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VANCITY THEATRE NOVEMBER 29TH - DECEMBER 1ST 2019

www.virff.org


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VANCOUVER IRISH FILM FESTIVAL


FESTIVAL DIRECTOR: Áine Coady GRAPHIC DESIGN: Bernard Sloan Design COPY EDITOR: Padraic Coffey IFI COORDINATOR : Eleanor Melinn

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ÁINE COADY What an adventure it’s been this year, my second year living in Beautiful BC! After another fabulous summer, bring on the autumn temperatures so we can cozy up in the cinema. I am so excited to open these cinema doors to you all again, for our second Vancouver Irish Film Festival. This year’s three-day festival will showcase the best of Irish film from family fare to an Irish Language documentary and a fantastic new shorts program ‘Irish at The Oscars’! None of this would be possible without our incredibly generous sponsors and of course the vibrant Irish community in Vancouver, we thank you for your support and encouragement. Special thanks to our wonderful committee who have given their time to promote the work of Irish Filmmakers abroad. Sit back, relax and enjoy everything the festival has to offer. See you on the green carpet Áine Coady VIRFF Festival Director

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CONSULATE GENERAL

Dia dhaoibh go leir a chairde agus fáilte romhaibh. It is with great pleasure that I send a very warm welcome to you all for the Second Vancouver Irish Film Festival. I know how much dedicated effort and teamwork goes into putting together such a Festival, so I want to commend Áine Coady and all of those involved who make it possible for us to enjoy the best of Irish cinema right here in Canada. You are doing a tremendous job promoting Irish cinema and filmmakers, and sharing your love of Irish film with new audiences. We in the Embassy of Ireland are delighted to be supporters and partners in this endeavour. I have no doubt this year’s Festival will only build on last year’s successes and showcase some of the great talent Irish cinema has to offer. I wish you all a very enjoyable Festival. Go n-eirí libh go leir. Jim Kelly Ambassador of Ireland

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It was wonderful to see Vancouver embrace the inaugural Irish Film Festival last year, and it’s brilliant to see the festival return for a second year. This second festival promises to show even more delights from this small windy and wet rock that means so much to so many around the world who call it home. Irish and Canadian cooperation in the film space continues to go strong, with a number of new projects in the pipeline thanks to our co-development treaty and our co-development schemes. We are particularly pleased to see the selection of Oscar-nominated and winning Irish shorts as part of the programme. While they do not last long on the screen they do live long in the memory so audiences are in for a real treat. We wish the entire VIRFF team the very best of luck with round 2 and we hope that audiences continue to find a welcome escape in an Irish film. Ádh Mór Oraibh! Niall Murphy, Editor of Scannain

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SCREEN IRELAND WWW.VIRFF.ORG

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Cíara Fitzgerald; Cíara McGinnity; Ciaran McGoldrick; Eilis Courtney; Eleanor Melinn; Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh; Frank Flood; J Bradford; Jennifer Bourke; Katherine Kiss; Krystel Aquino; Maura De Freitas; Michael Viens; Siobhán Young; Tom Charity

Volunteers - Áine Geoghegan; Pádraic Coffey; Heather Maguire; Laura Brunnock; Bernard Sloan; Cathal Dunphy; Áine Coady; Susan O’Brien; Karen Downey; Amy Dennehy

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SCHEDULE

SCHEDULE

Shorts Programme 13:00 Page 32

15:00

16:00

Opening Reception Doors Open 6.30pm

Into The West 15:15

The Irish Pub 14:45 Page 30

Saturday Matinee

17:00

Gala – 7pm Irish Traditional Session with The Trad Lads and the Pretty Regulars

Page 32

Gaza 16:30 Page 20

18:00

Irish Dancing performance by Watt School of Irish Dance

The Camino Voyage 17:30 Page 21

19:00

Jameson samples, Tayto and Irish Food Stall

The Dig 18:25 No Dogs short by Roisín Kearney

20:00 A Bump Along The Way 19:45 21:00

Page 24

Rosie 19:30 Page 18

Page 14

Extra Ordinary 20:20 Page 26

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HOW TO

WHATYOU’RE WHAT YOU’RE GOINGTO GOING TONEED. NEED.

THINGSYOU THINGS YOU NEED NEEDTO TOKNOW. KNOW.

TICKETS:

VENUE:

Book tickets online @

1181 Seymour St., Vancouver, BC V6B 3M7

Vancity Theatre

virff.org & viff.org

To attend a film screening at Vancity Theatre you

or Box Office Helpline: 604.683.3456

must be a Greater Vancouver International Film

GALA REGULAR 3-MOVIES

SHOWTIME:

$20 $13 $30

(EXCLUDES GALA NIGHT)

Festival member. Membership fee for the year is $2

Arrive at the venue with your tickets ready. Should you have any questions at the

SPECIAL MATINEE PRICING

venue, ask one of our friendly volunteers

INTO THE WEST $13 YOUTH TICKET (INTO THE WEST ONLY) $9

wearing a VIRFF t-shirt.

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Follow us on Social Media for all our news and updates

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Emery Barnes Park

Terms & Conditions Please note that all information contained in this brochure is correct at the time of printing but that changes may occur.

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A BUMP ALONG THE WAY SHELLY LOVE

COMEDY/DRAMA, 2019

Preceded by the Opening Gala with Irish Music and Dance.

Bronagh Gallagher has popped up in everything from Pulp Fiction to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but is probably most familiar to viewers from the smash-hit Irish classic, The Commitments. A Bump Along the Way gives Gallagher her meatiest role in years, delivering what the RTÉ Guide has described as “her best performance to date” in a comedy from firsttime director Shelly Love, and screenwriter Tess McGowan. Gallagher plays Pamela, 44-year-old mum of teenager Allegra (Lola Pettigrew). After a birthday bash and one-night stand, Pamela finds herself pregnant, and forced to deal with the reality of being what her doctor calls a “geriatric mother.” There is also the problem of what Allegra - already undergoing a hard time at school, dealing with an unrequited crush on a local rugby player - thinks of her mother’s predicament. Serious though it may sound, A Bump Along the Way is actually one of the funniest, most charming films of the year. Pamela and Allegra spar over the latter’s vegetarianism, and the absence of Allegra’s father, for which Pamela is blamed. There is also broader social commentary in the film – Northern Ireland, in which the film is set, is currently the only part of either the UK or Ireland where there is no access to abortion services, a point touched upon without sides being taken.

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Gallagher is ably supported by Lola Pettigrew, an up-andcoming Irish actress who starred in the ITV mini-series Next of Kin, as well as Mary Moulds as Pamela’s best friend Sinead.

FRI 29TH NOV, 19:45 Bronagh Gallagher, Lola Petticrew, Mary Moulds

Winning Best Irish Feature at the 31st Galway Film Fleadh, 95 mins A Bump Along the Way was produced by Roma Downey, another Derry girl, perhaps best known for starring in the hit 1990s drama Touched by an Angel, and Louise Gallagher, sister of Bronagh, making A Bump Along the Way a family affair in more ways than one.

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ROSIE PADDY BREATHNACH

DRAMA, 2018

“Inspired by too many true stories.” So goes the tagline for Rosie, a deeply affecting film about a mother of four, struggling to find emergency accommodation in Dublin city centre. Set over the course of 36 hours, Rosie is a slice of neorealism that harks back to classics like Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D. and Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home. Its screenwriter, Roddy Doyle, might be the most acclaimed figure in contemporary Irish literature, and director Paddy Breathnach has helmed everything from crime caper I Went Down to slasher horror Shrooms. The film examines a subject familiar to many viewers in Vancouver - a scarcity of affordable housing. Whether in BC’s biggest city, or Ireland’s capital, the struggle to keep a roof over one’s head is far too resonant in the modern age. The film’s titular character’s life is thrown into turmoil when her landlord announces the immediate sale of the house she and her family had been living in for seven years. With children ranging from 6 to 13years old, the task facing Rosie is no mean feat.

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SAT 30TH NOV, 19:30 Rosie is played by Sarah Greene, perhaps best known as Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, one of the stars of the Showtime show Penny Dreadful. Her Ellie O’Halloran performance is one of quiet anguish, doing her best to hide her frustration, and using ‘sorry’ as a verbal crutch, while she scrambles through phonecall after phonecall. Her husband, 86 mins John Paul (Moe Dunford), is a full-time dishwasher on a paltry wage, leaving her with the burden of securing a place for the six of them to stay. Dunford’s already chequered career is littered with memorable roles, none more so than Aethelwulf in the Irish-Canadian co-production, Vikings.

There is also considerable talent behind the camera, besides Doyle and Breathnach. Editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle has worked on Ripper Street and The Crown, composer Stephen Rennicks provided the music for Lenny Abraham’s Room and Frank, and cinematographer Cathal Watters was a director-of-photography on Peaky Blinders.

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GAZA GARRY KEANE, ANDREW MCCONNELL DOCUMENTARY, 2019

There are few topics more provocative than the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories. With Gaza - focusing on the strip of land sandwiched between Egypt and Israel, 25 miles long and seven miles wide - Irish documentary-makers Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell sought to focus not on the conflict itself, but on the lives led in spite of it. Filmed over four years, it is, naturally, unlikely to escape controversy. Leave political biases at the door, however, and what emerges is an, at times, beautiful, heartbreaking look at an often-misrepresented part of the world. In Gaza, we meet 14-year-old Ahmed, whose father has 40 children by three different women. This startling revelation risks reinforcing prejudices certain viewers might have, but Ahmed’s aspiration to become a fisherman is one to which any young boy living in a coastal community could relate. There is also 19-old-year cellist Karam. Seen practicing her classical instrument, her life is a reminder that news footage of downtrodden ‘victims,’ permanently surrounded by rubble, does a disservice to the complexity of Palestinian society. There is a tailor, trying to run a business on four hours of electricity a day. He is the only character in the film to mention Hamas - whom the Canadian government deems a “radical

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Islamist-nationalist terrorist organization.” Hamas took control of the Gaza strip in 2007, allowing no elections since. In the tailor’s estimation, reconciliation with Israelis is impossible as long as Hamas remain in charge - dangerous words to utter aloud.

SUN 1ST DEC, 16:30

92 mins

Gaza was selected as Ireland’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Academy Awards. Whether it makes the final shortlist remains to be seen, but this powerful work certainly deserves a wide audience, independent of any awards glory.

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THE CAMINO VOYAGE DONAL O’CEILLEACHAIR

DOCUMENTARY, 2018

“Mother of God. They are authentic Celts!” So proclaims a local man in Galicia, Northern Spain, upon seeing the arrival of four artists and musicians who have travelled 2,500km from Ireland in a naomhóg, a traditional canoe built with their own hands. The process of assembling the vessel - done over six weeks between 2014 and 2016 - and then undertaking the epic journey to Santiago de Compostela is documented in Dónal Ó Céilleachair’s heartwarming film, which has already picked up awards in New York, Luxembourg and Ireland. The four men aboard the boat, christened the Naomh Gobnait, are poet Danny Sheehy, artist Liam Holden, musician Brendan Begley and stonemason Breandán Moriarty. They are joined for the last leg of the journey by Glen Hansard, who steps in when Moriarty is unable to finish. Hansard is the Oscar-winning songwriter who starred in John Carney’s Once, and also had a formidable career in bands The Frames and The Swell Season. A Dubliner, his participation in the voyage was comapred by Begley to “bringing (Irish racehorse) Shergar to plough a field.”

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Described by Irish writer Manchán Magan as “possibly the most moving, emotional and beautiful film I’ve seen in the last few years,” The Camino Voyage is a testament to grit, determination, and tradition. We learn that the ancient Celtic voyage to Santiago de Compostela, where biblical apostle St James is buried, dates back centuries, and that 2016 marked the 800th anniversary of the first recorded pilgrimage from Ireland to Spain.

SAT 30TH NOV, 17:30 Glen Hansard, Liam Holden, Danny Sheehy

97 mins

For all the joy on display in The Camino Voyage, there is also a poignancy, owing to the fact that Danny Sheehy - known also as Domhnall Mac Síthigh - died in 2017 when the Naomh Gobnait overturned near the mouth of the river Minho. This tragic event renders Ó Céilleachair’s film even more poignant, but what better tribute than a record of what Sheehy and his companions achieved.

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THE DIG ANDY TOHILL, RYAN TOHILL

THRILLER, 2018

In June 2003, the partial remains of a body were found in a bog in Co Offaly. This remarkably well-preserved torso and arms did not belong to a local who had disappeared recently, but in fact dated back over 2,000 years, to the Iron Age in Ireland. It became known as the Old Croghan Man. There is a reference to Old Croghan Man in The Dig, the debut feature from brothers Andy and Ryan Tohill, but the body at the centre of this thriller is a very different one, ostensibly buried somewhere in a grim Irish wetland. It belongs to Niamh, the one-time girlfriend of Ronan Callahan (Moe Dunford). Callahan has just left prison for the apparent murder of Niamh, a crime for which he served 15 years, despite having no recollection of the event in question. So inebriated was he on the night in question, he was unable to locate Niamh’s body. That task fell to Sean McKenna (Lorcan Cranitch), Niamh’s father, who has spent the last decade-and-a-half digging holes in the bog, trying to find the remains of his daughter. Upon Ronan’s return, the two spar, understandably, but then join up to see if Niamh’s remains can be found, and closure finally given. Meanwhile, Sean’s other daughter Roberta (Emily Taafe), has to contend with the return with the man who is seen as her sister’s killer, and then

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there’s the local police chief Murphy (Franics Magee) who, like many of the townsfolk, feels not enough of a price has been paid for Niamh’s death.

SUN 1ST DEC, 18:25 Moe Dunford, Francis Magee, Lorcan Cranitch

Filmed in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, one of the most 97 mins impressive aspects of The Dig is how it sidesteps politics. Anyone familiar with the Troubles will know of the horror of bodies found in bogs on both sides of the border. Yet the Tohill brothers are not concerned with alluding to recent Irish history, but in telling a chilly - and chilling - drama with plot twists not all will see coming.

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EXTRA ORDINARY MIKE AHERN, ENDA LOUGHMAN COMEDY, FANTASY, HORROR, 2019

Described by one film critic as “Ghostbusters meets Napoleon Dynamite,” Extra Ordinary is a supernatural comedy set in a rural Irish town. Maeve Higgins stars as Rose Dooley, a driving instructor with a niche talent she would prefer go unused – the ability to communicate with the dead. Her hesitation when it comes to exploiting this gift stems from the death of her paranormal investigator father (Risteárd Cooper), for which she feels responsible. However, she cannot stand idly by when a fading, one-hit-wonder pop star (Will Forte) arrives, planning to sacrifice a virgin to fufill a pact with the devil for a second bite at fame. While many viewers will be familiar with Will Forte, an alum of Saturday Night Live and star of cult favourites like MacGruber, Extra Ordinary belongs to Maeve Higgins. Higgins’ career started on the hugely popular RTÉ comedy show Naked Camera, where she played a variety of roles. She subsequently moved to New York, working as a standup, and appearing on Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central. Extra Ordinary is Higgins’s first lead role in a film, though it won’t be her last. Extra Ordinary is co-directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, who also wrote the screenplay, with additional material from Higgins and Damien Fox. There are cameos aplenty, including Siobhan McSweeney, who fans of TV’s Derry Girls will recognise as Sister

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Michael, Claudia O’Doherty of Netflix’s Love, and cult comedian Alison Spittle. Like many films which straddle the line between humour and horror, there are plenty of laughs to be had in Extra Ordinary, but there is also some surprisingly scary imagery, putting it in the traditional of other favourites like What We Do in the Shadows and Shaun of the Dead. A must-see!

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SUN 1ST DEC, 20:20 Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, Will Forte

94 mins

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AN AUTHENTIC IRISH PUB IN THE HEART OF VANCOUVER'S CITY CENTRE --WEEKDAYS 11AM - LATE WEEKENDS 9AM - LATE --JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER --SUNDAY ROAST CARVERY 3PM - 9PM --HAPPY HOUR FROM 3PM TO 7PM EVERY DAY --LIVE MUSIC EVERY NIGHT

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VANCOUVER IRISH FILM FESTIVAL


8TH ANNUAL

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TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC

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CAROLS

TUESDAY DECEMBER 17 7PM

Admission by Cash Donation for:

3617 West Broadway Vancouver 604-738-8909

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THE IRISH PUB ALEX FEGAN

DOCUMENTARY, 2013

“You go to England for tea. You go to Ireland for the Irish pub. Isn’t that what you do?” - Emma O’Brien, Barmaid, Clancy’s, Athy, Co Kildare. For decades, Irish pubs have sprung up in every corner of the planet, ready-made embassies to a consistently exiled people. At home in Ireland, they are the meeting point for all members of the community; those in search of spirited conversation, of traditional music sessions and, in the days gone by, everything from fundraising to matchmaking. The Irish Pub is a small but perfectly crafted documentary, best encapsulated with the opening caption, attributed to WB Yeats, “There are no strangers here, only friends you have not yet met.” We see, in everywhere from Bundoran, Co Donegal to Ballylongford, Co Kerry, the people who shape the inimitable atmosphere of an Irish pub. Much like James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury’s acclaimed Vanishing Ireland collection of pictorial interviews, The Irish Pub captures the flat-capped, weathered faces of an Ireland long predating the modern age. The hard decades which rural Ireland suffered immediately post-Independence are not shied away from. Emigration looms large, be it in a cork hat brought from Australia by a briefly

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returning local, to English-born Adrienne McCarthy of McCarthy’s Bar, Castletownbere, Co Cork, whose father, a qualified doctor, left Ireland on the eve of the Second World War. The so-called ‘brain drain’ which Ireland recently experienced will add an extra layer of poignancy to such scenes among younger viewers.

SUN 1ST DEC, 14:45 Liam Aherne, Willie Aherne, Bobby Blackwell

76 mins

Clocking in at a succinct 76 minutes, The Irish Pub far from outstays its welcome. Indeed, viewers may pine further for the sense of camaraderie displayed throughout its running length. Yet short of a visit to your own local watering hole, a viewing of Alex Fegan’s thoughtful, witty and unexpectedly tender documentary make for an invaluable antidote.

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INTO THE WEST MIKE NEWELL

ADVENTURE/FANTASY/FAMILY, 1992

Jim Sheridan is perhaps Ireland’s best-known film director, having helmed both the Oscarwinning My Left Foot, and the stirring true story of a miscarriage of justice, In the Name of the Father. His skills as a screenwriter, however, are sometimes overlooked. Sheridan penned the script for this classic Irish family film, but took a back seat to allow Mike Newell to direct. Newell is the man most famous for his smash-hit comedy Four Weddings and the Funeral. Before that, he brought this tale to the screen. It’s the story of two young brothers, Tito (Rúaidhrí Conroy) and Ossie (Ciarán Fitzgerald), who live with their father Papa Reilly (Gabriel Byrne) in a council estate in Ballymun, north Dublin. Papa, formerly known as ‘King of the Travellers,’ lost his wife when she was giving birth to Ossie, and now consoles himself in drink. Some new joy is brought into the lives of Tito and Ossie when their grandfather (David Kelly) introduces them to a beautiful white horse, known as Tír na nÓg, or “Land of Eternal Youth.” However, through some connivance, Tír na nÓg is taken from the boys, and they must set off to retrieve it.

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Into the West was something of a return home for Gabriel Byrne, who had worked extensively in the US since the mid1980s. As well as starring in the film, he was an associate producer, and his wife at the time, Ellen Barkin, took a role as Kathleen. Other stalwarts among the cast are Brendan Gleeson and Colm Meaney.

SAT 30TH NOV, 15:15 Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, Ciarรกn Fitzgerald

102 mins

The subject of Travellers in Ireland is, naturally, a sensitive one, but Into the West handles its representation of this protected ethnic minority in Ireland with care. Beyond that, it is a rip-roaring adventure that shows Ireland at its most rugged and beautiful, which children will adore.

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WHAT MAKES A GREAT SHORT FILM? IT HAS TO MOVE YOU! SAT 30TH NOV, 13:00 Programmed with the support of Network Ireland Television and Cartoon Saloon.

Irish short films have been incredibly successful on the world stage, having achieved two Academy Award® wins and ten Academy Award nominations over the last 15 years. A-list festivals have also continually embraced Irish short films.

BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM (2014)

14 mins

Written by Ronan Blaney and directed by Michael Lennox, ‘ Boogaloo and Graham’ is set in 1970’s Belfast and follows two young boys, Jamesy and Malachy, who are over the moon when their soft-hearted dad presents them with two baby chicks to care for.

THE CRUSH (2010)

12 mins

Ardal Travis is in love. There’s just one problem. He’s an 8 year old schoolboy and the object of his affection is his Second Class teacher Miss Purdy. But when her boyfriend arrives on the scene Ardal is heartbroken. The film was written and directed by first-timer Michael Creagh, and produced by Damon and was nominated for an Academy Award for Live Action Short Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.

STUTTERER (2015)

13 mins

Academy award winning short written, directed and edited by Benjamin Cleary. For a lonely typographer, an online relationship helped him mask his cruel speech impediment. Now he is faced with the daunting prospect of finally bringing that relationship into the real world. A roller-coaster ride of joy, doubt and romance in the digital age.

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30 mins

DETAINMENT (2018)

Directed by Vincent Lambe and nominated at this year’s 91st Academy Awards for Best Live Action Short. Two ten-year boys are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler. A true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993. *Viewer discretion is advised 10 mins

LATE AFTERNOON (2017)

Award winning short film from Cartoon Saloon. Written and directed by Louise Bagnall Emily is an elderly woman who lives between two states, the past and the present. She journeys into an inner world, reliving moments from her life and searching for a connection within her fragmented memories.

11 mins

NEW BOY (2007)

Academy award nominated short directed by Steph Green. Based on a short story by Roddy Doyle this poignant and comedic short film deftly captures the experience of being the new boy in school through the eyes of Joseph, a nine-year-old African boy.

11 mins

PENTECOST (2011)

Academy award nominated short directed by Peter McDonald. When Damain is forced to serve as an altar boy at an important mass in his local parish he faces a difficult choice: conform to the status quo or serve an extended ban from his passion in life, football.

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