Day Two of IrishFilmFesta

Full house once again on day two of festival

The crowds showed no sign of abating on the second day of the IrishFilmFesta which began at 15.30 on Friday 28 March with a film acting workshop by Dublin director Graham Cantwell at the Casa del Cinema.

The masterclass preceded the screening of the romantic comedy The Callback Queen, which was directed by Cantwell and stars Irish actress Amy-Joyce Hastings, both of whom were in attendance.

Speaking beforehand, Cantwell said it was "fascinating" to watch his film with an audience to guage the reaction, adding that people laugh at different scenes and take a liking to different characters depending on the country in which the film is screened. Cantwell said his film took three years to make — not the usual 18 months — and that it was made with "not a huge amount of money but a lot of passion and love and time."

Later the mood switched from light-heartedness to horror with Nocturne Passage, a short film written and directed by the star of The Callback Queen. Hastings' nightmarish scenario starred Susan Loughnane, best known for her awarding-winning role as Debbie in the hit Irish television series Love/Hate. The short film uses flashbacks and nightmares to reveal a young artist's fight to stave off insanity in the wake of a devastating event.

The sombre atmosphere at the festival continued with John Hayes' 16-minute short film The Girl — one of the highlights of the festival so far. The haunting tale follows an emotionally fragile English woman (Rebecca Carroll) who moves with her husband (Stuart Graham) to a picturesque but remote part of the west of Ireland in an attempt to help her get over a series of devastating miscarriages. But who is the mysterious starving little girl that she encounters in the run-down 1840's house? Written by Mark Tuthill, this is a beautifully-shot film with echoes of the famine-themed plays of celebrated Irish dramatist Tom Murphy.

Finishing the evening was Black Ice, an relentlessly bleak and tragic movie set in the lawless rural border region in Ireland during the dying days of the so-called "Celtic Tiger" economic boom. This story of youthful misadventure is the work of veteran director Johnny Gogan, with strong performances by Jane McGrath and Killian Scott, known to many as "Tommy" from the Irish tv series Love/Hate.

The seventh edition of the IrishFilmFesta takes place from 27-30 March at the Casa del Cinema, in the Via Veneto corner of Villa Borghese.

For full details see website.

Andy Devane

General Info

Address Casa del Cinema, Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1 (Villa Borghese), tel. 06423601.

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Day Two of IrishFilmFesta

Casa del Cinema, Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1 (Villa Borghese), tel. 06423601.