The 20th Chicago Irish Film Festival crackles with Borders and Resistance narratives beginning with the opening night gala February 28, 2019 at Theatre on the Lake and running through March 3rd.

Legendary Director and Producer Jim Sheridan opens the festival with a presentation of his film Shelter Me, featuring musical scores from Glen Hansard and Hozier. The film, directed by Zahara Moufid, spotlights the homeless plight in Ireland, the government’s failure to address real issues and how a diverse group of activists took over an empty government building. The public reaction drives this pertinent and powerful documentary. The deep stirring of emotions brings audiences deeper into the disturbing truth surrounding housing issues Ireland faces, as well as all communities on our planet. As is tradition, the opening night gala includes a reception prior to the screening and a generous question-and-answer session following the screening with Mr. Sheridan and the players.

While the festival’s closing film, I, Dolours finds its roots in momentous controversy, all the long-form, shorts and animated selections in this anniversary year embrace CIFF’s mission to challenge, anger and amuse, as nurtured by founder Judith Blackburn.

I, Dolours, a docudrama about IRA member Dolours Price unveils first-hand material recorded by Price and drawing from a 2001 Boston College undertaking: The Belfast Project, which interviewed those directly involved in paramilitary violence between 1969 and 1994 in Northern Ireland. Participants, including Price, were promised that the interviews would be released only after their death; Price died in 2012. The project’s director, Ed Moloney, will be presenting the film and the screening will be followed by a reception and question-and-answer session. This year’s closing screening will take place at The Gallery Theatre. 

Other films screening include: Tradition starring Paul Ronan—a Killarney judge’s last day on the bench; Ken Wardrop’s Making the Grade, an absorbing glimpse at piano students across Ireland; Grace & Goliath, a charming family film from Northern Ireland concerning a Hollywood A-lister (Emy Aneke) who ends up penniless in Belfast and needs a little help from his friends; and The Holy Fail—Owen Dara’s comedy about an Irish husband’s desperate attempts to keep his American-born wife from leaving County Cork. 

The ever-popular shorts—a Chicago Irish Film Festival tradition—range in subject from zombies to time travelers, love letters to Brexit; literally something for everyone.

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 Gallery Theatre: Society for Arts 1112 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, and Il 60642