LA Irish Film Festival opened last night and continues until October 2nd


The 2010 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival opened Thursday, September 29 at the Linwood Dun Theatre in Hollywood and continues through Sunday, October 2 ate The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

The invitational Opening Night Gala, at the Linwood Dunn Theater, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, honored renowned Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan with The Steve Brennan Tribute and a special screening of “The Guard” (starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Fionnula Flanagan). First time feature director John Michael McDonagh’s comedic thriller, “The Guard” is the most successful independent Irish film in Irish box office history. The Gala evening included a special performance by opera singer Judith Mok and pianist Dearbhla Collins.

 Friday, September 30, 2011
 7.30pm THE KILLING JOKE (Short musical feature)   15mins    2011
 Director: Sebastian Lopez
 Producers: Juan Pablo Cartagena
 Writers: Sebastian Lopez
 Cast: Gustavo Marzo, Clarisa Staracci
 Edited by: Sabrina Mottino
 Music by: Colin Devlin
 “The Killing Joke” is a 15-minute suspense/fiction short film about  a mysterious woman that finds a red balloon tied up to a curious little box  on an eerie derelict street. Using classic elements of suspense and working  within a seventies aesthetic, ‘The Killing Joke’ is an action packed film  that pays homage to some of the horror movies from that era.

 THE SWELL SEASON (Documentary) 91mins    2011 WEST COAST PREMIERE
 Directors: Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis
 Producers: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
 Cast: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová.
 Edited by: Nick August
 Most people know Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, the charmingly  un-Hollywood actors and singer-songwriters who starred in the film “Once,” for their memorable 2008 Oscar win for Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly”). Yet behind the award was a more complex story of Hansard and Irglová’s onscreen romance becoming reality, and the grueling two-year world  music tour that threatened to permanently fracture their relationship. The  film explores the upsides and downsides of artistic collaboration, success  and love as they follow the Irish musical couple on their difficult yet  constantly illuminating journey.

 NO JERICHO (Short Music video)
 Director: Niall McKay
 Editor: John Murphy
 Grammy winner Susan McKeown performs No Jericho from her
 forthcoming album Belong Accompanied by Ryan McGiver, Eamon O’Leary, Doug
 Wieselman & Shahzad Ismail

 THE COMMITMENTS (Feature) 118mins   1991
 (Paul Bushnell, the music arranger, will be present.)
 Director: Alan Parker
 Producers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
 Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (screenplay) based on the novella by  Roddy Doyle. Cast: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Colm Meaney, Glen Hansard, Andrea Corr
 A young hustling Dubliner shapes a ragtag bunch of miscreant Irish  kids into a full-blown rock’n’soul revue despite their best efforts to  self-destruct. The raw talents of the Irish performers imbue Motown soul  classics with Celtic heart.

 SPOTLIGHT SCREENING Saturday, October 1, 2011 Aero Theatre, Santa Monica
 5pm: BYE BYE NOW (Documentary)  15mins    2011
 Director: Aideen O’Sullivan, Ross Whitaker.
 Producer: Aideen O’Sullivan, Ross Whitaker.
 Editor: Andrew Hearne
 “Bye Bye Now!” is an amusing, poignant documentary about the fate of the Irish phone box, which has gone from the center of society to the verge of extinction. This short documentary intertwines wonderful anecdotes with the warmest of characters as they recount their memories of the small concrete structure that was so important in rural Ireland.

 THE PIPE (Documentary) co-presented by Women in Film International
 Q&A with producer Rachel Lysaght to follow screening   81mins    2010
 Director: Risteard O’Domhnaill
 Producer: Rachel Lysaght
 A compelling documentary film four years in the making, “The Pipe” tells the story of the small Rossport community which has taken on the might of Shell Oil and the Irish State. The discovery of gas off this remote coastal village has led to the most dramatic clash of cultures in modern Ireland. The rights of farmers over their fields, and of fishermen to their fishing grounds, has come in direct conflict with one of the world’s most powerful oil companies. When the citizens look to their State to protect their rights, they find that the government has put Shell’s right to lay a pipeline over their own.

 7.30pm DREAMING THE QUIET MAN (Documentary) 90mins   2010 US PREMIERE
 Director: Sé Merry Doyle
 Producers: Vanessa Gildea, Martina Durac
 When it was released ‘The Quiet Man’ became a monster hit all  across the world and won Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography.  Its impact went way beyond the Irish Diaspora and it still resonates with international audiences almost 60 years later. This documentary delves into the psyche of John Ford and his twenty-year struggle to bring his homage to his parent’s homeland to the screen. The film features contributions from commentators and filmmakers including Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Jim Sheridan and, exclusively, Maureen O’ Hara.

 THE QUIET MAN (Feature)  129mins    1952
 Director: John Ford
 Producers: John Ford, Merin C. Cooper
 Writers: Frank S. Nugent based on a story by Maurice Walsh
 Cast: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
 This classic film is the story of a retired American boxer returning to the Irish village where he was born, where he finds love, won five major awards and was nominated for another eight.
 “CONTEMPORARY FILM” Sunday, October 2, 2011 Aero Theatre, Santa Monica

 5pm: KNUCKLE (Documentary). West Coast Premier.
 Q&A with Ian Palmer and James Quinn McDonagh to
 follow screening   97min     2011
 Director: Ian Palmer
 Producers: Teddy Leifer and Ian Palmer
 Cast: Ian Palmer (voice), James Quinn McDonagh.
 Residing in Ireland, the Travellers are a traditionally nomadic clan with a deep sense of communal pride. In a feat of dogged persistence, documentarian Ian Palmer followed the Travellers for 12 years, becoming close with the people and their traditions, particularly James Quinn McDonagh, the confident if reluctant bare-knuckle defender constantly called upon to fight his cousins.

 7:30pm YUKI (Short film)  2011
 Director: Jonathan Beer
 Producers: Larry Cowan, Brian J. Falconer
 Writers: Brian J. Falconer, Jonathan Beer
 Cast: Haruka Abe, Junichi Kajioka, Lalor Roddy
 Yuki’s world has changed. Without a medical diagnosis for her mother’s mysterious illness, Yuki knows it’s time to face her demons to have any chance of saving her mother.

 PARKED (Feature) 90 min    2011
 Director: Darragh Byrne
 Producers: Jacqueline Kerrin, Dominic Wright
 Writers: Ciaran Creagh
 Cast: Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Alroth
 Lonely and beleaguered Fred Daly (Colm Meaney) returns to his native Ireland with no place to call home except his car. When pothead Cathal (Colin Morgan) parks next to him, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. With Cathal’s help, Fred begins to put his life back together little by little, and starts by introducing himself to cute, unusual music teacher Jules.

 PENTECOST (Short Film) 11mins     2011
 Director: Peter McDonald
 Producer: Eimear O’ Kane
 Writer: Peter McDonald
 Cast: Scott Graham, Andrew Bennett, Michael McElhatton, Eamonn Hunt
 Ireland 1977. Eleven-year-old Damian Lynch (Scott Graham) is forced into the toughest decision a young boy could possibly face: satisfy family, friends, church by doing the responsible thing and serve as a last minute replacement altar boy or indulge his own passion for football and his favorite team, Liverpool.

 THE RUNWAY (Feature) Q&A with Ian Power follows screening  110mins 2010
 Director: Ian Power
 Producers: Ian Power, Macdara Kelleher, Brendan McDonald
 Writers: Ian Power
 Cast: James Cosmo, Kerry Condon, Demián Birchir, Jamie Kierans
 “The Runway “is inspired by the true story of a South American pilot who landed his plane near Mallow, in 1983. Against all odds, the people of the town came together to build a runway to get him home and briefly caught the imagination of the nation. It is the story of Paco, a young boy without a father who adopts the pilot and convinces the town to build a runway to get him home.

The Los Angeles Irish Film Festival  was asked to participate in Culture Ireland’s “Imagine Ireland,” a program launched this year by the Irish Government, as a celebration of the Irish imagination, in the belief that arts and culture are vital to Ireland’s recovery and the relationship between our two countries.  “We are especially proud that Gabriel Byrne, whose documentary “Gabriel Byrne: Stories From Home” was presented by the Los Angeles Irish Festival, is the Cultural Ambassador for Imagine Ireland.” said festival Director, Lisa McLaughlin.

The 2011 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 is a partner of LAIFF. Sponsors include Culture Ireland, The Irish Film Institute, ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America), LA Galaxy, The Huntley Hotel Santa Monica, Kensington Caterers, Santini Wines, Rosemarie McCaffrey, Reel Ireland, Bushmills, Kerrygold, Guinness,, Rosti Chicken, Grafton on Sunset, Living by Lynne Leventen on Montana Avenue, Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tala and Women In Film International. The Shangri-La hotel in Santa Monica is the Closing Night sponsor.

For more information about the festival including the complete line-up, and to purchase tickets to Closing Night and general admission tickets to individual films at LAIFF go to


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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