The festival formerly known as Irish Film New York has been rebranded this year as Irish Screen America. This new organization will make in impact on Irish film fans with a movie roadshow on both coasts, in Los Angeles and New York, this fall. The New York leg of the tour will take place during this coming weekend, with screenings at the familiar venue of the NYU Cantor Center in Greenwich Village, home base for the IFNY team since that festival’s inception five years ago. This year’s schedule brings to U.S. audiences a diverse range of Irish features and documentary works, and also includes screening introductions by the filmmakers with Q&A sessions afterwards, and a masterclass in film directing from filmmaker Cathy Brady, creator of premiated shorts “Morning” and “Small Change.”
The festivities will get underway on Friday evening, at 5 p.m. in Ireland House on Fifth Avenue, with a launch party that will give filmgoers an opportunity to meet the filmmakers in person, in an informal setting. The party will be followed by the opening screening at 7.30 p.m. of “Traders,” a robust thriller, co-directed by Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy, which explores the dark allure of the life of assassins for hire. The film stars John Bradley from “Game of Thrones” and Killian Scott from “Calvary,” and promises a tense, gripping drama, suffused with black humor.
The likely highlight of the festival will be the Saturday night feature, “Glassland,” written and directed by Gerard Barrett, starring Toni Collette, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter, and screened to considerable acclaim in Ireland last year. The film follows the story of a night-shift taxi driver (Reynor) from the tough and dangerous inner city of Dublin, who is morally conflicted when he gets mixed up in human trafficking as he shuttles illegal aliens for the underworld figures who smuggle them into Ireland. On the home front, he struggles to keep addiction problems under control as his mother (Toni Colette, in a powerful performance) sinks further and further into alcoholism. Filmmaker Barrett had previously directed “Pilgrim Hill”, a melancholy drama about rural loneliness in Ireland that was well received at the 2013 IFNY festival.
The festival mood lightens for the afternoon screening on Saturday, with a preview of “Christmas Star”, a lighthearted family-friendly drama set at the holiday period, and later, at 7 p.m., a miscellany of new Irish talent will be showcased with a selection of shorts, web series, and animations. On Sunday, the ISA roster wraps with Daisy Asquith’s very personal documentary “After the Dance,” a deeply moving feature that exposes a dark secret haunting a rural family in a quiet village in County Clare, and forces the family members to confront the shame and outrage they have endured across generations. Further information about these and other festival screenings can be found on the official ISA website, www.irishscreenamerica.com
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