This May, The Irish Film Festival returns to Melbourne with an award-winning program, studded with gems all the way from the Emerald Isle. This year’s all-inclusive Festival is home to seven full length feature films, five documentaries and six shorts, ranging from compelling dramas, hilarious comedies and hard-hitting real-life stories.
Feature Films:The official opening night film is the internationally acclaimed Float like a Butterfly, an uplifting drama from the producers of Sing Street and the Oscar winning film Once. Set in 1972 when Muhammad Ali was set to fight in Dublin, the film follows Frances, a young Irish traveller girl, with big dreams of becoming a champion boxer.
Comedy: No Party for Billy Burns follows a would-be cowboy Billy, an innocent farm hand about to leave his dreary life behind him for big dreams of excitement, adventure and romance on the open road. Another offering is Metal Heart, a poignant coming of age comedy that follows twin sisters Chantel and Emma who couldn’t be more different. One Goth and one beauty queen, the sisters’ sibling rivalry and teenage angst make for a rollercoaster emotional ride.
The Drummer and The Keeper follows two Dublin youths with mental health issues who form an unconventional bond through the love of music. Meeting in rehab, Gabriel and Christopher join forces and form a band to help them deal with their demons.
Staying on the music theme, Dublin Oldschool is a look into the chaotic lifestyle of wannabe DJ Jason (Emmet Kirwan), and the drug-fueled Dublin rave scene of the 90’s. Jason sets out on a bender weekend filled with drug busts and old school dance music when he reconnects with his drug addicted brother in a bizarre turn of events. This film gets a late night slot on the program and is introduced by writer/director Dave Tynan who will talk about the film / theatre / club crossover culture in Ireland which is spear-headed by Emmet Kirwan and Panti Bliss.
Animated family feature Captain Morten and The Spider Queen is a swash buckling adventure on a miniature scale. Morten, a 10 year old ship captain’s son, has dreams of skippering his own vessel but when a magical cockroach shrinks him to the size of a pea, he sets sail on a model ship with a crew consisting of insects facing a vengeful spider queen, featuring the Irish voices of Brendan Gleeson (The Guard) and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted).
Documentary Feature films: The Northern Ireland Troubles were a sad and tragic chapter in recent Irish history. The hard-hitting documentary Unquiet Graves is an investigation into the alleged collusion between the British Government and Loyalist paramilitaries, which resulted in the murder of 120 civilians between 1972 and 1978. The writer/director, Seán Murray will introduce his documentary and take part in a Q&A afterwards.
Known for its world class documentarians, Ireland has been the subject of many fascinating documentary features. This year’s program includes the visually stunning The Camino Voyage, starring Oscar winning musician Glen Hansard and his crew of poets, musicians and tradesmen on a Celtic odyssey in a currach (traditional Irish row boat), rowing along the ancient 2500 mile Camino route from Ireland to Northern Spain.
Another documentary set on the sea, this time the Atlantic, is Between Land and Sea. Set in Lahinch, a surfer’s paradise set in the Wild West coast of Ireland, the feature follows adrenaline junkies tackling some of the most ferocious waves in the world and investigates what drives them to do so.
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is the all too common story of someone being forcibly removed from their home in the name of progress and development. However Thomas, a solitary farmer living on the fringe of society, vows not to bow to multinationals and fights to keep his way of life.
Irish ex-pats are under the spotlight in A Lifetime of Stories, this features the amazing lives of Sydney’s Irish seniors told in their own words. The documentary is the product of a workshop-based video production project where five elders from the Irish community in Sydney shared their personal stories with the film-makers. By telling their tales they validate their own incredible experiences and the lives of all migrants who have made a new life in Australia.
Short Films: The 2019 Festival also has a program of short films direct from The GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin. The short feature titles include Thirst, which follows Drew and his unfortunate string of disappointing hook ups leaving him wondering is there a happy ending for him. Cat Calls sees a sexual predator getting his comeuppance when he tries to target girls who aren’t exactly shrinking violets.
Tickets are on sale now! Tickets and full program available at www.irishfilmfestival.com.au