The huge global demand for Irish storytelling, from The Banshees of Inisherin to Derry Girls, Bad Sisters and Normal People, demonstrates the power of local stories with universal themes.

With 16 films, including 15 Australian Premieres,the 9th Irish Film Festival Australia showcases the best dramas, most compelling documentaries and the famous Irish sense of humour.

Among the highlights this year is opening night premiere, Lakelands, an exploration of masculinity, loneliness and the role of sport in rural communities. It asks who you are if you are not a star on the pitch? The film struck a chord with Sydney Swans star, Tadhg Kennelly, who grew up immersed in Gaelic football culture. “You could be bulletproof in the football club, but you always had your armour on and couldn’t show any vulnerability,” said Kennelly.

Oscar and BAFTA winning short film, An Irish Goodbye explores themes of tradition, loss and family, whilst also addressing the issue of caring for someone with special needs. The self-deprecating Northern Irish gallows humour adds lightness to the story.

Beloved Oscar winner, Olivia Coleman deals with the ambivalence of motherhood in Joyride. With a script from Bad Sisters writer Ailbhe Keogan, Coleman plays a woman struggling with the notion of motherhood.

The recent 25th anniversary of Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace agreement also marked 4 years since journalist Lyra McKee was murdered in Derry, Northern Ireland. Lyra is a documentary about a young talent lost to terrorism. Directed by her friend, documentarian Alison Millar, the film touches on Lyra’s groundbreaking work in telling stories on intergenerational trauma, suicide and LGBTQI+ rights.

It is not the only feature to deal with Ireland’s dark past. Ann is a dramatisation of the events that led to the death of teenager Ann Lovett while giving birth in 1984. Her death sparked a movement that led to the end of Ireland’s abortion ban. Directed by Ciaran Creagh, the film looks at how this case played a role in Ireland’s transformation from conservative Catholicism to secular liberalism. The documentary, Pray for Our Sinners tells the story of the Irish campaigners who took on brutal church abuse of young pregnant women in a small Irish town.

In Cinemas October 5th – November 5th
Online across Australia: October 5th – 15th

Sydney | 5-8 Oct | Dendy Cinema, Newtown
Brisbane | 13-15 Oct | Dendy Cinema, Coorparoo
Canberra | 20-22 Oct | Dendy Cinema, Canberra
Perth | 27-29 Oct | Luna Cinema, Leederville
Melbourne | 2-5 Nov | Cinema Nova, Carlton

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