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Lisa Mclaughlin talks about 2010 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival

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The Los Angeles Irish Film Festival is a non-competitive film festival about celebrating the Irish love for story-telling and their deep rooted love for the tellers of tales. The 2010 edition runs Thursday, September 30 through Sunday, October 3, 2010. The 2010 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival is co-presented by The American Cinematheque. The Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland are partners of LAIFF. ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) is a founding sponsor. The Irish Film Institute is a premier sponsor.

CWB editor, Bijan Tehrani had the opportunity of interviewing Lisa Mclaughlin about 2010 festival.

Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us a little bit about the 2010 festival and what we should expect to see this year.
Lisa Mclaughlin: Our Gala Opening Night is September 30th at the Linwood Theatre in Hollywood, which is one of the Academy’s movie theatres. The festival then moves to the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica from October 1st to October 3rd and the American Cinematheque will present the film festival with us. The opening night feature is a film called Perrier’s Bounty which is a gangster movie that stars Cillian Murphy, Brendon Gleeson and James Broadbent. Before that we are showing two silent films, one is called Ireland the Nation, which is about the founding of Ireland, and the other is a short film about Will Rogers, he came to Dublin in 1927 and did a travel log.

BT: How many films will be show at the festival this year?
LM: 12 including shorts, there are only two shorts this year.

BT: How many directors will be attending the film festival?
LM: There are going to be directors of a few of the films coming over from Ireland. We have the director of the opening night film and also the director of Swan Song. On the closing night we will have a tribute to Richard Harris with a screening of The Field. We are very pleased that his three sons will be attending.

BT: Are there any other events happening at the festival besides screenings?
LM: On Opening night there is going to be a pre-reception cocktail and after that there is going to be a reception which is fully-catered and we will continue the night probably into the wee hours. After the tribute on Closing Night, we will have a reception and we will also have a filmmaker brunch at some point during the weekend. The idea is to have Q&A after every film but it will depend on how many filmmakers are attending; right now the responses are pretty strong.

BT: How can people get tickets to the festival?
LM: Go to our website which is lairishfilm.com and click on the homepage button which says buy tickets for the Opening Night. After that Opening Night tickets will be sold on Americancinematheque.com.

BT: Which films would you consider a must see at the festival this year?
LM: The film that is opening on Friday called My Brothers is a very strong film that got a lot of critical acclaim at Tribeca. The Yellow Bittern which is about the life of Liam Clancy of the famous Irish band The Clancy Brothers. Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and The Pogues were huge fans. It’s a revealing portrait! Of course, The Field which is a classic Irish film; I feel that this is a very strong program and I am very happy with the films this year.

BT: How would compare this year to last year’s festival?
LM: Year 1 we were at a very small theatre and year 2 we partnered with the America Cinematheque and we have screened to a nearly sold out audience for almost every screening. The festival is growing in the way that people are involved and every year we can put on a better show; so I think that this year is really going to surprise people.

BT: How do you see the progress of Irish Cinema in general during this last year?
LM: That is kind of tough because Ireland is going into a period of economic decline. However, the good news is that, as always has been the case in Ireland, people always turn to the arts when times are hard and people always become more creative. Different projects will come out of Ireland because people are becoming more creative.

BT: Do you think that the festival will help Irish films find distributors here in the states?
LM: Yes I do, last year three of the films that we showed at the festival ended up getting nominated for an Oscar. The buzz around films being show in LA allows the distributors to start relationships with the filmmakers.

Article by: Bijan Tehrani

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