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Rome's Irish Film Festa celebrates 15 years

Casa del Cinema hosts Irish Film Festa 2024.

The Irish Film Festa, the festival dedicated to Irish cinema and culture, returns to Rome’s Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese from 4-7 April.

The event, now in its 15th edition, offers the public a wide selection of feature film premieres and meetings with filmmakers as well as a short-film competition.

The films are screened in their original language with Italian subtitles, with free entry to the venue until full capacity is reached.

The festival's director Susanna Pellis highlights two important strands in the 2024 edition of the IFF: high quality documentaries and films related to literature.

Face Down

 

The documentary selection features five titles: Gerry Gregg’s Face Down, about the 1973 kidnapping and murder of German businessman Thomas Niedermayer by the IRA in Belfast; Garry Lennon’s I Dream in Photos: the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Cathal McNaughton; Cara Holmes’ Notes from Sheepland: which follows the no-nonsense artist and shepherd Orla Barry on her farm in Wexford;

Andrew Gallimore’s One Night in Millstreet, about the 1995 world championship boxing match between Chris Eubank and his Dublin challenger Steve Collins; Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s In the Shadow of Beirut, which captures the stark reality of life in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila districts.

In the Shadow of Beirut


The IFF literature section focuses on Irish writer John McGahern: That They May Face the Rising Sun, adapted from his final novel, will have its Italian premiere at the festival. The film is directed by master filmmaker Pat Collins who is this year's guest of honour in Rome.

John McGahern: A Private World, a documentary that Collins made in 2005, will also screen at the festival, a testimony to the director’s skill and sensitivity as both interviewer and filmmaker that he gets the reluctant McGahern to open up on camera.

The literary-themed selection of films is completed by Lisa Mulcahy’s Lies We Tell, based on the gothic novel Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and the short film Shakes Versus Shav, in which George Bernard Shaw engages in a war of words with William Shakespeare to decide who is the greater writer.

That They May Face the Rising Sun

 

Also of note are two impressive debut feature films: John Carlin’s Lie of the Land, a claustrophobic thriller set in the outskirts of Ballymena, and Patricia Kelly’s Verdigris, a “buddy movie” about two very different women who form an unlikely bond.

This year's Irish Classic, 40 years after its Irish release, is Pat Murphy’s Anne Devlin: based on the life of the overlooked historical figure Anne Devlin, who collaborated with Robert Emmett in the planning of the 1803 Rebellion.

Breakfast on Pluto

 

The festival also pays tribute to the international success of Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who recently won an Oscar for his performance in Oppenheimer, with a special screening of Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto.

For full details of the 2024 programme see the Irish Film Festa website.

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