CIFF 2021—Welcome Remarks

Directors Statement

If there was one word to describe this year’s festival, it is perspective; how do we see things and what do we really know? And looking at the elephant in the room named Covid, we all know our perspectives have changed. And when I watched this year’s program of films my perspective on a number of issues and historical events changed over and over again and I wanted to personally thank every filmmaker that afforded me the opportunity to see things in a new light: the real power of film.

This year’s festival covers a wild west of topics, from the emerging art scene in 1930’s Ireland to a twist of fate and a deflected assassin’s bullet in 1936 Italy. We see all sorts of family dynamics; the good, the bad and the totally

uncomfortable. There are films that will make you want to close your eyes before you jump, but you’ll look anyway and films that are so stunningly beautiful you’d like to frame the images so you never forget how magical movies can be.

Of course, one of the things I most love about the festival is hanging out with our donors and sponsors, our dedicated festival goers and the wonderful filmmakers that have journeyed to Chicago each year to share their film; the true festival experience. But this year I am grateful to our streaming platform that helped us keep the festival going and will also allow this year’s amazing group of films and special partnership programs find new audiences outside our geographic footprint. I am also beyond grateful to both the advisory and programming committees and all the festival staff that not only looked forward to what could be in 2021, but created a festival built on collaboration and unwavering support in this new world of virtual presentation.

So, whether you like to watch with popcorn and soda, ice cream and pretzels, nachos and beer or wine and chocolate thank you for coming to the 22nd Chicago Irish Film Festival, I truly hope you enjoy every minute.

Jude Blackburn

Festival Director