Monday, February 20, 2017

Capital Irish Film Festival Opens with a Look at Northern Ireland

Born and Reared opens the 2017 Capital Irish Film Festival

From our friends at Sola Nua...

The Capital Irish Film Festival (CIFF) opens its 11th year Thursday, March 2, at 7:15 PM, with a moving documentary focusing on Northern Ireland. “Born and Reared” explores contemporary Northern Ireland through the lives of four men of different religions and backgrounds living in the aftermath of violent conflict. It is a story of reimagined identity in a place where religion and community defined which side you were on in three decades of civil unrest known as “The Troubles.” It asks the question, “What happens in the wake of conflict when the cameras leave?”

CIFF makes its home this year at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. With the support of Culture Ireland, five Irish filmmakers will be on hand to engage the audience in talkbacks after their films. For a full schedule and tickets, go to

“Born and Reared” is a first feature-length documentary for filmmakers Henrietta Norton, director, and Dan Dennison, producer and cinematographer. Norton was born in London, but while growing up spent weekends and holidays in Northern Ireland because her stepmother Marjorie “Mo” Mowlam was Northern Ireland Secretary of State for the United Kingdom in 1997 and ’98. The filmmakers will join moviegoers in a discussion and reception after their film.

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Friday March 3 features the U.S. debut of “LIFT” about people trapped in an elevator with a man who has just committed an assault. Writer-producer Kealan Ryan, who has turned this bleak situation into a comedy, will engage the audience after its screening at 7:15 PM. Also Friday night “Sing Street”, the charming and hilarious coming-of-age story that captured hearts around the world, is back by popular demand. “Outcasts by Choice” follows a Belfast punk band going back on the road after 40 years with band members facing their sixties.

Saturday afternoon will feature a program of short films by new Irish talent and two beautiful Irish language films about the inspirations for poetry in Ireland: “ Fis na Fuiseoige: The Lark’s View and “Dearghuil: Anatomy of a Passion.”

Saturday evening, the powerful documentary “Bobby Sands: 66 Days” reexamines the fatal hunger strike that caught the world’s attention and changed the course of events in the Northern Ireland conflict. On a lighter note, “War on Everyone,” is a rogue cop partner tale that has Irish director John Michael McDonagh (“Calvary,” “The Guard”) looking at America.

Sunday March 5 also starts with an afternoon program of shorts followed by “Atlantic”, a compelling documentary that the Dublin Film Critics Circle called the Best Irish Film last year. It follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities - in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland - as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges. Producer Marie-Therese Garvey will follow the 2:30 PM screening with a discussion of the challenges of making social issue films, particularly in challenging environments.

Next up is “South”, which follows the odyssey of a young stage-shy musician struggling with the death of his father who sets off to find his estranged mother.

The film festival will close Sunday night with a comedy that the Dublin Film Critics Circle called the Best Irish Film last year. “The Young Offenders” is a whacky road trip-buddy flick, based on a real Irish crime, that follows two hapless young would-be criminals as they set off on stolen bikes to find a huge cache of drugs that reportedly is washing up on the beautiful beaches of West Cork.

Actress and comedian Hilary Rose, who plays a mother in the film, will engage the audience in a discussion after the 6:30 PM screening. Rose is known in Ireland as the television character Handy Sandie from "Republic of Telly”. She is married to the award-winning director of the “The Young Offenders,” Peter Foott.

Solas Nua, the Irish arts organization that produces the film festival, will host a reception after the film. For more information, go to