The 2016 Irish Film Festival London will open on Wednesday, November 23 with A Date for Mad Mary as this year’s opening night film. Based on Yasmine Akram’s play, A Date for Mad Mary sees director Darren Thornton make an exceptional feature debut. Boasting stellar performances from its predominantly female cast, and in particular from lead actress Seána Kerslake, the film is a note-perfect snapshot of modern Ireland.
Kerslake plays Mary, who upon release following a six-month prison sentence, returns home to Drogheda, eager to reunite with best friend Charlene (Charleigh Bailey), for whom she is about to act as maid of honour. Annoyed by Charlene’s assumption that she won’t have a date for the wedding, Mary joins a dating agency, embarking on a series of disastrous encounters before events take an unexpected turn.
However, this is no formulaic rom-com; the focus instead is on female relationships and a character in transition who veers from violent to vulnerable, abrasive to funny, all brilliantly conveyed through Kerslake’s powerful, nuanced performance. The film was the joint-winner of the Best Irish Feature Film (alongside The Young Offenders) at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
Speaking on the decision to open the festival with A Date for Mad Mary Festival Director Kelly O’Connor says: “Opening this year’s festival with a ‘Date for Mad Mary’ was our goal since July when we first saw it at the Galway Film Fleadh. Seána Kerslake knocked it out of the park with this performance, alongside the exceptional supporting female cast in Tara and Charleigh. Simply stunning.”
Returning to the capital’s cinemas this November for the 6th year, the Irish Film Festival London (IFFL) will bring an exciting line-up of the very best in contemporary Irish cinema to London audiences. The five-day festival brings together industry professionals, film fans and fans of Irish Arts & Culture alike. Focusing on Irish productions, scripts and casts, it provides a significant platform for Irish Film in London, and ensures that the best of Irish creative talent is promoted here in the UK. The festival gets support from the Emigrant’s Support Program, Irish Film Board, the IFI, Film London and Culture Ireland.
Irish Film London also runs events throughout the year, including the film section of the St. Patrick’s Day Festival with the GLA, children’s cinema program and film industry panel discussions.
The Irish Film Festival London runs from November 23rd to 27th, 2016.