Films from the Land of Storytelling

Indie, edgy, creative, enlightening, award-winning; all the things festival films should be and exactly what the Chicago Irish Film Festival brings to the Windy City for the 19th edition, March 1-4, 2018. 

The festival kicks off, March 1, 2018, with a screening of Maurice Fitzpatrick’s In The Name of Peace: John Hume In America a timely and important examination of how Hume’s “engagement with the US was a major catalyst in the journey to peace in Northern Ireland.” Also, screening is Michael Flatley’s exuberant short film, A Little Bit of Tear, filled with Flatley’s signature dancing and music. This year’s opening night gala will take place at Theater on the Lake and include a reception prior to the screening.

Having its US premier at the festival is this year’s Filmbase feature Writing Home an updated version of the prodigal son written with a hefty dose of Irish humor and a fair amount of life lessons for everyone involved. Writing Home has some direct connections to Chicago with a soundtrack by Gareth Woods, a Chicago policeman and musician originally from Carlingford, and John Syzmanski, an Irish musician living in Chicago. And Dubliner Brian Liston, co-founder of Seed CX in Chicago, was one of the film’s major sponsors making Writing Home a real Irish and American production. 

Peter Kelly’s China Mission is a riveting documentation of life in rural China from 1920 – 1954 captured by the Columban Missionaries founded in 1916 in Cork. Using film and photographs that were sent back to Ireland to raise funds for the missions over the decades the documentary highlights the extraordinarily turbulent but fascinating period of Chinese history before the establishment of Moa Zedong’s People’s Republic of China, so that by 1954 all the missionaries had been expelled from the country. 

Other highlights from the festival include The Golden Globe nominated The Breadwinner directed by Nora Twomey and produced by Cartoon Saloon, Puck of the Irish, Eamonn O’Cualain wonderful documentary that proves the Irish really did invent hockey and includes interviews with Brendan Shanahan and Geraldine Heaney. Of course, it would not be a festival without short films and this year over 40 short films will screen including a special horror themed program that includes the multiple award-winning Gridlock by Ian Hunt Duffy and the US Premier of The Secret Market by Garret Daly. 

For complete festival information please visit:

Locations: The Theatre on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Il 60614, The Logan Theatre: 2646 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647, and Galllery Theatre: Society for Arts 1112 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Il 60642

19th Chicago Irish Film Festival: Films From the Land of Storytelling