Irish Abroad: Ninth Capital Irish Film Festival kick offs in Washington

The ninth Capital Irish Film Festival kicks off today in Washington D.C., with 8 Irish films, 9 shorts, and a music and multimedia concert taking place at venues in the city for the next 4 days.

Niall Heery’s Gold will open the festival, screening at the E Street Cinema. The film, which opened here last year, is an offbeat comedy about an estranged father who returns to his hometown after many years to reconnect with his daughter and ex-wife but unwittingly finds he is responsible for almost destroying all their lives. The film stars James Nesbitt, Maisie Williams, David Wilmot, and Kerry Condon.

Tomorrow, Friday February 6th, sees Mark McCauley’s A City Dreaming, a portrait of Derry told over 50 years told through the eyes of a young boy (writer-broadcaster Gerry Anderson). Ireland’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Feature at the Oscars, Tom Collins’ An Bronntanas, plays immediately afterwards. This film follows a local independent lifeboat crew who receive a distress call on a stormy night to discover a fishing boat, its only passenger a dead woman and its cargo is over a million Euros worth of drugs. The film stars John Finn, Owen McDonnell, and Michelle Beamish.

On Saturday, February 7th, the Roger Corman focused It Came from Connemara screens, followed by a Music & Multimedia Concert curated by composer Sarah O’Halloran to showcase a diverse selection of fixed-media works featuring original music and moving images. This will be followed by Lenny Abrahamson’s superb film Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy.

Sunday, February 7th, sees three films again, with documentaries The Wind Blows Where it Wants, Blood Fruit, and A Terrible Beauty. The Wind Blows Where it Wants is a study of Irish identity following a man of Spanish origin, born in Ireland but raised in France. Blood Fruit focuses on the 1984 Dunnes Stores workers anti-apartheid meovement. A Terrible Beauty is a very timely look at the Easter Rebellion that took place in Dublin in 1916.

On Saturday and Sunday a collection of Irish shorts will be shown, including An Cat, The Handsome Shadows, The Ledge End of Phil (from Accounting), No Messages, Uisce Beatha, Gaeltacht sa Ghalltacht, The Gravediggers Tour, Me Buddy Muhammed, and The Weather Report.

The Capital Irish Film Festival is the largest Irish film festival in the US and shows more Irish language films than any other American Irish film festival.