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Irish Film Festival 2023

Travel to Ireland without leaving the cinema — and while watching Olivia Colman, an Oscar-winning short film and a powerful documentary tribute to Lyra McKee.
By Sarah Ward
September 27, 2023
By Sarah Ward
September 27, 2023

March isn't the only time to celebrate Ireland in Australia. If you're a movie lover who adores the country's talents, landscapes and cinema output, the Irish Film Festival is just as exciting. In 2023 in Sydney, the fest returns for four days across Thursday, October 5–Sunday, October 8 with its reliably impressive program — this time taking over Dendy Newtown.

Every film festival is made better when Olivia Colman is involved — and at IFF, the Empire of Light and Heartstopper star is popping up in Joyride, which is penned by Bad Sisters' scribe Ailbhe Keogan. The movie tells of a 12-year-old who flees a difficult home situation in a stolen taxi, only to find a woman passed out in the backseat with a baby.

Another massive highlight from the 16-title national program: the Oscar- and BAFTA-winning short An Irish Goodbye, which follows a a young man with Down's Syndrome and his brother when they discover their recently deceased mother's bucket list.

Also among the fest's must-sees is opening film Lakelands, which dives into rural sport, masculinity and isolation. Or, there's It Is in Us All, which earned Special Jury Recognition for Extraordinary Cinematic Vision at SXSW; Róise & Frank, about a widow who believes that her late husband's spirit has returned via a stray dog; and North Circular, a music documentary that celebrates Dublin's North Circular Road.

Documentary Lyra pays tribute journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot during rioting in Derry, with the film arriving four years since her death and 25 years since of Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace agreement.

IFF will also include an online component to this year's fest, as it has been doing since the pandemic hit. If you're keen to watch Lakelands, It Is in Us All and Róise & Frank from home — and more — get streaming from Thursday, October 5–Sunday, November 5.

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