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Chicago Irish Film Festival: What a Wonderful Night!

Posted by Deirdre Murray on

Last Thursday night, myself and himself had the great pleasure of attending the 18th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival. I had been excited for the event for a long time as I watched it approach - and let me tell you, the festival did not disappoint!! The place was buzzing! Such a great atmosphere, great company and a great film! Let me tell you all about it!


We arrived at the Gallery Theatre in Chicago and were greeted by the big screen and theatre seating. The venue was great and decorated with beautiful art pieces. We immediately met with Jude Blackburn, the Director of the Chicago Irish Film Festival. She was so welcoming and lovely- it was a pleasure to finally put a face to the name! Not too long after that, we were all seated and ready for the main event!

We watched two amazing films created by Irish filmmakers. The first was a short animated film called ‘Buoy’ about a wee lad who dropped his telescope over the edge of a fishing boat and jumped over the edge to try to rescue it! The film was beautifully made using techniques of animation that I had never seen before. It was short and so so sweet! You can watch 'Buoy' here

The next film, ‘Atlantic’, was directed by Risteard O’Domhnaill and narrated by Brendan Gleeson. The film follows the lives and challenges of three Atlantic fishing communities on the coasts of Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland. The docufilm follows these villages as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges compounded by the presence of powerful multinational corporations that threaten to carve up the ocean’s resources for their own benefits. They film was very powerful and educational. Being from  Mayo (on the west coast of Ireland), I had no idea that the fishing communities, so close to home, were struggling so much. I would absolutely recommend giving it a watch! You can find out more about 'Atlantic' here!

After the film, there was a brief Q&A with some of the filmmakers involved in ‘Atlantic’. It was so interesting to hear their perspectives and to dive into some of their creative processes as they made this masterpiece! The festival continued over the weekend and I’ve no doubt that each night was more moving and powerful than the last! Chicago Irish Film Festival has been alive and well for 18 years. Long may it continue!  A huge thanks to Jude Blackburn for letting us be apart of this celebration of Irish film! We had such a great time at the Chicago Irish Film Festival.

Go raibh míle maith agat.

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  • Thank you for this lovely blog post. Jude is my mom, and it’s great to see people enjoying the CIFF as much as she loves putting it together!

    Samantha Blackburn on

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