Los Angeles (March 6, 2012) The annual Los Angeles Irish Film Festival’s founder and director, Lisa McLaughlin, has been named Los Angeles 2012 Irish Woman of the Year by the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles. Los Angeles resident, McLaughlin, originally from Donegal, Ireland, and other Irish Honorees of the year, will be honored at the 137th Annual Irish Day Civic Ceremonies on Friday, March 16, 2012, at Los Angeles City Hall in the Council Chambers, Downtown Los Angeles. McLaughlin will be feted at a Special Luncheon immediately afterwards and then introduced at the Official City of Los Angeles St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza at LA Live on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012 sponsored by City Councilmember Tom Labonge. McLaughlin will round off the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the Grand St. Patrick’s Day Ball and Rose of Tralee Presentation in Orange County.
Previous recipients of this prestigious honor include former Miss Ireland, actress Olivia Tracey, legendary crooner Bing Crosby and American TV host Merv Griffin.
McLaughlin was selected by a committee from the Irish Fair Foundation. The foundation, which is also responsible for the California Rose of Tralee selection, each year, selects an Irish Man and Irish Woman and other honorees as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Los Angeles. McLaughlin is being recognized as an outstanding leader and major contributor to the arts and cultural fields and to the local American Irish community. Over the past four years, McLaughlin has developed the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival into a major Irish Cultural Event – with film as its center – but also has introduced Los Angeles’ audiences to Irish music, art, photography, poetry and even food, with an exploration of the ‘taste of Ireland’. The Festival is the only stand-alone Irish Film Festival to be presented in the city. Last year, the Festival’s Steve Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to acclaimed Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan. Over the years, the Festival has premiered notable Irish films such as “Knuckle,” “The Eclipse,” “Dreaming the Quiet Man,” “Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne,” “The Yellow Bittern” and screened films that went on to be nominated for Oscar® including “The Secret of Kells,” “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” and “Pentecost “.
In response to receiving the Irish Woman of the Year Award and to mark the fifth year of the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival, which will take place in fall 2012, McLaughlin has arranged for a traditional Irish Currach (traditional Irish boat) to be built by an artisan/boatwright from Donegal, Ireland. The theme of this year’s Festival will be “Sea of Exchange,” representing the emigration of people as well as films. Currach builder, Donal Mac Polin, will make the journey from Ireland and shepherd a hand picked team of local craftsmen through the ancient steps of construction and assembly. The five day process will begin in the lobby of the Opening Night Gala venue and will continue through the next 4 days of the Festival, amid the displayed works of Irish painters, artists and Festival patrons, curated by Cathy Weiss. On day five of the Festival, a family beach day is planned with the ceremonial launch of the Currach in the Pacific Ocean at Marina Del Rey. A documentary crew is already in place to capture this significant cultural and historic event.