Useful Websites

If you are interested in Irish films or want to learn more, I have listed a number of websites that may be of interest to you:


Where are our Irish Stars?

Ireland suffered greatly from a brain drain in the 1980s, we lost our brightest and best to foreign lands, where their intelligence, their talent or their vision could be better accomodated.
I don not think it is unreasonable to presume that this drain on Irish society has continued when we look at Irish actors and actresses. How many of our talented stars still call the Emerald Isle their home?
For example, Liam Neeson, one of Ireland's biggest stars, lives in New York. Colin Farrell, lives in Los Angeles. Cillian Murphy, lives in London. Jonathan Rhys Meyers spends most of his time in his London or Los Angeles abodes. Gabriel Byrne lives in New York, the list goes on and on.
What is so unattractive about Ireland for our native stars? It is clear that most Irish stars do not personally detest Ireland, for example Cillian Murphy has noted that he was delighted to work on The Wind That Shakes the Barley as it gave him a chance to film close to home and to use his natural accent in a film. Similarily, Pierce Brosnan, an Irish star who became an American citizen in 2004 has noted "my Irishness is in everything I do. It's the spirit of who I am, as a man, an actor, a father. It's where I come from."
The more obvious reason for these stars emmigration is that they must simply go to where there is most work and in these cases, most work for Irish actors is to be found in either England or America. If anything, this shows Ireland's reliance on these two countries when it comes to film production.
Hopefully, in a few years, the Irish film market would have grown suficiently as to allow Irish actors to reside in Ireland. I am skeptical, however, that this will ever be the case.

Themes in Irish films: Part 3 The Church

The Catholic Church seems to play a role in almost every Irish movie. In some cases, such as in The Commitments, it plays only a very minor role, but it is rare that the Church is not mentioned at all.
There are many reasons why the Church is so prevelant in Irish films. Firstly, the Church played such an large and important role in the running of the country and within everyday life in Ireland for so many years that it would be unusual for the Church not to play a role. The Catholic Church even assisted in the drafting of the Irish constitution, a draft copy of the constitution was sent to the Vatican for review before its publication.
Another reason why the Church is featured in so many films is because of the large degree of abuse that many of its institutions and preists have participated in. Many Irish films try to reflect these dark times on the silver screen. These films include 2003's Song for a Raggy Boy and the disturbing 2002 movie The Madgdalene Sisters. Sexual abuse is also breifly exposed in Neil Jordan's The Butcher Boy, but it is almost as a side story. There is many cases of abuse, especially of minors, in many Irish films, but it is reassuring to see that Irish film makers do not shy away from covering these controversial topics.

The Irish Film Board

The Irish Film Board credits itself as a development agency for the Irish film industry and claims to invest in talent, creativity and enterprise. The Irish Film Board also activley promotes Ireland as a location for filming for foreign films.

The original Irish film board was abandoned in 1987, but following the success of Irish films such as The Crying Game by Neil Jordan, the Irish Film Board was reconstituted in 1993. Lelia Doolan, Chairperson of the Board at the time said "The existence of an energetic and imaginative film activity underpins the continuation and development of an Irish identity."

The Irish Film Board had a capital of €16.5m in 2010 but, unfortunately, is under consideration of being dropped by the Government because of the current economic crisis.

If the Irish Film Board is dropped I think that it will be a dire shame and will throw away what has been a blooming market in the last few years.

If you want to check out some of the films which the IFB has help to produce or fund, there website is

Themes in Irish films: Part 2 The Family

The family is a common theme in Irish films. Irish families are often shown to be dysfunctional sometimes with some sort of abuse involved.
Another common element in these films is the fact that one parent (most usually the father) is missing from the family. Martin McLoone notes in his book Irish Film: The Emergence of a Contemporary Cinema that "a reaccuring motif is the sense that the irish family is incomplete, with either the mother or the father missing from the drama with disastrous results in terms of generational conflict."
Often the mother is shown as being the responsible parent who is resourceful and leads the family, such as in 1999's Angela's Ashes. Where the father is seen as a no-good drunk, with the mother acting as the dependable parent.
In another example, Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot, we are given an example of a father who is emotionally distant and a mother who is very caring and maternal in the form of Brenda Fricker.
This can be again seen, albeit in a more comical sense, in 1999's Agnes Browne. In the opening scene we see an example of a mother who is eager to support her family despite her husbands passing, in this case looking for Government support on the morning of her husbands death.

Case Study 2: Garage

In this 2007 movie, written by Mark O'Halloran and directed by Lenny Abrahamson, we are introduced to Josie (played wonderfully by Pat Shortt) a lonely garage assistant working in a small Irish town. He lives a mundane life and when he isn't working at the garage he spends his time in the pub with his "friends" who mock him and his simplified way of thinking. Although there seems to be little to celebrate in his life, Josie seems happy and optimistic.

A 15 year old boy, David (played by Conor Ryan) is hired to work alongside Josie in the petrol station and the two begin a friendship of sorts. As the pair become closer, Josie begins to supply the minor with booze. Josie steps overboard when he shows pornagraphic material to David. After he is approached by the Gardaí, Josie commits suicide.

What makes this film so poignant is the spectacular portrayel of Josie by Pat Shortt. Shortt is more used to featuring in comedies, such as D'Unbelievables but fits in to the simple sadness that is Josie's life. Watch Pat Shortt's portrayel at:

Another great collaboration between Mark O'Halloran and Lenny Abrahamson, the same team behind Adam and Paul.

This Year's IFTA's

This year has been an exciting year for Irish Film, we have recieved much international acclaim, both in front and behind the camera. Therefore, there was much excitement at this years IFTA's.

In the film section the winners were:

Best Film: The Eclipse

Best Director: Jim Sheridan - Brothers

Best Script: Conor McPherson, Billy Roche - The Eclipse

Best Actor in a Lead Role: Colin Farrell - Ondine

Best Actress in a Lead Role: Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Aidan Quinn - The Eclipse

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Dervla Kirwan - Ondine

Best Feature Documentary: His & Hers - Andrew Freedman

The event was held in Dublin's Burlington Hotel on the 20th of February. For more information on the award ceremony check out the IFTA's website at