Irish film producers, writers and directors to screen their work at Fairfield University


Free film series kicks off in October

Image: DerryThe Fairfield University Irish Studies Program will host a special Irish Filmmaker Festival in October 2014, bringing several noted Irish producers, directors and writers to campus to introduce and discuss their films. The screenings are free and open to the public.

The festival is sponsored by generous grants from CT Humanities* and the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University, and is also supported by the Irish Arts Center of New York City and the Irish Film Institute.

"We are thrilled that CT Humanities is supporting our exciting efforts to bring such a talented and heralded line-up of producers and directors from Ireland to Fairfield," said Nels Pearson, Ph.D., director of the Irish Studies Program. "Gilsenan, Doolan, McCann and Montague represent some of the finest work in contemporary Irish cinema and television. For students, faculty, staff, and community members, this will be a rare opportunity: Not only do we get to attend exclusive screenings of recent films and pilots by these artists, but we can also join them in discussions of their works, Irish cinema and television, and Irish history, society, and politics."

The films will be shown at 7 p.m. on four successive Wednesdays in October in the University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room. Light refreshments will be served.

The scheduled is as follows:

Kevin McCann, writer and director of the production company Maccana Teoranta, Belfast, has produced and/or directed a series of quality films, including "VIDAfilm," a documentary set in Mexico. The film he will be presenting at Fairfield, "The Boys of St. Columb's"(2010), is a documentary that follows the lives of several great Irish figures, including Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and John Hume, as well as Seamus Deane, writer and academic; James Sharkey, Irish ambassador to the U.S. from 1987 to 2009; and Edward Daly, Bishop of Derry. Actor Stephen Rea ("Michael Collins," "The Crying Game") narrates.McCann is currently developing a film to be released in time for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, entitled "The Rising Mastermind."

Lelia Doolan, Ph.D., is a filmmaker, producer, and theater director (former director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin), as well as writer, teacher, community activist, and television commentator. Between 1993 and 1996, Dr. Doolan was chairperson of the Irish Film Board. Based in the west of Ireland since the 1980s, she was founder and director of the Galway Film Festival and is currently chairperson of Solas, Galway's Picture Palace Theatre. Dr. Doolan will be presenting a film that she directed, "Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey" (2011), a documentary about Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, a political activist in the Northern Irish Civil Rights movement of the 1960s-1980s. The film had its American premiere at the New York Film Festival, October 2012.It is sponsored by the Irish Film Institute (IFI).

Conor Montague, a Ph.D candidate and a post-graduate researcher at the Moore Institute, National University Ireland, Galway, where he also lectures and teaches, is a novelist, playwright, actor, director, and television (sitcom) comedy writer. Montague is also a coordinator for Creative Writing, City Literary Institute, Covent Garden, London. In March 2009, he established the Vagabond Theatre Company, Galway, and in 2011 and 2012, produced, presented, directed and acted in "Who Needs Enemies - A Nightmare on Henry St." as part of the Galway Comedy Festival. In January 2011, Montague established Vagabond Productions, and the following year he wrote and produced for television "Who Needs Enemies," an eight-part, contemporary comic-drama series set in Galway. The series is currently under consideration by the BBC. At Fairfield, Montague will be introducing "Houdini's Great Escape," the pilot and final episode of "Who Needs Enemies." He will also present a show-reel of the live theater performances from which the television series was adapted, and the video used in his fundraising project for the series.  

Alan Gilsenan is a Dublin-based filmmaker, writer, and theater director whose work has appeared in the cinema and on the BBC TV, ITV, Channel 4, RTE, PBS, SBS Australia, and the History Channel, among other venues. In 2009, he was appointed on the Board of Ireland's state broadcaster RTE. He is also on the Board of Fighting Words, a creative writing center for young people founded by Sean Love and novelist Roddy Doyle. Most recently, he completed a cinema-documentary "Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay"(2013) with Marie Doyle-Kennedy in the title role. It premiered in December at the London Film Festival, and had its Irish premiere in February at the Dublin International Film Festival. Hugh Linehan of The Irish Times wrote, "Alan Gilsenan's films since the late 1980s probably stand as the most substantial body of work documenting and exploring contemporary Irish society in an unashamedly cinematic language."

*Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. These programs bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to express, share and explore ideas in thoughtful and productive ways. From local discussion groups to major exhibitions on important historical events, CTH programs engage, enlighten and educate. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org.

For more information on the film festival, contact Dr. Nels Pearson, npearson@fairfield.edu or Prof. Marion White, MWhite@fairfield.edu

Photo caption: Filmmaker Kevin McCann, left, and his crew shooting in Northern Ireland.

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 11, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 317

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