A one-evening “feis” (“festival”) of films made in and about Ireland will be held at the Irish Ceilidhe Club in Cranston beginning at 7pm on Friday, March 7, 2014, in what is planned as a first annual collaboration with the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF). Five short films, the longest under a half hour, will be screened with a short intermission.
“I’m really delighted that this collaboration has arisen,” said Sheila Hogg, who serves on the Cultural Committee of the club and selected the films. She is also on the Advisory Board of the RIIFF. “Short film is the unexpected, rich and delectable like a short story, where you’re thrown into the middle of something and you don’t even know what it is because you’ve never seen it before.” She cited classic film The Quiet Man as an example of what the festival is trying to avoid, a portrayal of “a mythical Ireland that never existed.”
Headlining the event is the Academy Award-winning 29-minute live action drama, The Shore, which won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short in 2012. The film’s website describes it as about “…two boyhood best friends – Joe (Ciarán Hinds) and Paddy (Conleth Hill) – divided by 25 years of misunderstanding. Their world and their friendship is shattered by the conflict escalating in Northern Ireland… until, 25 years later, Joe returns for the first time to his homeland…” Knowing the film is about the Troubles makes it sound “heavier than it is,” Hogg said, but it is actually “hilarious and poignant.”
Irish Folk Furniture is an 8-minute stop-motion film that won theSundance Jury Award for Best Short Film (Animation) in 2013. “In Ireland, old hand-painted furniture is often associated with hard times, with poverty, and with a time many would rather forget. In this animated documentary, 16 pieces of traditional folk furniture are repaired and returned home,” according to the Sundance website.“We have a whole different history [in the United States] as to how we view the past,” Hogg said. “People who died or had to emigrate because of the famine in the 1850s left houses that were just abandoned and stayed abandoned. Because it was a famine house, it was considered bad luck.”
2 Tonne Hands is a 24-minute live-action film whose Facebook page gives this synopsis: “A shy, young Polish builder, stranded in Ireland, applies his big, awkward hands to learning music to help him communicate and turn his life around.”
An Rinceoir (“The Dancer”) is a 5-minute music and dance film with a slight surprise ending. The Irish Film Board synopsis: “At a feis, a young dancer waits nervously in the wings. Once on stage, however, she shines, demonstrating her grá for Irish dancing.”
A sneak preview of a brand new 23-minute film whose title has not been disclosed will also be shown.
The Irish Ceilidhe Club was founded in 1956 by Irish immigrants and remains focused on “keeping traditional Irish culture alive in Rhode Island and making it available to the community,” said Wayne Kezirian, its president. A “ceilidhe,” often modernized to “céilí” in reformed Irish spelling, is a gathering usually involving dance and music. The organization holds weekly Friday night socials, conducts a weekly Monday night step-dancing class, and is frequently a stop for touring Celtic musicians and performers. “We have members who are so immersed in Irish culture. We have some very knowledgeable people,” he said. At a reading honoring the recently deceased poet Seamus Heaney after hearing his descriptions of Irish rural life, Kezirian said, “People were raising their hands and saying, ‘I remember that in my own village.’”
First Annual Irish Film Festival, upstairs at the Irish Ceilidhe Club, 50 America St, Cranston, RI 02920. Fri, March 7, 2014, 7 – 9:30pm. Immediately followed at 9:30 – 11:00 by a social gathering downstairs with a cash bar. Admission $10 cash at the door.
First Annual Irish Film Festival on Facebook: facebook.com/events/
Irish Ceilidhe Club on the web: irishclubri.org/
Rhode Island International Film Festival on the web: film-festival.org/
Irish Folk Furnture wins the Sundance Jury Award for Best Short Film (Animation), with clips: youtube.com/watch?v=
An Rinceoir (“The Dancer”) on the web, with trailer: directory.