See features, documentaries and shorts offering a representative selection of Irish film from the classics to the contemporary at the Chicago Irish Film Festival, which is one of only a handful of Irish Film Festivals in the United States. Showings will be at Music Box Theatre and Gallery Theatre on February 28 through March 7.
The Chicago Irish Film Festival is dedicated to presenting the works of Irish filmmakers to the Chicago film community. Since 1999 the festival has screened over 500 features, documentaries and short films by many of Ireland’s most talented and award-winning filmmakers. Each year the festival strives to include a broad representation of current Irish cinema and encourages submissions that highlight the extraordinary diversity and creativity that is the mark of Irish film making wherever in the world it may occur. 2014 marked the festival’s 15th year and it was a stellar year indeed with new partnerships and audience members that culminated in sold out screenings and new found fans of Irish film. To that end the CIFF is committed to expanding its programming throughout the year and broadening its commitment and support to Irish filmmakers through marketing and social media in the Chicago area. Feature films include:
Poison Pen: Screened on opening night at the Music Box Theatre, Poison Pen is described as “a fun romp through the world of celebrity gossip” and was scripted by Eion Colfer (author of the Artimis Fowl fantasy series). When Booker Prize-winning author PC Molloy is blackmailed into writing for tabloid gossip magazine Poison Pen, he is not only caught up in a world of stars and their secrets but he is also in danger of turning into a celebrity himself. Cultures clash and sparks fly as the cerebral and snobby Molloy reluctantly becomes the celebrity interviewer for vain celebrities. But as his own star rises he soon struggles to keep his own secrets off the front pages. Things getting complicated on the home front as he finds himself falling for his new boss, April Devereux, but is there any room for romance in the world of celebrity publishing?
Darkness on the Edge of Town: Screened at Gallery Theatre on Thursday, March 5, this film is characterized as a classic tragedy wrapped in a contemporary western. Troubled teenage sharpshooter Cleo Callahan strives to avenge the death of her estranged sister after she is found brutally stabbed in a public bathroom. Blinded by rage and shame, Cleo is unaware that her best and only friend, Robin O’Riley is the murderer she’s sworn to kill. As Robin’s damaged brother Virgil also draws closer to the truth, the three become tragically entangled, leading to an inevitable bloody showdown that costs them all.
An Brontannas: A Celtic thriller tinged with morality, this film will be screened at Gallery Theatre on March 6. An Bronntanas (The Gift) is a contemporary thriller set against the background of a local independent lifeboat crew working off the coast of Conamara, in the West of Ireland.
The rescue crew receives a distress call on a stormy night to discover a fishing boat, its only passenger a dead woman and its cargo is over a million Euros worth of drugs. The crew is challenged with a moral dilemma — bring the woman on shore and hand the drugs to the authorities or, leave the body, sell the drugs and save their struggling village. It’s a decision that will change their lives forever. An Bronntanas is a relevant tale told with black humor, making a wry, incisive comment on the human condition, but it’s also a cautionary tale about the evil that good men can do.