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FESTIVALS Italy / Ireland

The Irish Film Festa returns to Rome

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- Running from 27 to 31 March, this 12th edition of the festival will showcase the best of Irish cinema and feature a panel devoted to documentaries, with John Lynch as this year’s guest of honour

The Irish Film Festa returns to Rome
Black '47 by Lance Daly

The best of Irish cinema is returning to the Casa del Cinema in Rome from 27 to 31 March with the 12th edition of the Irish Film Festa. The IFF’s guest of honour will be the Northern Ireland actor, John Lynch, who is set to host a masterclass, while The Drummer and the Keeper [+see also:
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will open the festival. This winner of the award for Best First Feature at the Galway Film Fleadh tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a drummer in a rock band with bipolar disorder and a 17-year-old goalkeeper with Asperger’s. Nick Kelly’s comedy will kick-start the festival’s full-length film programme, which also features the Italian premiere of Black '47 [+see also:
film review
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interview: Lance Daly
film profile
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by Lance Daly, the most popular Irish film of 2018 at the box office. 

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New this year is the “Isle of Doc” panel. As explained by Susanna Pellis, artistic director of the festival: “We will examine the state of health of one particular genre, the documentary, which is clearly on the rise in Ireland, where we are seeing works which are strong in content and original in their many, varied forms”. Taking part in the panel will be Northern Ireland director and producer Brendan J. Byrne, artistic director of Fine Point Film, an outfit which is steadily increasing its international presence, as proven by Gaza [+see also:
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, for example; this title by Garry Keane and Andrew McDonell was recently screened to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Speakers include Dublin-born Frank Berry, whose fictional drama Michael Inside [+see also:
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will be competing in the IFF, while Belfast director, Seán Murray, will present Unquiet Graves, a film featuring narration courtesy of Stephen Rea and which focuses on the so-called Glenanne Gang whose members were responsible for killing over 120 innocent civilians between 1972 and 1978.

Other documentaries featuring in the programme include The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid [+see also:
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by Feargal Ward, which follows the battle fought by an unshakeable Irish farmer against multinational firm Intel as it attempts to buy his land. The film was selected by the IDFA – the International Documentary Film Festival - in Amsterdam and by HotDocs in Toronto. Meanwhile, the docu-drama, The Mam Trasna Murders, by Colm Bairéad is a reconstruction of the brutal murder of an entire family carried out in the rural community of Joyce Country in 1882, and of the subsequent legal process in Dublin.

Returning to full-length fiction films on the festival agenda, Metal Heart marks the directorial debut of actor Hugh O’Conor and stars two young twins, both very different from one another: the insecure Emma (Jordanne Jones) and the nonchalant Chantal (Leah McNamara), while the thriller, The Dig [+see also:
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film profile
]
, directed by Northern Ireland brothers Andy and Ryan Tohill, and featuring Moe Dunford and Lorcan Cranitch, won the Best Irish Feature award at the Galway Film Fleadh 2018.

Also returning this year is the short films competition, with the experimental short film, Bog Graffit, by Irish cinema veteran Bob Quinn, set to premiere outside of the competition. Finally, closing the festival on Sunday 31st will be a segment dedicated to TV productions, featuring a screening of Derry Girls, the brilliant Northern Ireland sitcom created by Lisa McGee and broadcast to great acclaim on Channel 4.

(Translated from Italian)

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