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Irish Screen America returns

A still from "Gaza" gets its New York premiere on Saturday night. Filmmakers Garry Keane and Andrew McDonnell will be on hand to answer questions after the screening.

Irish Screen American returns for its annual New York festival from beginning this evening and continuing through Sunday night. The festival’s line-up includes premieres of new Irish feature films, short films, filmmaker Q+As and an Opening Night Awards Ceremony.

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ISA opens with the New York premiere of “Float Like a Butterfly,” directed by Carmel Winters. The second feature film from Winters, “Float Like A Butterfly” tells the story of a young Traveller woman, played by Hazel Doupe, who dreams of becoming a boxer. The film won the FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery Programme at the Toronto International Film Festival after its World Premiere last year, before going on to become a critical and commercial success in Ireland. Irish Screen America is honoring Winters with its Jim Sheridan Award for Outstanding Achievement, while Hazel Doupe will be the recipient of a Rising Star Award.

Doupe won’t be the only boxer on-screen during the festival. Katie, an exciting sports documentary, charting the rebuilding of champion boxer Katie Taylor’s career will also be shown. Katie Taylor has won six amateur European championships, five world amateur championships and is an Olympic Gold Medal winner from the London 2012 Olympic Games. After a disastrous campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the film unravels the deeply personal reasons behind the career low and shows the champions grit and determination to start over as a professional. Katie won her first world title within a year and became the first woman in history to headline her own Sky Sports show.

Katie Taylor in "Katie."

Another documentary playing at the festival is the humanitarian portrait of life in a conflict zone, “Gaza.” Elegantly shot on the ground in Gaza and masterfully craft by two Northern Irish filmmakers, “Gaza” offers a chance to be immersed in Palestinian life, as we glimpse behind the walls of this misunderstood land to get to know the real people who inhabit it. Inside a Gaza City taxi, we meet a teacher, a student and a barber, who all share their dreams and daily predicaments with the driver, Ahmed, using surprising humor and candor. Directors Garry Keane and Andrew McDonnell will be in attendance for a post-screening Q+A.

The festival will close with a darkly comic melodrama about life in a small Irish town called “Dark Lies the Island.” Moe Dunford and Peter Coonan star as two brothers who try to crawl out from the shadow of their domineering father while his young wife is trapped in a whirlpool of sexual jealousy. As the story unfolds over the course of a week, a long-standing family feud comes to a head, forcing all participants to face up to the truth. Directed by Ian Fitzgibbon from a script by Irish author Kevin Barry and starring two of Ireland’s best loved comedians Pat Shortt and Tommy Tiernan, Dark Lies the Island is a tour-de-force of Irish talent.

The Irish Screen America festival has also curated a selection of short films, including an eclectic mix of drama (“Run” directed by Caroline Grace-Cassidy & Roisín Kearney), animation (“The Bird and the Whale” directed by Carol Freeman) and with a generous sprinkle of comedy (“I Didn’t, I Wasn’t, I Amen’t…” directed by Laoise Sexton, “Mother” directed by Natasha Waugh, “The Butterfly Love Song” directed by Luke Morgan and written by Seamus Scanlon, and “Mary” directed by Shaun O’Connor). There will be a $500 prize for the short that wins the Spirit of the Festival Award, sponsored by Irish Screen America’s Official Beverage Sponsor, Lambay Irish Whiskey. Meanwhile, director of the short film “Ciúnas (Silence),” Tristan Heanue and director of the short “Starry Night,” Emma Smith, will also be bestowed with a pair of 2019 Rising Star Awards.

“The Butterfly Love Song,” a short directed by Luke Morgan and written by Seamus Scanlon.

"Irish Cinema has earned its place on the world stage," said Niall McKay, Executive Director of Irish Screen America. "Each year, Irish films continue to garner top awards. We are proud to bring the latest in contemporary Irish Cinema to the U.S." The mission statement of Irish Screen America is to support and guide Irish media-makers by showcasing their work and fostering partnerships in the two largest cities for the entertainment industry in the U.S. As well as its annual festival, the organization holds quarterly film premieres, industry panels and networking events.

Irish Screen America New York takes place from at NYU's Cantor Film Center, in partnership with Glucksman Ireland House NYU and the Irish Arts Center. Irish Screen America will also be hosting an Irish cinema event in Los Angeles as part of Ireland Week 2019, (Nov. 1 – 9). For more info and to purchase tickets, visit



"Float Like a Butterfly"

– NYU Cantor Film Center – 7 p.m. Director Q+A with Carmel Winters



NYU Cantor Film Center – 5:30 p.m.


NYU Cantor Film Center – 7:30pm; Director Q+A with Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell


Irish Short Films

NYU Cantor Film Center – 5:30pm Q+A with filmmakers

Dark Lies the Island

NYU Cantor Film Center – 8 p.m.