Irish Film Fest comes to Somerville’s Davis Square

Brilliant!

The Irish Film Festival, Boston (IFFB) was named one of the country’s “coolest” festivals by MovieMaker magazine. The print and online publication also rated Boston at #6 in its 2014 ranking of Best Big Cities to Live and Work as a filmmaker, saying, “There might be no better city to experience Ireland in America than Boston, Massachusetts. And no better time than the month of March (you know, with St. Patrick’s Day and all). Founded in 1999, the Irish Film Festival Boston is the largest event of its kind outside of the Emerald Isle. Its slate of films offers the best in contemporary and classic Irish cinema, with the fest laying claim to US premieres of such films as In America, Intermission, Bloody Sunday and the Oscar-winning Once.”

The festival will run from Thursday, March 20 through Sunday, March 23 at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.

IFFB Festival Director Dawn Morrissey notes, “We’re received an unprecedented number of film submissions this year and the quality of the work is going from strength to strength. There is something for everyone at the fest.”

From 200 submissions, the IFFB’s all-volunteer jury of industry professionals winnowed out roughly 30 films, including the winners of the following awards.

This evening, Opening Night features “Run & Jump” directed by Academy Award nominee Steph Green and featuring Saturday Night Live star Will Forte. After a stroke leaves her husband disabled, a spirited Irish housewife struggles to keep her family together. A research grant from American doctor (Forte), interested in documenting the family’s recovery process, allows them to get by. Of course, a prickly, but life-affirming romance develops.

Friday night spotlights the Director’s Choice winners. “Life’s a Breeze” (Feature) is a feel-good ‘recession comedy’ about a family struggling to stay afloat and stay together through hard times in Ireland. “Breakfast Wine”, a short, is summarized this way: “They say it takes just three alcoholics to keep a small bar running in a country town, but what if you’ve only got two?”

Saturday and Sunday are packed with various programs of shorter features (like the enchanting “Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion”) and documentaries (like the Best Global Vision winner “Skin in the Game”). The closing film is a glorious documentary on “The Irish Pub” or more accurately the publicans who keep these confession boxes/watering holes going for yet another generation.

The IFFB has hosted some of the greatest names in Irish cinema, including Jim Sheridan, Gabriel Byrne, Fionnula Flannagan, John Boorman, Aidan Quinn and Stephen Rea.

Tickets to each screening are $14 for opening night in advance ($15 at the box office) and $11 for all other screenings ($12 at the box office). Ticket prices include entry to all pre-and post-event receptions. A special All Access Festival Pass (allowing entrance to all screenings and receptions) is available for $85.

For details on this year’s visiting actors, directors and producers go to irishfilmfestival.com, where you can also find trailers, full list of documentaries shorts, children’s films, screening times, and, perhaps most importantly, the post-screening craics and receptions in Davis Square.