The Chicago Irish Film Festival (CIFF) has been presenting the works of Irish filmmakers since 1999, opening a window into the color and complexity of Irish life. Screening a broad representation of current Irish cinema in both English and Irish language, the CIFF highlights the extraordinary diversity and creativity that is the mark of Irish filmmaking, including work by up-and-coming filmmakers.
This year’s all-virtual festival is slated for Mar. 4 through 8, screening documentaries, features and programs of short films.
Included in this year’s festival are eight short films that touch on Covid-19 covering ridiculous responses to Ireland’s lockdowns to looking at life in a whole new way with wonderful results. The short titled “How to Fall in Love During a Pandemic” started at last year’s festival.
Last year marked the 175th anniversary of the Great Famine and the festival will screen Ruan Magan’s “The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine,” a fascinating documentary exploring the famine not only from an Irish point of view with its unimaginable loss of life and devastating wave of immigration, but how the famine played out on the international stage.
The Irish are renowned for intense family dramas, and two of this year’s films present looks at dysfunctional families, from vastly different perspectives, Sam Uhlemann’s “The Edge of Chaos” in which resentment, addiction and secrets from the past that keep the film y on the edge of chaos, and Phil Sheerin’s “The Winter Lake” about two families, one looking for a new beginning where nobody knows them, and the other entrenched in harboring a bleak secret.
Colin Hickey’s “The Evening of Redness in the South,” a dialogue-free experimental film, captures hopes and dreams of a group of workers at a building site set against vast blues skies and curls of black smoke. The film modern silent won 20 awards worldwide for experimentation and cinematography.
The CIFF has screened over a thousand short films since 1999, much to the delight of audiences. This year will showcase more than 40 award-winning, creative, funny, heartfelt, soul searching and lyrical short films in five curated programs.
Find the full schedule of films and complete details online at chicagoirishfilmfestival.com.
Individual tickets for feature films and documentaries are $12 and for shorts programs are $7. Access passes are the best deal and are available for all access ($100), short films ($30), and for 3 or 5 films and for festival partners. Every film and program in the CIFF 2021 will have a limited number of screenings available, and it’s possible that a film could sell out.