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“Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!” …or Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! What a wonderful day to be Irish…here or wherever you call home.

This day two years ago, Dublin Airport posted a message on Facebook about St. Patrick’s Day which was absolutely hilarious…so much so it was carried around the world. Last night, just to be sure everyone remembered it…they re-posted it as a video:

 

St. Patrick’s Day as we know it…is not really an Irish celebration at-all. But, to be sure, we’re not about to be outdone…hence Ireland has caught the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon by its hoop-de-doo wheels and turned it into an event that brings more 370,000 people to our tiny island and a good few hundred million euro to our coffers.

There’s a lot about St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day the world-at-large does not know (some Irish citizens aren’t aware either!). Here are just a few of the facts:

* The 17th March celebration is actually the death date of St. Patrick. He is thought to have died on March 17, 461 and is said to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.

* The good saint himself was, according to legend, born Maewyn Succat. It is said Maewyn changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest.

* Blue, not green was originally the colour associated with St. Patrick. Some say it was the Irish Rebellion that officially tied Ireland to the colour green…other’s say it evolved over time and is linked to our “many shades of green” landscape.

* Originally drinking was not legally allowed in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, due to the fact that the day falls during Lent and Ireland is (was, and probably always will be) a very Catholic country. The law was repealed in 1961.

* In 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was held in New York City…not Dublin, Ireland.

* Ireland didn’t officially start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as something other than a religious holiday until 1903, when Irish politician James O’Mara introduced a bill in Westminster that made it an official public holiday in Ireland.

The first ever St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held in Dublin over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. It has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration.

At that brings us to today’s St. Patrick’s celebration in Dublin. There’s so much going on this year…here are just a few of the highlights:

In the Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour – Over two hours, take a very special walk in celebration of Ireland’s national patron saint. Led by  renowned Dublin historian and author” Pat Liddy, walkers will see the places most tourists and many Dubliners miss. Discover the fascinating truth behind the legend of St. Patrick and the Dublin of his time. The tour starts at the corner of Suffolk & Andrew streets, beside the Molly Malone statue, and finishes at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Funfairs: City at Play – This is an event my family has always enjoyed! From waltzers to family attractions to the carousel, there is something for everyone at the Funfairs.

St. Patrick’s Festival Parade – There are St. Patrick’s Day parades far older than the one held in Dublin…but our event is swiftly becoming the best of them all! This year’s theme, “Imagine If“, is the final stage of three years of parades highlighting Ireland’s past, present and future. Inspired by the imagination of the young people of Ireland…the parade will be a young person’s vision of Ireland over the next 100 years.

Big Day Out – At Merrion Square from 12-6pm, this free event will be bursting with energy, colour and whimsy. Children can enter The Book of Learning inside a Georgian House where UNESCO City of Literature opens up a world of magic, craft, creative writing and pet rats!  Just around the corner, SFI Science Zone gives budding scientists a chance to experiment with the enchanting world of science through amazing workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions.  Kids of all ages will enjoy getting their hands dirty at the Keelings Love to Grow Children’s Garden, where the first Irish strawberry of 2016 will be revealed. This and so much more make The Big Day Out event a true family affair.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

 

* For more information about Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day, please click here.

** When did Ireland go from being blue to being green? Learn more here.

*** For more information about St. Patrick and his life, visit Catholic.org.

 

 

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There is a very old prayer attributed to Saint Patrick called “Patrick’s Hymn” or “The Lorica”. In Ireland we know it more commonly as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “The Deer’s Cry”.

For centuries it was believed Saint Patrick wrote the hymn and sang it on the occasion when he and and a group of companions were on their way to the Hill of Tara to convert a great Irish king to Christianity. More recently, scholars suggest it was written by an anonymous author in the late 7th or early 8th century.

Whatever the case, it is a prayer/poem/hymn that reflects the spirit of the patron saint of Ireland. So, on this the feast day of Saint Patrick, I offer you his cherished prayer. God bless and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Hymn

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength

With the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness

Thorough confession of the Oneness

In the society of the Creator.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of Christ with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of the rank of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of the archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prays of Patriarchs,

In preachings of Apostles,

In faiths of Confessors,

In innocence of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

 

I arise to-day

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who wishes me ill

Afar and anear

Alone and in a multitude.

 

I summon to-day all these powers between me and those evils:

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul;

Against incantations of false prophets

Against black laws of Pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

 

Christ to shield me to-day

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity;

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

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There’s so much going on in my Irish home this week that I haven’t got time to whip up another favourite recipe, photograph it, and write about it in time for St. Patrick’s Day ~ oh how I wish I did!

Thankfully, there are many wonderful Irish writers, bloggers, and foodies to turn to in a pinch and it is my pleasure to direct you to some of their websites so you can find something special to serve your family this Thursday (Saint Patrick’s Day of course!).

That said, if you’re new to In An Irish Home, be sure to check out the Recipes section for my favourite “go-to” Irish recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, pudding (dessert) and drinks. You won’t be disappointed.

Slán!

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Shepherd’s Pie with Champ Mash from Donal Skehan

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Irish Bacon and Cabbage from Imen McDonnell

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Naked Cake with Meringue Buttercream Icing from Forkful

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Parsnip & Apple Soup from Mairead at Irish American Mom

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Chocolate Carrageen from Myrtle Allen

Irish Coffee (7)

Irish Coffee from inanirishhome.com

 

 

 

 

 

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After staying up late last night to watch the Oscars (by the way…didn’t Saoirse Ronan look stunning in her emerald green Calvin Klein gown?), I’ve been really dragging and wanting to eat up every sweet (biscuits/candy) in the house!

Around lunchtime, I decided to make these No Bake Energy Bites and snack on them instead. Made of peanut butter, oats, chocolate, and a few other simple ingredients, they are very tasty.

My two daughters sometimes whip up a batch when they have friends over. They’re simple to make and it gives them something to do other than looking at their mobile phones (which in my book is always a good thing). Best of all, I like that my kitchen isn’t declared a disaster zone when they’re done and invariably walk away leaving me to do the tidying up. One bowl, a few measuring utensils, and a big spoon…that’s it…couldn’t be simpler.

So, the next time you feel yourself lagging or your kids need something quick and easy to make…give these energy packed treats a try.

No Bake Energy Bites

Makes about 3 Dozen

Ingredients

4oz/1 cup porridge flakes (oatmeal)

2oz/ 1/2 cup ground flax seed

5oz/ 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3oz/ 1/2 cup chocolate chips

3oz/ 1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1 Stir all ingredients together in a medium size mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.

2. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and let chill in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.

3. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you like (mine are about 1” in diameter).

4. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze and eat straight from the freezer.

 

 

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It’s been an exciting year for Ireland and its film industry and the proof is in the pudding…or maybe I should say “the Oscars” because, for the first time ever, Ireland has several Oscar entries in several categories. And this year it is very possible that an Irish co-produced film or an Irish actor/actress/director will take home an all important gold statue.

Here is the breakdown of the Irish at Oscars 2016:

Best Picture: Brooklyn and Room.

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Best Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs. Though Michael was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and his father is German, his mother is Irish. His family moved to Killarney when he was a toddler.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and Brie Larson in Room. Saoirse was born in New York to Irish parents. When she was three the family moved back to Ireland and Saoirse grew up in County Carlow. Brie Larson is a native of San Francisco, California. And while she’s not Irish, she is being recognized for her role in an Irish film that was directed by Irishman Lenny Abrahamson, who is from Dublin.

Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson for Room. Lenny was born in Dublin. He studied physics and philosophy at Trinity College, where he also directed short videos with the Trinity Video Society, which he co-founded with Ed Guiney. He graduated in 1991 with first class honours (gold medal). Previously he directed Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did, Frank, and, for television, Prosperity.

Best Short Film (Live Action): Benjamin Cleary for Stutterer. Benjamin is an Irish writer/director from Dublin. He completed a Screenwriting MA at the London Film School. Stutterer is his first short film, which he wrote, directed, and edited.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Room, Screenplay by Nick Hornby and Brooklyn, Screenplay by Emma Donoghue. Emma was born in Dublin in 1969. She is an award-winning writer, living in Canada. Her first feature film is Room, which she adapted from her novel by the same name. Her novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and has sold over two million copies. Her latest novel is Frog Music, a mystery inspired by a murder in San Francisco, 1876. She is adapting it into a feature film for Monumental Pictures.

How to Watch The Oscars from Ireland:

The 88th Academy Awards takes place tonight in the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood and it will be an all night affair for anyone watching it from Ireland. The famous red-carpet-walk kicks off at midnight Irish time and the ceremony itself starts at about 1.30am. The whole celebration will finish around 5am.

If you have Sky, you will have a few ways in which to watch the glitz and glamour. The E! channel will run its broadcast from 10.30pm-4.30am. Sky Living will start its live broadcast at 11.30pm. And, I believe, Sky will have a dedicated Oscars channel: Sky 331/Virgin Media 307. Alex Zane and Zoe Ball will host the previews until Chris Rock takes over at 1.30am.

Also, The Irish Times will have a live blog of the red carpet pre-event and the ceremony itself.

If you can’t be bothered to stay up all night (and who can blame you…personally I’m only interested in the Irish nominees!), it will be possible to catch up on highlights on Monday evening at 9pm on RTÉ2, when the event will be condensed into a (thank goodness) two-hour package.

Irish Oscar Win Odds:

What are our chances of the Irish bringing home the gold? Well, Laurence Mackin of The Irish Times predicts, “Don’t expect a haul. Brie Larson is 1/33 to pick up an Academy Award of Merit (the Oscar’s official name) for her stunning turn in Room. Variety recently threw its weight behind Benjamin Cleary’s chance in the best live action short category (Stutterer is at 3/1). The others though remain outside bets. Room and Lenny Abrahamson are at 66/1 and Brooklyn is at 200/1.”

I’m going to remain positive, however, and cheer the Irish on into the wee hour of the night. Here’s hoping Ireland wins big.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

 

“The secret magic of (Sundance) film festivals is that they offer audiences direct communication with the artist,” so says Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth. And, oh how right he is.

I have been going to Sundance Film Festivals for 15 years. Some years are good, some years are even better, but what are always great are the Q & A sessions with people directly involved in a film immediately following a screening.

Unfortunately these Q & A sessions are rarely made public. So, if you can’t make it to Park City for ten days in January, you probably won’t get the inside scoop or see “the secret magic”.

And that got me to thinking…what if I could publish the Q & A’s? I’ve got an iPhone. I’ve been recording the Q & A’s for years. What if I published them at In an Irish Home? And so, for two weeks that’s what I’ve been trying to do! At first, I tried to upload them directly to my WordPress blog but, for whatever reason, it just wouldn’t work. Then, I set up a YouTube channel and gave that a go. It took several tries…but at long last…it’s done.

 

For the record, Q & A’s are sometimes serious, sometimes funny…above all, they are always informative. Their format is as follows: after the credits, a Sundance Programmer comes to the stage and introduces the director, producer, actors, cinematographer, etc. of the film just viewed. The Programmer asks one or two questions and then turns the questioning over to the audience.

In all, a Q & A last about 15-20 minutes. It seems a really short time, but, those 15-20 minutes can make the difference between an audience leaving a screening with a good feeling (which can elevate a film’s impact in the wider public) or a bad one (which will have the exact opposite effect).

I was fortunate to attend five or six films this year that were followed by Q & A’s, including one for the Irish-Cuban film Viva. Director Paddy Breathnach and Irish producer Rob Walpole answered questions candidly. It was fascinating to learn things like 1) how many years it took to make Viva; 2) what it was like to direct actors who spoke a different language; 3) how hard it was to find financial backers to support the project; and 4) how the wonderful music in the film almost did not make it into the movie.

So, for the first time ever, I’m delighted to bring you behind the scenes at Sundance 2016 with the Q & A from Viva!

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Viva nominated for an Oscar in 2016.

** How to do a film festival Q & A.

*** Watch the Viva trailer here.

**** Viva is the closing gala event at this year’s Dublin Film Festival (Feb 28th). To buy tickets visit here.

 

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The last of the credits have rolled at Sundance 2016, the awards have been handed out, and I am shattered. In ten days I saw 13 films, which is nothing compared to some of my friends and colleagues (who saw upwards of 20+). But somewhere along the way, between Morris from America and The Birth of a Nation, emotional exhaustion crept in. I believe it started with Mammal.

Mammal is the second film from Irish writer-director Rebecca Daly and her screenwriting partner Glenn Montgomery. Set in Dublin, it stars Australian actress Rachel Griffiths (‘Six Feet Under’, Muriel’s Wedding’), rising Irish star Barry Keoghan (‘Love/Hate, ’71’), and Irish actor Michael McElhatton (‘Game of Thrones’). Vaguely reminiscent of Gerard Barrett’s Glassland, which premiered at Sundance last year, Mammal is a dark tale: not at all for the faint of heart. It is also a thoughtful exploration of separation, grief, and love.

Rachel Griffiths plays the role of Margaret, a 40+ woman, living alone, except for the occasional lodger she takes in to supplement her income. When the husband she’s separated from (Michael McElhatton) calls to say that their son, whom she abandoned years before, has gone missing, something in Margaret cracks open.

As she unconsciously attempts to process her deep buried emotions, Margaret takes in a troubled young man (Barry Keoghan). At first, their relationship is akin to mother and son, but then it shifts to that of lovers and we (the audience) get sucked down the emotional rabbit hole Margaret is trying to climb out of.

Daly and Montgomery navigate the story of ‘mother abandoning child’ incredibly well. From beginning to end, Margaret never has more emotions then she needs and, for me, this character-casting works well. It would have been too cliché to pellet Griffith’s character with misplaced motherly love and grief.

Every character, Margaret’s ex, the son she never mothered, the lad she takes in, even Margaret herself, is broken, vulnerable, and looking for something/someone to help them move forward. And, just as you would expect from a Greek-tragedy-type-tale, grief morphs into some pretty risqué territory…which is why Mammal is a difficult film to see.

I’m glad I saw it, however. I can’t say I loved watching Mammal but, all in all, it is a very good film.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Sundance Channel Global secured broadcast rights for Mammal in multiple territories while at the festival.

** Mammal was produced by Macdara Kelleher and Conor Barry for Fastnet Films (‘Strangerland’, ‘Kisses’, ‘What If’) and was co- funded by the Irish Film Board, Luxembourg Film Fund, BAI, TV3 and the Netherlands Film Fund.

*** You can read an interview with Rachel Griffiths and Barry Keoghan over at Seventh Row.

**** To read another interesting article about Mammal’s subject matter, visit here.

 

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Sundance can be hard on the heart. With film topics covering things like war and cancer and physical assault, it’s not uncommon to leave a screening feeling exhausted and shell shocked.

So, when a movie comes to Sundance that has you tapping your toes and dancing in your seat, it’s wonderfully refreshing. And that is exactly what John Carney’s Sing Street is…wonderfully refreshing!

Oh sure, begrudgers have said that Carney “borrowed heavily from his own film Once to make Sing Street” but so what?…who cares!? If something ain’t broke…don’t mess with it!

At the Monday morning showing in The Eccles Theatre, audience members (myself included) were laughing out loud and thoroughly enjoying themselves for a change.

Sing Street is uplifting, funny, and infectious.

While the credits were rolling at the end of the film, people were clapping to the music and dancing in the aisles. When Carney and his cast walked up on stage, they received a standing ovation. Which says it all…doesn’t it?

Sundance audiences love Sing Street.

I don’t want to give anything away in this review, but I will say this…Irish newcomers Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (who plays Conor) and Mark McKenna (playing Eamon) are rising stars. Remember that you heard it first here!

Go see Sing Street. Take the kids. This is a film that’s good for the heart.

 

 

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Sundance 2016 started yesterday and I’m back in snowy Park City, Utah for the sixth year in a row reporting on what the Irish are bringing to North America’s most prestigious film festival.

There are a record seven Irish Film Board funded entries this year ranging from musical comedy to short animation. They include:

Sing Street – With 1980s Dublin mired in recession, Conor’s parents move him from a comfortable private school to a rough inner-city public school where the scrappy 14-year-old forms a band. Mentored by his older brother, a dropout who’s hip to cool tunes, Conor starts to compose lyrics and the glam-ish band finds its “no covers” groove. Renaming himself Cosmo, he convinces the mysterious, über-cool Raphina to star in their music videos (and tries to win her heart in the process).

John Carney, whose musical passion and DIY vibe refreshed a genre with Once and Begin Again, spins a loosely autobiographical story in which music again offers a refuge–from school and family strife. He spent over a year collaborating on original music (a throwback to ‘80s vibrancy) that’s catchy but plausible for a youth band, and his talented cast plays it like they mean it. Carney’s nostalgia isn’t only for a bygone Dublin and its soundtrack, but for that moment when you pour your heart into something, and it can mean everything to you. When songs can save your life.

Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen and Mark McKenna. The film will screen in the Premieres section at Sundance. It was directed by John Carney and produced by Anthony Bregman, John Carney, and Martina Niland. It was filmed in Ireland. It will be released in the UK and Ireland on March 18th.

 

 

 

Viva – Jesus has spent most of his young adult life styling wigs at a drag club in Havana, longing for a purpose other than the pennies he scrapes together in the shadows of his surroundings. When Jesus is offered the chance to perform amongst the other queens, the cruel winds of fate bring his estranged, abusive father back into his life after 15 years. What unfolds is a bittersweet story of pain, regret, and reconciliation. As the two men’s lives violently collide, they are forced to grapple with their conflicting views.

Laced with the raw passion and drama of drag, director Paddy Breathnach and writer Mark O’Halloran bring Viva to life with exquisite tenderness. Actors Jorge Perugoría and Héctor Medina fill this wrenching love story with a raw humanity that runs beyond the confines of the screen. With a resounding case for compassion, Viva illuminates the oft-devastating path of family, neglect, and resolution.

Starring Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, and Luis Alberto García. The film will screen in the Spotlight section at Sundance. It was directed by Paddy Breathnach and produced by Rob Walpole, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Nelson Navarro Navarro, and Cathleen Dore. It was filmed in Cuba and Ireland. It is the Irish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.

 

The Lobster – Recently dumped by his wife, David (Colin Farrell) goes to a countryside hotel where guests (John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw amongst them) must find a suitable mate within 45 days or be turned into the animal of their choice. They attend group meetings and mixers designed by staff (a wryly Nurse Ratched-esque Olivia Colman) to foster compatible pairings. But David’s search ultimately leads to the “loners,” militant outcasts (led by Léa Seydoux) who live in the woods and are routinely hunted by hotel guests. Although the loners forbid intimacy, he befriends a short-sighted woman (Rachel Weisz).

With deadpan conviction and perfect comedic alchemy, The Lobster thrusts us into a darkly satirical world that posits love as a social construct, skewering ritualized coupledom and our base impulses toward romance (loneliness, insecurity, desperation, cruelty) before adopting a more emotional complexion. The Lobster’s debatably ironic conclusion is one of many engaging ambiguities that give it a philosophical allure.

Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, and Olivia Colman.  The film will screen in the Spotlight section at Sundance. It was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Yorgos Lanthimos. It was filmed in Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France. It won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

 

Mammal – After Margaret learns that her 18-year-old son, who she abandoned as a baby, has been found dead, her simple, solitary routine is tragically disrupted. But when Joe, a homeless teen from her neighborhood, enters her life, Margaret offers him a room, and she soon embodies the mother she never was. As Margaret copes with the volatile grief of her ex-husband, her own lonely trauma seeps into her relationship with Joe and begins to blur the line between motherly affection and a far more carnal nature of intimacy.

With a firm grasp on the devastating layers of grief, Rebecca Daly’s Mammalexpertly guides us through the isolating depth into which Margaret is thrust. Rachel Griffiths, Barry Keoghan, and Michael McElhatton infuse the film with raw vulnerability that pulsates with the animalistic nature of trauma. This quiet portrait of anguish further establishes Daly’s position as a director with astonishing command.

Starring Rachel Griffiths, Barry Keoghan, and Michael McElhatton. The film will screen in the World Cinema Drama section at Sundance. It was directed by Rebecca Daly and produced by Macdara Kelleher and Conor Barry. It was filmed in Ireland/Luxembourg/Netherlands. 

 

The Land of the Enlightened – In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over five years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds—making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.

De Pue’s transportative and wonderfully crafted film confronts the visceral beauty and roughness of survival, serving as a testament to the spirited innovation of childhood and the extreme resilience of a people and country.

The film will screen in the World Cinema Documentary section at Sundance. It was directed by Pieter-Jan De Pue and produced by Bart Van Langendonck. It was co-produced by Fastnet Films, Submarine, Eyeworks and gebrueder beet film produktion. It was filmed in Belgium.

 

Love & Friendship – Set in the opulent drawing rooms of eighteenth-century English society, Love & Friendship focuses on the machinations of a beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who, while waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica—and herself too, naturally. She enlists the assistance of her old friend Alicia (Chloë Sevigny), but two particularly handsome suitors (Xavier Samuel and Tom Bennett) complicate her orchestrations.

Adapting Jane Austen’s unpublished early novella Lady Susan, Whit Stillman returns to the Sundance Film Festival (where his Metropolitan premiered in 1990) in top form with his latest comedy of manners. Kate Beckinsale excels in her role as the deliciously devious Lady Vernon and delivers each line with relish. With exquisite period detail and a script teeming with bon mots and witty dialogue, Love & Friendship is a rare—and rarified—treat.

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Tom Bennett, and Stephen Fry. The film will screen in the Premieres section at Sundance. It was directed by Whit Stillman and produced by Katie Holly, Whit Stillman, and Lauranne Bourrachot. It was filmed in Ireland/France/Netherlands. 

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

 

A Coat Made Dark – Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. So begins this darkly comic tale, in which Midnight, an anthropomorphized dog, and his human servant Peter struggle for power, courtesy of the coat. The film will screen in the Shorts Program 3 at Sundance. It was directed by Jack O’Shea produced by Damien Byrne and the music was composed by Neil O’Connor. The short features the voices of Hugh O’Conor, Declan Conlon, and Antonia Campbell-Hughes.

 

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Viva nominated for an Oscar in 2016.

** The complete Sundance 2016 Film Guide may be seen here.

*** Love & Friendship secures distribution deals ahead of Sundance 2016. More here.

 

 

 

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Oh my…where has the time gone?!

It’s already 2016 in Ireland, but in sunny California, where we are visiting my husband’s extended family, there is still another hour to go.

It’s “all hands on deck” in the kitchen. Nearly everyone is cooking or baking or mixing. While I sit here typing and photographing my last post for 2015, I’m being handed small plates filled with Tomato-Jam Burrata Bruschetta, Brie with Candied Fig and Chopped Pistachio Bruschetta, and various antipasto salads to test. Each one is as good as the next. Oh joy!

On the cooker (stove) a S’mores Cake is cooling, tempting everyone with its heady scent of burnt vanilla sugar.

There is great excitement in the air.

New Year's Eve

It’s wonderful to be part of a family who love spending time together.

As the clock ticks down on the last few minutes of the “old year”, I am astounded at our many blessings: family, food, love, laughter, shelter, health, the ability to travel. All of these blessings have trumped the occasions of sadness, loss, and uncertainty we have felt.

I hope the same will be true again in 2016….for us…and for you.

From our Irish home to yours, wherever you may be, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.

God bless and Happy New Year!

 

 

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