This year celebrates 25 years of Irish filmmaking excellence with an amazing selection of drama, documentaries and short films. The festival takes place in-person, February 29th–March 3rd with screenings at Theater on the Lake, AMC-New City and the Gallery Theater and online with selected programming March 4–10, 2024, with both segments of the festival celebrating independent filmmaking at its best and championing both new and established Irish filmmakers.
Opening the festival on February 29th at Theater in the Lake director Patricia Kelly will present her debut film, VERDIGRIS, starring Geraldine McAlinden and Maya O’Shea (picked as one of the five top Irish actresses of 2023 by the Irish Times) as two women from very different backgrounds who form an unlikely bond as they walk the streets of Dublin towards new and empowering futures for both. The film is a heartwarming story that finds humor in unexpected situations and beauty in the unexpected relationship. The opening night includes a pre-screening reception.
Closing the festival on Sunday, March 3, at the AMC-NewCity Theatre, is Pat Collin’s cinematically stirring film THAT THEY MAY FACE THE RISING SUN starring Barry Ward, Anne Bederke and Lalor Roddy. Based on the award-winning Irish author John McGahern’s final novel of the same name, the story captures a year in the life of a rural, lakeside community in 1970’s Ireland filled with memorable characters, quiet walks and the warmth of sunlight as the seasons pass.
The festival has always been passionate about the importance of celebrating independent Irish film and this year we are thrilled to be bringing a stellar line-up of Midwest premiers to Chicago. Mixing thriller with gothic director Lisa Mulcahy’s THE LIES WE TELL stars Agnes O’Casey as Maud who inherits the family fortune, but in classic Victorian suppression, being a minor and a woman, is deemed unfit to take care of herself and the money. Enter Uncle Silas and his dimwit offspring and life at Knowl becomes a last man, or woman, standing duel of wits and petticoats.
Also is the thriller camp is John Carlin’s THE LIE OF THE LAND, where a heart racing cat and mouse game between an aging farm couple, Ali White and Nigel O’Neill, and a thwarted con man that was out to steal everything from them turns deadly. Ian Hunt-Duffy’s DOUBLE BLIND, starring Millie Brady and Pollyana McIntosh, will make everyone think twice about volunteering for a drug trial that has side effects that could kill you, if you fall asleep! And Jack Armstrong’s MADE IN DUBLIN is the heartbreaking story of an aspiring actor, Stuart Cullen, who picks the wrong drug addled, alcoholic washed up Hollywood director to audition for, played to the hilt by Paudge Behan.
In between the opening and closing is a collection of documentaries that touch on everything from horror and tragedy to amazing and inspiring. From the award-winning directors Garry Keane and Stephen Gerard Kelly (GAZA), and Ireland’s submission to the 2024 Academy Awards, IN THE SHADOW OF BEIRUT is a new cinematic odyssey that penetrates deep below the surface of Beirut, a still beautiful, yet deeply troubled city on the brink of financial collapse. The documentary weaves four compelling storylines together in a searing portrait of a people and a city struggling to survive.
For over two decades Ireland as tried to come to terms with the horror of the “mother and baby institutions” that finally closed their doors in the late 1990’s. In the new documentary STOLEN filmmaker Margo Harkin takes an in depth look at how over 80,000 unmarried mothers were incarcerated in institutions run by the Catholic Church from 1922 to 1998 and the emotional and social carnage the institutions left behind. Screen Magazine called the film “essential viewing for Irish society “and Donald Clarke of the Irish Times described it a “..whispered epic of still-raw secrets.”
The mid-1990’s also saw another Irish spectacle, the fight between Steve “The Celtic Warrior” Collins and Chris “Simply the Best” Eubank. ONE NIGHT IN MILLSTREET, Andrew Gallimore’s gripping documentary, captures the lead up to the fight as well as the boxers’ unique personalities and some of the darker elements of boxing as a sport.
It would not be the Chicago Irish Film Festival without shorts and this year we welcome one of the festival’s earliest contributors Barry Dignam (DREAM KITCHEN 1999) now the Head of European Projects at the National Film School, as he presents the 25th Anniversary Shorts program curated from the over 1,000 shorts the festival has screened since the beginning. Also returning to the festival is Dublin Animation Film Festival director/founder, Fionnghuala Ni Neill with this year’s program of Shorts for Tot’s. The world of short film has become more and more engaging while the subject matter has become more and more diverse, and there will be 5 curated programs that shine the light on 36 talented filmmakers including last year’s Academy Award winning director’s Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s new short THE GOLDEN WEST.
This year’s Online segment has 3 feature films and one documentary that are all worth the price of admission and then some. John Slattery’s THE FAR FIELD highlights the inertia and humorous paradoxes of contemporary farming in Ireland as 90-year-old Seamus Malloy goes about his daily tasks dodging cats, dogs and ping-pong balls. THE TALE OF BILLY O’C, directed by Pete Harris, is a psychological crime thriller set in a small village in County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1975, with an IRA safehouse and small-town politics at the center of the plot; twist and turns abound while a bomb ticks down. Worn Out, Played Out, Strung Out. 10 Years after Punk band Crust split up the band members lives have fallen apart, but Baz Black’s DUBLIN CRUST is out to put the band back together for one last epic gig. Directed, written and playing the drums, Baz Black has created a love song to punk that everyone will find endearing. And absolutely fascinating is Daniel J. O’Donnell’s homage to the remarkable men and women who set out at the turn of the century in 1900 to create a National Theatre in Ireland. THE THEATRE ON LOWER ABBEY STREET, is the story of the early years of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre and how it earned its place in world theatre.
We invite you to check out the all the amazing films in the 2024 Chicago Irish Film Festival at chicagoirishfilmfestival.com to you curate your personal festival experience. Passes and individual tickets are on sale through the website and in honor of our 25th year we invite everyone to enjoy a 25% discount on ALL passes and tickets through February 15, 2024. Passes and Ticket prices range from $ 5–$220 (less discount!). Passes and tickets available through GoElevent.
2024 Presenting Sponsors include: the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Program and Gage Hospitality. 2024 Cultural Sponsors include: Culture Ireland, the Irish Film Institute, Consulate General of Ireland-Chicago and Screen Ireland.
2024 Festival Venues:
- Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive
- AMC—New City, 1500 N. Clybourn
- Society for Arts: Gallery Theatre, 1112 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
Questions or inquires, please contact the festival: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media inquiries, please contact: Tyler Malec: email@example.com