13th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival
Beverly Arts Center of Chicago
Festival pass: $65 ($50 for BAC members), includes all screenings, opening and closing night receptions.
All showings $10 ($8 for BAC members) unless otherwise indicated
The “real” Ireland often takes a backseat to a more cartoonish version in the U.S. around this time of year, as the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is celebrated through the wearing of leprechaun hats and the consumption of green beer. While the trinkets and revelry are all in good fun, there are alternatives around town to the usual St. Patty’s festivities. One great way to find a more genuine and contemporary Irish experience is through the island nation’s current contributions to cinema. Luckily, the south side offers more for St. Pat’s than dubious parade experiences, so consider checking out the 13th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival at the Beverly Arts Center March 2-7. Here’s a guide to this year’s six-day ode to Irish filmmaking.
Friday, March 2
Opening Night Gala featuring the US premiere of The Road to Moneygall (2011), the Academy Award-winning short film The Shore (2011), and a reception prior to the screenings.
$30 ($25 for BAC members)
The Road to Moneygall is an hour-long documentary about President Obama’s distant cousin Henry Healy, and his campaign to host a visit by the President himself to the remote village of Moneygall, Co. Offaly, the birthplace of Obama’s five-times great grandfather. Also showing is the short film The Shore, a story of reunited friends whose lives diverged through the Northern Ireland conflict, directed by Terry George (director of Hotel Rwanda and screenwriter for In the Name of the Father).
Saturday, March 3
Ballymun Lullaby (2010) tells the story of music teacher Ron Cooney and the culmination of 15 years working with students in Ireland’s only high-rise housing estate. Also screening: A Pedigree Performance (2011) and The Russian Elephant in the Room (2010).
Bram Stoker agus Dracula (2011) is a documentary about Dubliner Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. Also screening is the short psychological horror film Mummy’s Little Helper (2010).
U.S. premiere screening of Hot Press: The Write Stuff (2011), a documentary by the director of The Last Waltz and A Call to Arms on the groundbreaking 1970s music magazine Hot Press, which is still in publication. Featured with the short films Into the Light (2011) and Moore St. Masala (2009).
Behold the Lamb (2011) tells the bleak, yet humorous, tale a pair of outsiders traveling the countryside of Northern Ireland. Also screening are the short films Night Nurse (2010) and the award-winning Jam Today (2011).
Sunday, March 4
Blazing the Trail: The O’Kalem’s in Ireland (2011) is a documentary on the Kalem Film Company and the early, ground-breaking films they made in Ireland in the early 1910s. Also screening are a pair of short Kalem Co. films from the Irish Film Archives: The Lad from Old Ireland (1910) and His Mother (1912).
The 90th anniversary screening of Come On Over (1922) will feature organist Dennis Scott of the Chicago Silent Film Society and the Music Box Theater. The film tells the story of an Irish emigrant in New York whose long-distance love, Moyna, makes a surprise visit with unexpected results.
Monday, March 5
The Midwest premiere of A Kiss for Jed Wood (2010), about an unpredictable 19-year-old who travels to New York to compete for a TV game show prize by pursuing a kiss from country star Jed Wood. Also screening: Riders to the Sea (2011) and Love at First Sight (2010).
Tuesday, March 6
Nine years in the making, Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey (2011) is a documentary on the extraordinary life of 1960s activist Bernadette Devlin. Director Lelia Doolan will attend the screening, which will include a Q & A session and a showing of the short film The Marvels of Mick Murphy.
Wednesday, March 7
Closing Night Gala: Shorts Night
$20 ($15 for BAC members)
Eleven shorts will be screened on closing night: Patience, Tom’s Sceadu, Never Ever Open It, Dark Side of the Lens, Downpour, Deep End Dance, Hamster Heaven, The Heist, Leitronium, The Fisherman and Clockhead. Tickets to the closing reception include a post film reception.