Thursday, November 8, 2007

Magner's Irish Film Festival THIS WEEK!

Give it to the Irish to name a film festival after an alcoholic beverage! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Irish, I love Magner's and I love movies. I’ve been to Ireland twice and well, Magners (or Bulmer's as it’s known in the green country) was my life blood when I was abroad. But there is obviously more to the Irish than sheep, rolling hills and their boozing habits and they showcase it in their cinema. This year’s Magner’s Irish Film Festival begins today and runs until November 11. The festival offers viewings of today’s most contemporary Irish and Irish-related films.

The festival (BIFF) was founded in 1999 by Jim Lane and Peter Flynn, two Emerson College colleagues. Flynn has remained the director of the festival to this day. Irish at heart, an in genetics, Flynn is a native of Dublin and graduated from the University College of Dublin in 1994 with an MA in Film Studies. He is now a professor at Emerson College, teaching classes in film and history.

According to the Boston Irish Film Festival website:

“Increasingly filmmakers from Ireland and the Irish Diaspora are turning to the visual media arts to express themselves and their culture. Within the last ten years alone Irish cinema has emerged as a dynamic global phenomenon, expressing a culture focused on the island of Ireland but spread out to all four corners of the globe.”

In 2003 BIFF began an awards ceremony to accompany the film showings which celebrated the work of the great filmmakers.

This year, the festival is giving its Excellence award, which acknowledges the achievements of a particular actor in the Irish film and television industry. This year’s honoree is Aidan Quinn, who is known for his roles in contemporary American film and television as well as keeping to his roots in exclusive Irish movies. He has been featured in such American films as Desperately Seeking Susan, Legends of the Fall, and Music of the Heart. Head over to the Brattle Theater in Cambridge tonight at 7 pm, where they will be honoring Aidan Quinn and showing his Irish film Song For a Raggy Boy.

This year’s BIFF Award Winners are listed on the website. The best feature for this year is entitled The Front Line. This film was written and directed by David Gleeson. It follows the life of Congo immigrant, Joe Yumba, who moves to Dublin. He has escaped a life of civil war and crime with his loving family. Everything seems to be going fine until he is forced to become involved in a bank robbery scheme. They will be showcasing this feature tomorrow night at the Harvard Film Archive at 7 pm. Admission is $10.

Each winner’s film will be screened during the festival. Filmmakers representing each film will be present to accept the award and answer questions from audiences.

To see a detailed schedule of films and workshops see here.

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