Friday, March 8, 2013

Toronto Irish Film Festival 2013, Mar 8-9

The third annual Toronto Irish Film Festival (TIRFF) celebrates the best of Irish cinema on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, 2013. With 20 Irish films, including 15 Canadian premieres, the theme of TIRFF 2013 is “A Gathering of Irish film lovers” and echoes Tourism Ireland’s worldwide “The Gathering” campaign, which encourages the global Irish diaspora to return to their hometowns in 2013 for clan reunions. TIRFF will bring together the GTA Irish community at the prestigious TIFF Bell Lightbox, located at 350 King Street West, in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district.

Pilgrim Hill is slotted for the Festival’s Opening Night on March 8 at 7 p.m., sponsored by Tourism Ireland. Pilgrim Hill is a cinematic love letter to Ireland’s rural countryside and an incredible achievement for first-time filmmaker Gerard Barrett, who was awarded the Irish Film Board’s Rising Star Award for his work on the film at the 2013 Irish Film & Television Awards this month. Immediately following the film will be an audience Q&A session with the film’s rising stars, Joe Mullins and Muiris Crowley, who will travel from Ireland to attend the celebration. Prior to the movie, the Irish Choral Society will perform a specially commissioned repertoire, “Ireland at the Movies,” for festival attendees.

A Gala Reception will follow the film at Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar, located at 96 Richmond Street West, at 9 p.m.

Jump will be the Closing Night feature on March 9 at 9 p.m., sponsored by KPMG. Kieron J. Walsh’s (When Brendan Met Trudy) award-winning modern-day drama looks at the lives of four young people who crash into each other on New Year’s Eve amid the ancient ruins of Derry, U.K. City of Culture 2013.

Other highlights include Dollhouse, the feature debut of writer/director Kirsten Sheridan, daughter of famed Irish director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot). The film showcases the talents of Ireland’s newest acting talent. Dollhouse screens on March 9 at 7 p.m.

The festival’s lineup also includes a Free Screening for new arrivals, a Local Heroes Program highlighting the work of young Irish filmmakers who now call Toronto their home and a Shorts Program showcasing Ireland’s new wave of talented directors.

In keeping with Tourism Ireland’s ‘The Gathering’ initiative, this year’s festival brings together all four corners of the Irish community for a celebration of Irish film,” says TIRFF Executive Director Michael Barry. “Whether you’re here 20 years or 20 days, whether you’re from the North or the South of Ireland, the 2013 Toronto Irish Film Festival will celebrate all aspects of life in Ireland.”

In addition to gathering the Irish community through entertainment, TIRFF brings together members of the Toronto Irish community on a deeper level. Earlier this year, TIRFF launched its Volunteer Initiative for Toronto New Arrivals in collaboration with the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre (I/CAN) to help integrate new Irish immigrants to Toronto into the community. This year’s TIRFF volunteersare all from this group of newcomers. “I/CAN does great work with Irish communities coast to coast and we wanted to play our part by providing a community connection for new arrivals right here in Toronto,” says Barry. “Not only is the festival our way of connecting Irish in the GTA to their home through the magic of cinema, it’s also a way to connect the multiple Irish generations living here to one another.”

Tickets range from $15 to $20. To purchase tickets to the third annual Toronto Irish Film Festival, visit and click on the BUY TICKETS link or call 416.599.TIFF (8433).

2013 Festival Schedule

OPENING FILM: FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2013 | 7 p.m. | $20
PILGRIM HILL – directed by Gerard Barrett |CANADIAN PREMIERE
A cinematic love letter to Ireland’s farming life and an incredible achievement for first-time filmmaker Gerard Barrett, who was awarded the Irish Film Board’s Rising Star Award for his work on the film at the 2013 Irish Film & Television Awards this month. The film was shot for $6,000 over seven sunless days and picked up the Bingham Ray Award at the 2012 Galway Film Festival where Barrett also won the Best New Irish Talent Award.
Preceded by performance from the Irish Choral Society (“Ireland at the Movies”)
Followed by audience Q&A from lead actors Joe Mullins and Muiris Crowley

JUST SAYING – directed by Dave Tynan | CANADIAN PREMIERE
Young Dublin filmmaker Dave Tynan has made a beautifully shot and tersely written film following a modern-day Leopold Bloom as he strolls through the deserted streets of the capital by night.
LEFT – Directed by Eamonn O’Neill | CANADIAN PREMIERE
A film about two childhood friends who choose different paths, Eamonn O’Neill’s Left is a simple yet complex and mature animation with great depth of characters. Winner, Best Irish Short, Corona Cork Film Festival 2012.
FOXES – directed by Lorcan Finnegan | CANADIAN PREMIERE
This mysterious short tells the haunting tale of a young couple who are trapped in a remote ghostestate of empty houses and shrieking foxes. Winner: Best Short at the 2012 Irish Film & Television Awards.
DOWNPOUR – directed by Claire Dix| CANADIAN PREMIERE
A visual celebration of Irish rain. A bride-to-be recalls pivotal moments in her relationship that all took place in a shower, a drizzle or a downpour. Winner, Best Short/Director’s Choice – Boston Irish Film Festival 2012.
CLUCK –directed by Michael Lavelle | CANADIAN PREMIERE
Set in 1950s Ireland, this fantastical short centres on a chicken-boy who befriends a group of mischievous orphans with hilarious results. Winner: International Jury Award for Best Short Film at the 2012 Ale Kino Film Festival.

LOCAL HEROES PROGRAM: SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 | 1:30 p.m. | $15
DAYS OF YORE – directed by Kyle Burton | CANADIAN PREMIERE
Three generations in the making, Days of Yore is an elegant and nostalgic film that examines the meaning of family through beautiful, archival Super 8 footage.
FOR GOD & ULSTER – directed by Gregory Breen
Award-winning drama that tells a story about a broken man, Fred Smith. A former terrorist, he is haunted by his career in Northern Ireland as a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Now he talks over his past with therapist Dr. O'Donnell, and secrets are about to be revealed.
A tongue-in-cheek look at the man who invented the Popemobile, the infamous makeshift vehicle that carried Pope John Paul II around Ireland during his historic visit in 1979.
SAFE HOME – directed by Rosemary House
In this beautiful film, director Rosemary House explores the nature and relevance of our concept of home from Marie's personal perspective of a woman at a devastating crossroads.

MUSIC PROGRAM: SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 | 3 p.m. | $15
The Music program includes a feature documentary and four music videos.
The young people of Ballymun have had an extraordinary experience, and Ron sets out to produce a collection of music that gives voice to their story. Working with composer Daragh O'Toole, Ron's ambition is to create a “world-class” collection of music for his talented students to play and write lyrics for. Winner, Directors Guild of America 'Directors Finders' Series 2011. Click here for trailer.
Personally signed in January 2013 by Elton John to his own label, this band of 15-year-olds is set for big things. This four-piece rhythm and blues band, hailing from Cavan, Ireland, have been met with critical acclaim from greats such as Jeff Beck and Paul Weller and have been tipped by NME as the No. 1 new band to watch.
An acoustic folk duo formed in 2007 in Dublin, Ireland by twin sisters Ellie and Louise MacNamara. They began writing music together in 2007 and in February 2008 recorded their debut album Here, Not There while preparing for their Leaving Certificate.
THIS CLUB: “ADD IT UP” – music video
A well-oiled machine that has been playing the bars, venues, clubs and stadiums of Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S. The band has been on a quest to find the perfect piece of ageless dance music. Many different artistic backgrounds encompass the group’s make-up, which makes for a rich and layered sound.
GEMMA HAYES: “OLIVER” – music video
One of eight children, Hayes was surrounded by music from an early age – by the time she left for boarding school in County Limerick, Hayes was already proficient at piano and found that she usedmusic to counter the boredom of living in a small village. “Oliver” is from the EP of the same name and features Hayes in a stunning yet simple performance.

SHORTS PROGRAM: SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 | 5 p.m. | $15
Rupert, a ten-year-old boy, falls hopelessly in love. When it all goes terribly wrong, he wishes never to experience heartache again. Winner: Best Animation at Irish Film & Television Awards 2012.
HOME TURF – directed by Ross Whitaker
This heart-felt documentary tells about the disappearing occupation of ancient turf-cutting. Directed by documentary filmmaker Ross Whitaker.
A surfing duel breaks out between a male and female surfer off the West Coast of Ireland. Breaking waves, racing hearts and the treachery of Lycra collide in this naughty short.
JONNY BOY – directed by Laura Way |CANADIAN PREMIERE
As she gradually slips away, Nell confesses a secret that opens a door to Jonny’s past, bringing her
life, and his, round full circle. Click here for trailer.
A short film that recently won Best Animation at the Sundance Film Festival…after watching it you’ll see why. The director used a £150 second-hand camera and decided to use stop animation to give life to the antique furniture.
Beautifully animated short film that tells the story of a young woman trying to bring her drowned husband back from the dead. For that, she'll face a Banshee and will go on a harrowing journey into the Otherworld.
REMEMBER ME, MY GHOST – directed by Ross McDonnell
A haunting documentary with black and white footage showcasing the demolition of the infamous Ballymun tenement in Dublin. The film provides a stark backdrop to one woman's painful struggle with domestic abuse and raising a family on the roughest block in Ireland. Click here for trailer.

DOLLHOUSE: SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 | 7 p.m. | $15
DOLLHOUSE – directed by Kirsten Sheridan | CANADIAN PREMIERE
A group of street teens breaks into a house in a rich Dublin suburb for a night of partying and whatever they can get away with. The games darken into real confirmations that run even deeper when it turns out that this is not just any house – there are reasons why they're there. By morning there are revelations that split a family apart and betray the desperation of young people searching for something solid in a world adrift. This is Kirsten Sheridan's feature debut as both writer and director – an improvised film shot with no script where the actors did not know the plot until the moment of reveal on camera.

CLOSING FILM : SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 | 9 p.m. | $15
JUMP – directed by Kieron J. Walsh
Jump follows the lives of four twenty-somethings whose lives collide one fateful New Year’s Eve amidst the ancient walls of Derry, Northern Ireland in a night of fast talk, accidents and intrigue.Johnny, a small-time crook and Marie, a dissatisfied shop assistant are both looking for a fresh start. Greta is on the verge of taking her own life and Pearse has a bounty on his head for asking difficult questions about his missing brother Eddie Kelly. As the clock ticks down to midnight and the night's events expertly fall into place, Jump weaves an existential portrait of our character's lives as their hopes, fears and secrets are revealed. Winner, Bridging the Borders Award, 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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