Irish Film Festival features cultural topicsPosted on October 3, 2013 | by Haley Steinberg
Upon arriving in New York in 2011, independent producer and director Niall McKay had a chance encounter with a representative from the Glucksman Ireland House at an Irish Council event. They instantly recognized the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Friday Oct. 4 marks the beginning of New York’s third annual Irish Film Festival, which was founded as a partnership between McKay and Glucksman House. At the festival, six critically acclaimed contemporary Irish films will be screened at the Cantor Film Center over three days. Q-and-A sessions with the filmmakers and industry panels will also be available to the public for a small price.
“It was a marriage made in heaven,” McKay said of the collaboration with Glucksman House. “We provide them with a great screening series. They provide us with great support, a fantastic venue and a wonderful group of people to work with.”
McKay said niche film festivals are becoming increasingly important.
“Like everything, funding for film has plummeted dramatically in recent years,” McKay said. “There is a new breed of filmmaker emerging, and these new filmmakers are making commercially successful, low budget films.”
Screening on the festival’s opening night is “Run & Jump,” which follows a troubled Irish family in the wake of personal tragedy and stars “Saturday Night Live” cast member Will Forte.
The films feature both personal stories and larger themes such as homecoming, as noted by Assistant Director of Glucksman Ireland House, Anne Solari.
“Ireland has been defined by consistent emigration out of the country,” Solari said, citing the mid-19th century Great Famine. “Some of the most moving films have been about families, friends, couples and communities being reunited.”
NYU Tisch and Steinhardt sophomore Becca Schuchat said she wanted to go to the festival to experience a different kind of film.
“I’m excited to see the stories and artistry that emerge from such an old and rich culture,” she says. “And knowing Ireland, I’m sure there will be some beautiful landscapes.”
Both McKay and Solari are excited about the future of both the Irish Film Festival and Irish cinema in general.
“Ireland has always had more than its fair share of world-class writers, poets and musicians,” McKay said. “But now we are beginning to have more than our fair share of world-class filmmakers.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 3 print edition. Haley Steinberg is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.