ADIFF BLOG Irish Talent Travel to Sydney Film Festival for Focus on Ireland Programme 13.05.16

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Paddy Breathnach, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Mark McKenna, Rory O'Neill AKA Panti Bliss, Conor Horgan and Richie O’Donnell travel to Sydney Film Festival for the Focus on Ireland programme, curated by ADIFF Festival Director, Gráinne Humphreys

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces this year’s country of focus will be Ireland. In partnership with Culture Ireland the Festival presents Focus on Ireland: From Rebels to Romantics. Five new films plus a rediscovered classic will be presented.

Gráinne Humphreys, Dublin’s International Film Festival Director, and programmer of Sydney Film Festival’s Focus on Ireland said:

"2016 marks a significant year in Irish culture. 100 years since the Easter Rising the importance of this historical moment has been marked by official commemoration projects and events. It is also the year in which Irish Cinema has reached a critical mass and has flowered with great abundance, including Oscar glory and critical acclaim.”

“With this focus on Ireland we celebrate everything that is wonderful in contemporary Irish cinema. A diverse group of films, both feature and documentary, reveals the talent of both established and emerging filmmakers whose skill and curiosity has stretched far beyond their native shores. I hope that the energy and passion of the films included in this season, From Rebels to Romantics, will both delight and entertain,” 
she said.

Focus on Ireland: From Rebels to Romantics, reflects a strong performance by Irish filmmakers on the international stage. Six diverse and rich feature and documentary films will tell important stories.

Musical comedy Sing Street, from John Carney (Director of the Oscar-winning Once), is a film that bursts with ‘80s sounds and a stellar cast of Ireland’s most promising young actors, as well as Game of Thrones Aidan Gillen. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna who play two of the leading roles will attend the Festival to present their film.

ADIFF Audience Award Winner, Viva, by award winning Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach (I Went Down), is a vibrant Cuban story about drag queen Jesus. Breathnach will attend the Festival to present his film.

The Queen of Ireland, by Conor Horgan, is an uplifting documentary about Ireland’s superstar comedian drag queen Panti Bliss (voted No.29 on Time's 100 most influential, reader's poll ahead of Vladimir Putin!), one of Ireland’s highest-profile LGBTIQ activists. Bliss and Horgan will attend the Festival to present their film.

Best Irish Documentary winner at ADIFF's Dublin Film Critic's Circle Awards, Atlantic, by Irish filmmaker Richie O’Donnell, is a serious investigation into corruption, big oil companies and threats to the Atlantic Ocean, narrated by Brendan Gleeson (Calvary). O’Donnell will attend the Festival to present his film.

Mom and Me is a documentary from Irish filmmaker Ken Wardrop which screened at Telluride Film Festival, that explores complex and touching relationships between men and their mothers in Oklahoma, voted America’s manliest state.


A restoration of Neil Jordan’s Oscar-winning blockbuster Michael Collins, starring Liam Neeson, will be screened to mark the centenary of the Irish Easter Rising, as well as the 20th anniversary of the film’s release.

The thrilling account of a watershed moment in Irish history, will ensure the spotlight is firmly on Ireland. Sydney Film Festival runs 8 – 19 June 2016. Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2016 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.