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Irish Film New York Festival kicks off this weekend at NYU’s Cantor Film Center

Posted on October 5, 2012 | by Jennifer Lu

Irish Film New York strives to help Irish filmmakers establish themselves in the New York film industry. This weekend, IFNY will host its second annual Irish Film New York Festival with the Irish Studies Program at NYU.

Activities kicked yesterday off with a pre-festival event at the Apple Store in SoHo where directors whose films will be featured this weekend held a “Meet the Filmmakers” panel discussion, mediated by IFNY’s executive director Niall McKay.

“Our goal for these festivals is to bring Irish filmmakers to the United States,” said McKay, who is also the founder of the San Francisco Irish Film Festival and the co-founder of the Los Angeles Irish Film festival. “There is so much talent, but it will never be uncovered without a market for these filmmakers to present their films.”

McKay has experience in the industry himself. He has produced documentaries for PBS and Irish television station RTE, as well as short films “Nuts” and “Losing Clock.” Because he is familiar with the industry, McKay has been able to introduce some of the best Irish films to the United States.

This weekend’s festival will include screenings of six critically acclaimed contemporary Irish films at NYU’s Cantor Film Center and industry panel discussions.

“Most films about Ireland focus on its history, but these filmmakers show it as a modern European nation,” McKay said.

Several of the films’ directors, including Kieron J. Walsh, director of “Jump”; Macdara Vallely, director of“Babygirl”; and Kirsten Sheridan, director of “Dollhouse,” will be in attendance at their films’ screenings this weekend. The directors will conduct question and answer sessions following the screenings.

IFNY’s deputy director Nuala Mellett said this year’s festival has a similar structure and schedule to last year’s, and she hopes it will be even more successful this year.

“We gained credibility [last year] and now we want to make the festival bigger and better,” Mellett said.

IFNY has received a great deal of help and support from volunteers this year.

“We are very lucky because we have such great interest and support,” McKay said. “We have a large reception too, especially from NYU students.”

Tisch freshman Tony Calamunci is highly anticipating the screenings and discussion panels.

“I marked my calendar for the festival’s opening night,” Calamunci said. “Where else but NYU can you see the best of the best Irish films without it even being St. Patrick’s Day?”

In addition to an annual festival, IFNY has also held Irish film screenings at the Lincoln Center Theater. Several of the films have won Academy Awards.

The IFNY festival begins Friday, Oct. 5. Screenings will take place at NYU’S Cantor Film Center, 36 E. Eighth St. through Sunday, Oct. 7.

Jennifer Lu is a contributing writer. Email her at 


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