Irish Screen America

#Festival: Irish Screen America launches 2017 programme

A transatlantic bridge between the thriving Irish film industry and American audiences, Irish Screen America launched its 2017 programme in Dublin this evening, unveiling a line-up of Irish feature and short films which will bow in front of audiences in Los Angeles and New York later this month, as part of the bi-coastal U.S. festival. The festival also announced its 2017 Rising Star Award winners, as well as the inaugural Jim Sheridan for Achievement in Irish Filmmaking Award, named for this year’s special guest and director of its opening film, Jim Sheridan.

The festival will open with The Secret Scripture, directed by Jim Sheridan and starring the Oscar winning actress Vanessa Redgrave. Sheridan will be opening the festival in both New York and Los Angeles and taking questions after the screenings. Other Irish features selected for premieres in NY and LA include the SXSW-lauded Song of Granite, the life story of traditional sean-nos singer Joe Heaney, accompanied by a Q+A with the acclaimed director Pat Collins; Bad Day for the Cut, the first and only Roscommon farmer revenge thriller, which received its World Premiere earlier this year at Sundance; and Cardboard Gangsters, the highest-grossing Irish film of 2017, with director Mark O’ Connor and star John Connors in attendance also. Feature documentaries selected for ISA include Loving Lorna from directors Annika and Jessica Karlsson, about a young inner-city Dublin girl who dreams of becoming a farrier, even though it is generally considered a job for men; and In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America, the compelling feature documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, narrated by Liam Neeson, with dramatic footage from the conflict in Northern Ireland and stirring accounts by U.S. Presidents, Congressmen and Senators.

The Irish Screen America short film selection includes three different programmes: shorts made in Ireland, shorts made by Irish filmmakers in LA and shorts made by Irish filmmakers in New York. Highlights include Peel, directed by Annika Cassidy and starring Lauryn Canny (Amber); The Secret Market, directed by Martina McGlynn & Garret Daly and starring Victoria Smurfit (Once Upon a Time); Native, directed by Linda Bhreathnach and starring Patrick Bergin (Red Rock); The Others, directed by Amanda Brennan and starring Olivia Tracey (The Island); Whadd’ya Say?, directed by Karl Harpur (Love/Hate), and many more.

For the past several years, Irish Screen America has grown in tandem with the Irish film industry and connected Irish films with audiences and distributors in the U.S., and promoted upcoming Irish talent within its North American creative network. Previous recipients of Irish Screen America’s Rising Star Award include actors Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) and Nika McGuigan (Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) and directors Cathy Brady (Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) and Tom Ryan (Twice Shy) among others. The recipients of this year’s Irish Screen America Rising Star Awards are: John Connors (actor, Cardboard Gangsters), Sharon Cronin (producer, Acorn) and Lauryn Canny (actor, Peel). The winner of the inaugural Jim Sheridan Award for Achievement in Irish Filmmaking is Mark O’Connor, director of four independently produced Irish features released in the past five years, including 2017’s highest-grossing Irish film, Cardboard Gangsters.

Irish Screen America is sponsored by Bord Scannain na hEireann / The Irish Film Board, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Culture Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Film Institute and Aer Lingus.

The Irish Screen America festival runs from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th of September at the Aero Cinematheque in Los Angeles and Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st of October at NYU’s Cantor Film Center in New York.

To see the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit


The Secret Scripture

Vanessa Redgrave plays a woman who must vacate the soon-to-be demolished mental institution that she’s called home for over 50 years.


Cardboard Gangsters

A group of young Cardboard Gangsters attempts to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power, and sex.


Song of Granite

Revolving around the life of the great traditional Irish singer Joe Heaney; the harsh landscape combined with the myths, fables, and songs of his Connemara childhood helped shape this complex and fascinating character.


Bad Day for the Cut

A middle-aged Irish farmer who still lives at home with his mother sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered.

Loving Lorna

Lorna lives in Ballymun in Dublin and is lucky enough to have her own pony. Her dream is to become a farrier, even though that is generally considered a job for men.


In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America

A compelling feature documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, narrated by Liam Neeson, with dramatic footage from the conflict in Northern Ireland and stirring accounts by U.S. Presidents, Congressmen, and Senators.



New Irish Shorts Showcase:

Heart Over Heard

Director: Miles Forster

Producer: Chris Wilkonson, Dylan Townsend, Miles Forster

The tale of happy-go-lucky yet hapless Edel who’s neurotic mind chatter audibly navigates her journey from work to home and the peril of encountering various strangers at dusk and one in particular…



Director: B Welby Delimere

Producer: Helen Gladders, B Welby Delimere & Rory Fleck Byrne

When an agoraphobic has his mail delivered by a socially anxious post woman a strange but magical date ensues through the letterbox



Director: Kevin de la Isla O’Neill

Producer: Sharon Cronin

Busy-body mother Maureen battles Principal Finan during a parent-teacher meeting concerning her son Greg and his unusual behaviour during the school’s nativity play rehearsals.



Director: Johnny Cullen

Producer: Johnny Cullen

A young warrior struggles to carry her father to safety until she encounters an old enemy.


The Fashion Show

Director: Lucy Lumsden

Producer: Helen Murray 

This is a coming of age story about a 12-year-old girl who lives on a sheep farm in a remote part of Northern Ireland. Every summer her quiet life is interrupted by the local festival which hosts among other events a sheep fashion show.



Director: Linda Bhreathnach

Producer: Linda Bhreathnach, Marina Yarnell Donahue

A story about a migrant worker returning home after many years abroad, a film about immigration and homecoming and a film which is ultimately about rising above the suffering inherent in life.


Los Angeles Irish Shorts Showcase:


Director: Annika Cassidy

When Olivia is pushed to her limit, she has to find the determination and inner strength to carry on through life’s most difficult times.  Peel is a raw, powerful film that tackles the taboo of alcoholism head on with a fresh, honest and mature approach, starring Lauryn Canny.


Whadd’ya Say?

Director: Karl Harpur

When Michael and Sarah meet up to celebrate her birthday, Michael asks her a question that could change their friendship forever.


Lost Beneath the Stars

Director: Michael Kofsky

Returning from a less than glamorous promo gig in Las Vegas, Jocelyn and Chris, two down-on-their-luck LA actresses are forced to face their personal and professional insecurities through a series of unexpected obstacles, questionable characters and events. A quirky dramedy that illustrates the struggle of pursuing dreams and the unexpected beauty to be discovered in the journey.



Director: Lorcan Fox

A short experimental film about the red and fallow deer who roam freely in Richmond park, South London. The juxtaposition of these majestic animals and busy city life is unmistakable – yet commuters on bikes and cars pass the deer constantly and barely get a reaction.

We learn some basic facts but also speculate wildly on the nature of these much-loved creatures.


The Others

Director: Amanda Brennan

Life is always changing. Events connect people together and for a while, they float along the same path. The Others is about a once intimate group of Broadway actors who reunite after the tragic death of one of their own. Amidst reminiscing, singing and attempts to get closure for unresolved matters, they come to terms that relationships are not what they once were. The Others is genuine and heartfelt, featuring a strong multi-ethnic cast.


The Secret Market

Directors: Martina McGlynn & Garret Daly

Dr. Amy McCarthy (Victoria Smurfit) has risen through the medical ranks to become a chief surgeon. She has a near perfect life until her past comes back to haunt her.