This year's Irish Film Festival doesn't just showcase the country's cinematic output, although it certainly does that. Intertwined with the fest's movie lineup, attendees will also receive a crash course in recent Irish history. With 2018 marking the 20th anniversary of the Northern Ireland peace process, the five-day event is focusing on films about the troubled period. In fact, four flicks in its nine-title program contemplate the subject.
They include opening night's Maze, which dramatises a 1983 prison break, and The Journey, featuring Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney as figures on either side of the conflict. Or, there's also No Stone Unturned, the latest doco from director Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief), exploring the murder of six Catholics in a tiny pub in County Down in 1994. For viewers after a change of topic, the fest also features Song of Granite, a music biopic about traditional Irish folk singer Joe Heaney, as well as The Lodgers, which unfolds its haunted house tale in 1920s rural Ireland.
Plus, the Irish Film Festival does something that other fests don't: it holds two opening nights. The main run kicks off on April 19 and plays until April 22, taking place at the Chauvel in Paddington. However, if you'd like to get things started early, it actually launches on April 18 with a one-night-only session at Penrith Gaels.