Irish Film New York, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2; Thoughts from Niall McKay

  The Irish Film New York logo.

How It’s New York: Impressario (well he is!) Niall McKay lives in Brooklyn now.  And indie films are a long NY tradition.  If the town is full of would-be actors, it’s also full of earnest filmmakers.  There’s a screenplay in every coffee house.  At least.
How It’s Irish:  The films are by and about Irish people, and represent contemporary Irish life– in all its multifaceted and multicultural richness.

it’s already started, but you still have two full days of powerful films to see during Irish Film New York, making its New York premiere thanks to Nial McKay, a driving force behind the San Francisco and the Los Angeles Irish Film Festivals.  There are six films during the three days, and there will be filmmaker Q&A’s, panel discussions, receptions.  It’s all at NYU Cantor Film Center, 36 East 8th Street.
The films:

•          Inside the Irish Traveller bare-knuckle boxing with the documentary Knuckle
•          Coming of age with Director Marian Quinn in 32A
•          Inspiring family tale of the pilot that crashes in Co. Cork, The Runway, starring Che and Weeds star Demian Bichir
•          Micro-dramas of teenage life against the bleak backdrop of Dublin’s inner city flats with Pajama Girls
•          Colm Meaney’s new Galway Film Fleadh-winning feature, Parked
•          Domhnall Gleeson of Harry Potter and the short film Noreen,  which was in Tribeca Film Festival, and on our podcast here) , True Grit in a compelling drama 

Dates and times are all in the scrolling calendar on this blog– you can click on any event and add it to your own calendar.

We did a little interview with Niall McKay a few days ago to find out more.  Niall also has great tips for starting your own indie festival; read them here.

NYIA (pronounced “Nai-ah!”)What made you want to do this?

Niall:  I wanted to be a filmmaker.  I didn’t know how.  There was no festival there in San Francisco, and I just wanted to see the films, modern Irish films.  I  know now it’s easier with Netflix and the internet, but it’s still hard to get a slate of films that are modern and good.

That was 8 years ago.  The L.A. Festival began 4 years ago.  I threw the films and what little wine I had in the bsck of the car, and had the first film festival in Raleigh Studios.

 This one has been in the works  from this winter.  There are a number of good festivals here already, including The Craic.  My aim here was just to do a screening series, focus on films that woulldnt be shown otherwise… bring filmmakers over, hold a screening series, almost an industry event.  I went to see Eileen Reilly at Glucksman Ireland House and she said “what do you need?”
NYIA:  It’s a lot of work– what made you determined to do it?
NIALL:  This is a personal thing;  I love standing in the hall after a film and hearing people talk about it after they leave. All the films are films I think a US audience will appreciate.  Knuckle, Parked and Runway are traveling to all three Festivals.
NYIA:  Do the films resonate differently with Americans and with Irish audiences?  Will Irish-Americans appreciate them more than others?
NIALL:  These are really good films, good in any culture.  Still it’s great when you live abroad to see Ireland, to see yourself represented onscreen. As an immigrant I have a lot more interest in identity than if I’m living at home.  I also wanted to do something with different age groups; the films are mostly aimed at people 50 and younger.  There’s a new generation– people like Ian Power (The Runway) who is only in his 30s, for example.

Something exciting is happening… the work of the Irish Film Board is having an impact.  There’s a force bubbling underneath.

 All of the films are new but 32-A, which is two years old.  My mission is to help Irish film and filmmakers make their way in the U.S.  Marian Quinn and Tommy Weir used to live in NY, and are back; they want to make a new film.  The film had only ever played at childrens’ festival once.  (Editor’s Note:  I saw this film, and it is a wonderful and memorable story, a coming of age from a girl’s pov.  The title refers to the bra size of a young girl).  Susan Mckeown sings on the opening credits.

 It takes a while for films to gestate.  Stephen Spielberg has directed 50 films.  Casablanca was the 101st film for Michael Curtiz. 

Trailers for the films are available at the Irish Film New York website.
Purchase individual show tickets or the festival pass at or call (212) 868-4444.  Details and trailer after the jump!

  • General Public: $12 each film,
    $60 festival pass includes all films
  • NYU Students (id required): $10 each film,
    $40 festival pass includes all films
  • Members of Glucksman Ireland House NYU: $10 each film,
    $48 festival pass includes all films.
    Contact us at or 212-998-3950 for the discount code. Become a member today.
Saturday, October 1st



After casting many envious glances at other women’s busts (even the nuns’), 13-year-old Maeve finally gets her first bra, size 32A. To her surprise, she also attracts the attentions of local heartthrob Brian, a wild 16-year-old. Maeve’s so smitten that she abandons her girlfriends at a crucial moment. Snubbed by her mates and in hot water at home, Maeve learns some hard lessons about what’s really important in life. Helmer Quinn makes a strong impression playing the bitter, divorced mother of Maeve’s chum. Featuring Aiden Quinn.
Writer/Director Marian Quinn will join the Q&A.

Saturday, October 1st


The Runway

THE RUNWAY is inspired by the true story of a South American pilot who crashed his Gulstream II jet in an emergency landing on Mallow Racecourse in Co. Cork, Ireland in 1983. Against all odds the locals came together to build a runway and get him home. Stars Che and Weeds star Demian Bichir.
Writer/Director Ian Power will join a post-screening Q&A.

Sunday, October 2nd


Pyjama Girls

It’s a phenomenon that began in Dublin and spread far and wide. Yet the girls who wear pyjamas as daywear, all day everyday, aren’t interested in grabbing attention. With many tender and often hilarious moments, PYJAMA GIRLS traces the explosive micro-dramas of teenage life against the bleak backdrop of Dublin’s inner city flats.
Producer/Editor Paul Rowley will join a post screening Q&A.

Sunday, October 2nd



Fred Daly returns to Ireland with nowhere to live but his car. Then dope-smoking 21-year-old Cathal parks beside him and brightens up his lonely world. Encouraged by Cathal, Fred meets attractive music teacher Jules. Growing closer, these three outsiders are set on a course that will change their lives forever. PARKED is triumphant story of friendship, hope, and perseverance. Starring Colm Meaney (Get Him to the Greek, Star Trek)
Winner of the best feature from the Galway Film Festival.
Writer/Director Darragh Byrne will join the Q&A.

Sunday, October 2nd



Shy 26-year old farmer Donal Duggan (Domhnall Gleeson of Harry Potter, True Grit) hires veteran escort Kim to rid him of his virginity, but the encounter turns into more than just a one-night stand, as they partner up to start a brothel that gets the whole town braying in more ways than one.

Trailer for Parked with Colm Meaney
Irish Film New York is supported by NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, The Irish Film Board and the Irish Film Institute and curated by Niall McKay. It is part of Imagine Ireland: a year-long season of contemporary Irish arts in the US in 2011, an initiative of Culture Ireland.

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Copyright 2011 New York Irish Arts