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Irish & Artivist Film Festivals: Los Angeles Screenings

Irish Film Festival of Los Angeles 2008

The Irish Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFF), the first “stand-alone” Irish film fest to be presented in the city, begins today and runs until Sunday, October 5, at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills.

The festival will open with the West Coast premiere of Eden (to be distributed in the US by Liberation Entertainment). Directed by Declan Recks and adapted by Eugene O'Brien from his own play, Eden follows a small-town married couple as they prepare for their 10th anniversary. Eileen Walsh (best actress winner at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival) and Aidan Kelly star.

Also of particular interest are:

Colm Meaney in Kings

Tom Collins' Kings, the first Irish-language film ever submitted in the Academy Awards' best foreign language film category. Kings, which earned a record 14 Irish Film and Television Award nominations in 2008, chronicles the lives of six ambitious Irishmen who'd once dreamed of becoming rich in the construction industry of 1970s London. Starring Colm Meaney, Donal O'Kelly, Brendan Conroy, Barry Barnes, and Donncha Crowley, Kings ended up winning five Irish Film awards, including best editing (Dermot Diskin) and best supporting actor (Conroy).

Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Libby McLintock in The Luck of Ginger CoffeyA rare screening of the 1964 drama The Luck of Ginger Coffey, starring Robert Shaw and Mary Ure. Directed by Irvin Kershner, who later moved to Hollywood (The Eyes of Laura Mars, The Empire Strikes Back), The Luck of Ginger Coffey is based on Belfast-born writer and Malibu resident Brian Moore's autobiographical novel about an Irish emigrant longing for personal freedom.

The West Coast premiere of Louis Lentin's Grandpa…. Speak to Me in Russian and Valerie Lapin's Shalom Ireland. In the former, director Lentin uncovers his family's history and the world of the Jewish shtetl, while in the latter director Lapin presents a portrait of Ireland's small Jewish community, with a soundtrack that mixes traditional Irish and Klezmer sounds.

Gerard Hurley's The Pride takes place in a small gypsy (a.k.a. “Irish traveler”) community in Upstate New York, where a man (played by Hurley) returns from prison determined to win back his estranged wife (Nancy McNulty).

And three silent films:

  • A newly-formatted HD version of John Ford's 1924 epic Western about the building of the transcontinental railroad, The Iron Horse, starring George O'Brien and Madge Bellamy.
  • Sidney Olcott's 1910 production A Lad from Old Ireland, reportedly the first American production filmed abroad. The film is about an Irishman who returns to Ireland after making his fortune in the United States just in time to save his betrothed and her family as they're about to be evicted from their land. A Lad from Old Ireland stars Olcott and Gene Gauntier.
  • Norman Whitten's 1920 quasi-religious drama In the Days of St. Patrick, about the 4th-century man who went from prince to slave to priest, and who is credited for converting pagan Ireland to Christianity. Whether that's such a good thing is debatable, but this rare film is a must-see. Both Irish silents will be accompanied by composer and conductor Eimear Noone.

The Clarity Theater is located at 100 N. Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills. $3 parking at the theater is available through the entrance on Crescent Drive (one block north of Wilshire).

Tickets are available at www.lairishfilm.com.

Artivist Film Festival

The 5th Artivist Film Festival, held at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, kicked off last night with a screening of Peter Josephs Zeitgeist Addendum, the sequel to Josephs documentary Zeitgeist which had its official world premiere at the 2007 Artivist. Since then, Zeitgeist has been released on Google Video, becoming as per the Artivist press release "an on-line phenomenon as the most downloaded film in Internet history."

The 2008 edition of Artivist, which runs until Sunday, October 5, will screen no less than 40 films from no less than 40 countries. Themes range from human and animal rights (same thing, you say) to the environment.

Partial schedule and synopses of upcoming films are from the Artivist press release:

7:30PM - Friday, October 3, 2008

A POWERFUL NOISE

Director Tom Capello

Hahn is an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam. Nada, a survivor of the Bosnian war. And Jacqueline works in the slums of Bamako, Mali. Three very different lives. Three vastly different worlds. But they share something in common: Power. These ordinary women are overcoming deep-seeded gender barriers to rise up and claim a voice in their societies.

8PM - Friday, October 3, 2008

THEY TURNED OUR DESERT INTO FIRE

Director Marck Brecke

Mark Breckes They Turned Our Desert Into Fire tells the story of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan, through the perspectives of Amtrak passengers during a cross-country train trip, becoming an enlightening and emotional journey through an indifferent American media landscape into the heart of the Darfur tragedy.

9:30PMFriday, October 3, 2008

BOMB HARVEST

Director Kim Mordaunt

Rural poverty in Laos has triggered a brisk illegal trade in bomb scrap metal left from Americas Secret War over 35 years ago, and the local children are out hunting for bombs. This timely story is terrifying and yet filled with eccentric characters and humor, vividly depicting the consequences of war and the bravery of those trying to clear up the mess.

3PM - Saturday, October 4, 2008

COMPANIONS TO NONE

Director Bill Buchanan

Companions to None takes an in-depth look at the companion animal overpopulation and abuse crisis in Mexico, the consequences of which are animal suffering and serious human health issues. 

8:00PM Saturday, October 4, 2008

ONE WATER

Director Sanjeev Chatterjee

Filmed in 14 countries across the globe, One Water brings home stunning non-verbal visual sequences, compelling expert commentary, local music and an overall score performed by the world renowned Russian National Orchestra, to highlight mankinds changing and challenging relationship to water.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2008 - 2008 ARTIVIST AWARDS

Honoring this years Winning Films and KPFK Radios 50th Anniversary as a Community Leader.

6PM: Red Carpet

7PM: Awards Ceremony

8PM: Dinner Reception and Musical Performances

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