Will Collins and produced by Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole. The film is “uniquely Irish in setting and tone,” says Paul Fraser of his directorial debut. “[But] it deals with truly universal themes… The complex relationship between siblings and their need to identify themselves as separate to each other while being profoundly connected.” Director Paul Fraser will be in person at the screening.

The festival will also present the West Coast premiere of “Cup Cake” directed by Colin McIvor, with a cast that includes Adam Best, Michelle Fairley, Paddy Jenkins, Clive Russell, Kasia Koleczek and Marie Jones. Written by Christine Murphy and produced by Katy Jackson, Colin McIvor’s hilarious directorial debut tells the story of young P.J., who when business begins to crumble, rallies to save the family bakery from ruin with a little help from his quirky friends and neighbors.

Special Screenings
The festival will also present a special screening of “Ballybrando,” directed by Brendan Byrne, a documentary charting the ill-fated 1995 Irish film “Divine Rapture,” which had Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp among its stars. The documentary tells the story of the ‘greatest film never made in Ireland’, as the project was brought to a halt as a result of financial difficulties. Just over 20 minutes of footage had been shot of the film, which focused on an elderly priest (Brando) who believes in the power of miracles. Divine Rapture was being filmed in the Cork village of Ballycotton in 1995.

As the “Cinemagic Spotlight,” LAIFF will screen a special family matinee of “A Shine of Rainbows” on Saturday, October 2 at 4 pm. A poignant tale of a loving mother, a reluctant father, and the extraordinary journey that brings a young orphan home to an island off the coast of Ireland where discovers the hidden magical life of the island. An official Irish/Canadian co-production directed by Vic Sarin and starring Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen the film was shot in Donegal and was produced by James Flynn for Octagon Films in Ireland and Tina Pehme and Kim Roberts for Sepia Films in Canada.

Notable shorts include “Moore Street Masala” directed by David O’Sullivan, starring Deva Naidu and Anna Wilson, produced by Miriam Cahill. This delightful musical short tells the story of Baba, a store clerk, and his love for the woman across the street.

The festival dates are Thursday, September 30 through Sunday, October 3, 2010.

The 2010 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival is co-presented by The American Cinematheque. The Irish Film Board (Bord Scannán na hÉireann), Ireland’s national film agency, and Culture Ireland are partners of LAIFF. ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) is a founding sponsor. The Irish Film Institute is a premier sponsor. Other sponsors include Bushmills, Kerrygold, Kensington Caterers, Rosemarie McCaffrey, Guinness, MyIrishPride.com, Grafton on Sunset and ElaineKim.com.

For more information about the festival including the complete line-up, and to purchase tickets to Opening and Closing Night and general admission tickets to individual films at LAIFF go to http://www.lairishfilm.com/


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Sara Tehrani

Sara Tehrani, is a film publicist and a fan of international cinema

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