Smithy and Dickie
Smithy and Dickie

Back for its 8th year, the Irish Film Festival London with Colin Farrell as its latest patron, presents Ireland’s latest mainstream and independent films over 5 days across London.

IFFL 2018 opens on a romantic note with Smithy & Dickie, Hannah Quinn’s delightful short about Irish 1940’s love letters, followed by Under the Clock, directed by Colm Nicell, which tells the enchanting stories of a generation of people whose relationships began under one of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks, Clerys clock.

The closing film is We Ourselves starring Aidan Gillen, Catherine Walker, Declan Conlon, Paul Reid, Seána Kerslake, Gavin Drea, and Caitríona Ennis. Paul Mercier’s second feature is an intimate and intense journey into the minds and hearts of a group of idealists and careerists as they go their separate paths in life, though are still bound together through a shared experience, a shared culture and a shared nation.

Irish Film London Patron and Academy Award-winning director Lenny Abrahamson returns to London for the festival, providing a pre-festival teaser with an appearance on Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI (MK3D) on Monday 19th November. He then joins his long-term musical collaborator Stephen Rennicks for a talk on music and sound in their films (Sounds Guys, Thurs 22nd November), which will be followed by a screening of his latest film The Little Stranger, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson.

IFFL 2018 has plenty for the curious mind, with documentaries including Poc na Gael, in which Irish sporting legend Ger Loughnane traces the origins of Canadian ice-hockey all the way back to the Irish emigrant hurlers, and celebrates their legacy across the country today, and The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, (screening at Bertha Dochouse), in which a small Irish farmer goes head to head with US microchip Manufacturer Intel in a land battle.

Part of Irish Film London’s mission is to support Irish filmmakers from the beginning of their careers, and this year’s line-up includes two programmes of Irish Short Films (Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd November), full of up and coming Irish filmmaking talent. There will also be a panel discussion aimed at shorts filmmakers at The Union Soho as part of the festival, which reflects on the challenges and rewards of developing from shorts to feature films.

For family audiences, the heart-waring Grace and Goliath, from Cinemagic and Tony Mitchell, screens on Saturday 24th November at 2pm, in which an arrogant Hollywood big shot, Josh Jenkins sweeps into Belfast to make a movie, but before long he finds he needs the help of the very people he’s been overlooking.

As always, the festival’s Friday night film will be a special preview screening, from one of Ireland’s rising star directors, with details available only via the festival brochure or newsletter.

A duo of films highlighting the current Irish homelessness crisis screen on Saturday 24th November. Shelter Me: Apollo House, produced by Jim Sheridan, follows the world-renowned director, and a motley crew of inadvertent activists including Glen Hansard, Hozier, Damien Dempsey and Dean Scurry who were involved in the takeover of NAMA building Apollo House over the Christmas of 2016 to house Dublin’s homeless. It is followed by Rosie, a poignant moment in the life of a family displaced, with a show stopping performance by Sarah Greene. The creation of Roddy Doyle and Paddy Breathnach, two of Ireland’s leading storytellers, Rosie is ‘inspired by too many true stories.’

In keeping with the political times, IFFL 2018’s Sunday 25th November includes an afternoon focused on Northern Ireland, and the tensions arising around the border. Brexit: The Border Issue comprises a collection of short films on the topic, including the Financial Times’ recently commissioned Hard Border from Juliet Riddell and Clare Dwyer-Hogg which opens with Stephen Rea’s “Jacob Rees-Mogg you’re right. You don’t need to visit the border… you need to have lived here.” Later that day Tom Collins’ bi-lingual drama Penance reveals just what living in Derry felt like through the twentieth century, as a 1916 firebrand preacher priest later faces his demons during the 1960s era of The Troubles.

In the first collaboration of its kind, IFFL 2018 includes a joint event with the UK Jewish Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute, and the Barbican, with The Cohens and the Kellys, an uproariously funny 1926 silent film based in New York’s poorer quarters, accompanied by a live quartet of award-winning Irish and Jewish musicians.

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