100 years of Irish History: Ireland to America and Beyond.

The Chicago Irish Film Festival, in partnership with The Society for Arts and The Logan Theatre, presents 4 days of contemporary Irish film at the 17th annual festival. This year’s festival will include over a dozen screenings, lively Q&A’s with our visiting directors and producers, two post screening receptions and this year’s new “Bar Talks” a chance to grab a pint and talk in depth with the directors while making 2016 the year to celebrate Irish film and the indelible mark it has made around the world. 

Highlights of this year’s festival included the feature film, An Klondike, a gripping story of the Connelly brothers from Rosmuc, Galway, who head to the wild west of the Yukon Territory and the gold rush of the 1890’s. With dialogue in both Irish and English, director Dathaí Keane captures both the spirit of the frontier and the fragile balance between the law, the prospectors and the immigrants. Gary Lennon’s A Doctor’s Sword tells the incredible story of Dr. Aiden MacCarthy, a young doctor from Castletownberre, Co. Cork, who unable to find work joins the RAF in 1939 and is a Japanese prisoner of war on Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Using both archival footage and beautiful animation by Ronan Coyle A Doctor’s Sword is an marvelous testament to an extraordinary man. Focusing on a period of Irish immigration to America beginning in the late 1850’s Crossing Waters, directed by Jane Watson, seamlessly melds contemporary interviews with politicians and authors with their historic counterparts as the film examines America’s attitude toward immigrants, yesterday and today.

Short film! We love them and this year the festival presents five programs of award winning short films. Here is just a small sampling: Stutterer the Academy Award short listed film by Ben Cleary about a young man with a speech impediment who must face his greatest fear; My Bonnie, directed by Hannah Quin, finds two people at sea, trapped between a rock and a hard place; An Ode To Love, Matthew Darragh’s brilliantly animated tale of a lonely man, a dessert island and a stick; an official selection of Sundance 2016, A Coat Made Dark, by Jack O’Shea, is an unique piece of animated film noir; and Paul Webster’s Let Those Blues In, the fascinating portrait of the Irish blues musician Paddy Smith.Tickets are $12–$10 (student and seniors) per screening. Tickets and a complete festival schedule will be available through the website beginning mid-February at: chicagoirishfilmfestival.com. The festival also offers sponsorship opportunities for business and individuals at a variety of levels, please check the website for complete information.