96 min - Dir: Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin; Narration By: Vincent Woods
"Documentary highlights how Irish Famine tragedy created a Canadian legacy."
- Irish Central
"New film traces family's story of survival on an Irish coffin ship that crashed off Gaspé coast | Documentary by Concordia professor tells story of exodus and reunion."
- CBC.ca News
During the famine years of 1845-1852, Canada received approximately 300,000 Irish refugees. In the summer of 1847, over 20,000 would die at sea, in quarantine stations, fever sheds, orphanages and shantytowns across Canada.
While Grosse Île on the St. Lawrence is the largest famine graveyard outside of Ireland and well known, there are sites associated with the tragic été irlandaise (Irish summer) of 1847 scattered throughout Quebec.
Cap-des-Rosiers on the isolated edge of the Gaspé peninsula may be the least known.
A 3,000 Mile Voyage to the Far Side of the Atlantic
Lord Palmerston's tenants departed a Gaelic world in rural Sligo for a Francophone world in rural Québec, carrying their music and folklore, language and religion to an emerging Canadian nation.
One of nine coffin ships hired by Palmerston to transport 2000 of his surplus tenants to Canada, The Carricks would wreck off the frozen Gaspé coast on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in May 1847 after striking a reef. Only 48 of the 173 passengers would reach the shore alive.
The film opens with a haunting sean nós lament and re-enacts an old tradition of leave-taking in the West of Ireland. Before departing home and clachán, emigrants brought their fire to the fire of a neighbour hoping that one day they would return home to reclaim it and, with it their place in the Old World.
For Patrick Kaveney and Sarah MacDonald's family from Lord Palmerston's estate in south Sligo, those embers would flicker in waiting for 168 years.
101 min - Dir: Luke Morgan with: Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Aeneas O'Donnell, Anna O'Donnell
:: Guest Speakers: Patrick Brodie and Luke Morgan
Luke Morgan is an Irish director and writer. He is the founder of the filmmaking collective
"Project Spatula" (2017, projectspatula.com). His short films have screened at a variety of festivals,
including the Galway Film Fleadh (2018), The Cork Film Festival (2016), Richard Harris International Film Festival (2014, 2016),
the Polish International Film Festival (2016) and the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival (both 2015 and 2016).
As a writer, he has sold two feature-length screenplays to production companies. His debut poetry collection "Honest Walls" was published in 2016. He was one of the storyliners for Ros na Rún's 21st season finale (TG4).
He was awarded JCI Galway's "Outstanding Young Person of the Year" award in 2017 for Cultural Contribution. He was part of the presentation panel to the European judges, for Galway's successful bid to become the Cultural Captial of Europe in 2020. He lives and works in Galway
"This film should rightfully mark the point at which Morgan and his band of dedicated players move from obscurity to celebrity."
"...self-described by Morgan as 'rough around the edges', it is also brave, exuberant and comedically potent throughout the majority of its 95-minute runtime."
"At the core of the film are Thaddeus and Sally, two strikingly original Irish characters played brilliantly by real-life husband and wife pairing Aeneas and Anna O'Donnell." - Film Ireland Magazine [Jack O'Dwyer]
Luke Morgan, standing before a full crowd in the Gate cinema,proclaims that, in years to come, "we're gonna remember this day when our little film screened in Cork." He is there to introduce his feature-length debut, entitled Sooner or Later, the latest project by an artistic collective from Galway known as "Project Spatula", described by Morgan as a 'rock band, except for films', which is loosely comprised of 30-40 members who move fluidly from film to film, churning out shorts, features and other projects in spite of the complete absence of any solid budget or sponsorship.
At the core of the film are Thaddeus and Sally, two strikingly original Irish characters played brilliantly by real-life husband and wife pairing Aeneas and Anna O'Donnell. Thaddeus is a truly ineffable character, part folkloric hero in the vein of Oisín and part cantankerous lout in the vein of Father Jack Hackett, with a spindly gait like Nosferatu and a leathered face like Mick Jagger. Matching his eccentricity perfectly is Sally, scatter-brained and prone to getting caught up in fads, yet wholly capable of delivering razor-sharp wit in a way reminiscent of the late Carrie Fisher.
Acting as the foil to the mischievous duo is Alice, Thaddeus's granddaughter, played by Muireann NÍ Raghaillach.
She cares deeply for her erratic grandfather, and has remained weary of Sally's role in his life for the duration
of the couple's six-month long relationship.
Morgan, as well as engaging in all aspects of filmmaking, is also a poet and novelist, noting in the past the similarities between writing a poem and writing a screenplay, due to the exactitude and economy of language that is needed to be effective in both. The script, written by Conor Quinlan and Peter Shine, is infused with this ethos, with great attention paid to the clever turn-of-phrase and cutting, precise punchline. This is particularly relevant in the case of Thaddeus, who speaks in a sort of impactful lilt, sometimes humorous and sometimes empathetic; each line of dialogue, no matter how inane or bizarre, falls from his lips in natural, poetic fashion, which is testament to the quality of the script.
Redolent of Dylan Thomas's famous poem ''Do not go gentle into that good night'', the film is a courageous portrayal of dying on one's own terms rather than simply fading away in conventional fashion. This mature subject matter is, in Morgan's own words, Project Spatula's latest attempt "to shout as loud as we can" until the industry takes notice. If the standard set by Sooner or Later is maintained or surpassed with future efforts, then it cannot be long until the Galway collective's calls are heard; the film is a sparkling paean to life, death, and all the love and hardships in between. - Film Ireland Magazine [Jack O'Dwyer]
82 min - Dir: Frank Shouldice with: Bobby and Ernie Coote
:: Guest Speaker:
Frank Shouldice is a writer, director, journalist and playwright. He has worked extensively as a producer/director with RTE's Investigations Unit, the current affairs TV flagship at Ireland's national broadcaster.
In recent years he has produced in-depth investigations into labour recruitment, cyberbullying, sub-prime lending,
the charity sector, au pairs, diesel smuggling across the border and many more.
In 2015 Frank published Grandpa the Sniper (Liffey Press), a 1916 memoir/biography about his grandfather and namesake.
His ground-breaking radio documentary The Case That Never Was took the 2016 Justice Media Award, the first time this prestigious prize was won by a radio programme. Frank's stage plays have been performed in Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow and he has had four radio plays produced by Sunday Playhouse. In addition to making documentaries for TV he co-wrote In Uncle Robert's Footsteps which won the Warner Brothers Foundation Award (New York).
His feature articles have been published in Ireland, Australia and the U.S. and Frank also writes and directs for stage and film and has written and co-produced his play 'Beneath The Cedar Tree' with the War Theatre in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Frank made his feature documentary debut with The Man Who Wanted to Fly, an affectionate character portrait but with a unexpected Hollywood twist. A published author and the winner of Prix Europa for his radio documentary work, Frank's plays have graced stages all over the world.
"Frank Shouldice's irresistible documentary follows the fortunes of a County Cavan Icarus, Bobby Coote, who's dreamt of flying for half a century." Irish Independent [ Paul Whitington]
"It was lovely to get to spend time with the Coote brothers, both good-natured, chatty and wise, and to see a slice of life that is not that often seen." Sunday Independent (Ireland) [ Aine O'Connor]
You know how they say it is never too late to follow your dreams? Well, Frank Shouldice's documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Fly, is here to offer reassuring proof that it is indeed the case.
The film introduces us to bachelor brothers Ernie and Bobby Coote, octogenarians (though you would never think it) who live on the family farm in County Cavan. It is younger brother Bobby who has always wanted to fly, but Ernie is benignly sceptical, even after Bobby and his friend Sean build a hangar and a runway. Not even Bobby's purchase of a microlight aircraft can convince his brother that the dream will become reality.
The grass grows over the runway, the plane needs quite a lot of work
and Bobby finds reasons to put off his flying lessons. Through the film we see how the men live and interact,
we learn of their past, time spent in England, their schooling, their family, their friends,
the town in which they live and where everyone knows about Bobby's dream of flight. It was lovely to get to spend time
with the Coote brothers, both good-natured, chatty and wise, and to see a slice of life that is not that often seen.
Their story is an insight into a side of modern Irish history because it covers most of the time that the Republic has been in existence. Sunday Independent (Ireland) [ Aine O'Connor]
86 mins - Director: Paddy Breathnach; Screenplay: Moe Dunford, Roddy Doyle with: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O'Halloran
"A terrific movie and one of the best female performances of the year."
FilmWeek [Peter Rainer]
“...the key player here is celebrated Booker Prize-winning Irish writer Roddy Doyle, whose previous screenplays became memorable films like The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van.” Los Angeles Times [Kenneth Turan]
A very fine socially conscious drama in the classic Irish tradition, Rosie tells a sobering tale that's "based on too many true stories," the narrative of a mutually supportive family made homeless through no fault of its own.
Though the outlines are indeed familiar, several factors make Rosie rise above the crowd, including uniformly excellent acting and the faultless work of top Irish director Paddy Breathnach (I Went Down, the Cuba-set Viva.)
Doyle wrote "Rosie" after hearing a radio news report about how Dublin's acute shortage
of rental properties means even people with steady jobs have difficulty finding places to live.
Unlike other writers who've taken on stories like this, Doyle has the gift of creating characters in extreme situations without hitting you over the head with their plight.
Made with a restraint that enhances the heartbreaking nature of its narrative, Rosie is also fortunate in having
top-of-the-line Irish actress Sarah Greene, who is wrenchingly involving as a character teetering on the edge of complete desperation.
What keeps Rosie going, and what keeps us in the film, is her extraordinary resilience as a character and the understated but powerful connection we see and feel among the family members. That bond doesn't solve all problems, not even close, but experiencing it is, as Rosie herself would say, just grand. -Los Angeles Times [Kenneth Turan]