Richard and Annelise and crew were the first given access to film inside the jail, and they spent several months inside the men’s and women’s facilities, capturing the conflicts, dilemmas and breakthroughs that arise at the school on a daily basis. The film portrays an ensemble of characters, ranging from the current Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, to the men and women behind bars, to the teachers, administrators and deputized staff.

Watch trailer:

“Shalom Ireland” Director’s New Documentary Focuses on Immigrant Workers

thelongrideLocal filmmaker Valerie Lapin’s (“Shalom Ireland”) new documentary “The Long Ride” about the birth of the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers is in final production. Read more

The Pirate Grace

East Bay based father and daughter Vince and Kate Miller are producing an animated  fifteen to twenty minute film about Grace O’Malley. Commonly known by her nickname Granuaile, she is a well-known historical figure in 16th-century Irish history, sometimes known as “The Sea Queen of Connacht” or “The Pirate Queen” more on Grace O’Malley

The duo ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and successfully met their goal, so the project is underway. Take a look at the trailer and stay tuned…

Jack Kavanagh, Documenting Disability • Aug 30

His name is Jack Kavanagh, 22, a pharmacy student at Trinity College in Dublin, a windsurfing fanatic, a fluent Irish speaker, and a bit of a talker.  Following a holiday windsurfing accident, resulting in a broken neck, Jack created a TV documentary to show that almost total body paralysis would not prevent him from living a very full life.

Breaking Boundaries aired on Irish television this month, and now Jack returns to the Bay Area for a first public viewing in the US, at Swig, San Francisco on August 30. Tickets

April events

Special Screening

Michael Collins (1996) • Mechanics’ Institute, April 29

Directed by Neil Jordan, Liam Neeson, and Aidan Quinn, this biopic of the IRA co-founder Michael Collins, Rickman plays Éamon de Valera as a man who begins as Collins’ revolutionary ally and ends as his philosophical opponent. Covering the end of the Easter rising to Collins’ assassination in 1920, this movie was the highest grossing film ever in Ireland on its release in 1996, surpassed only by Titanic four years later. Both its cinematography and score were nominated for Oscars. more

1916 The Irish Rebellion • April 8


THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. In partnership with the Consulate General of Ireland, the SF Irish Film Festival presents 1916 The Irish Rebellion. Produced by the University of Notre Dame and narrated by Liam Neeson, this landmark film tells the dramatic story of the events of Easter Week 1916, when a small group of Irish rebels took on the might of the British Empire.

The documentary – featuring a combination of rarely seen archival footage, new segments filmed on location worldwide, and interviews with leading international experts – also uncovers the untold story of the central role Irish Americans played in the lead-up to the rebellion. Although defeated militarily, the men and women of the Easter Rising would wring a moral victory from the jaws of defeat and inspire countless freedom struggles throughout the world – from Ireland to India.

The screening will be followed by a panel of expert speakers, moderated by Consul General Philip Grant, who will discuss the significance of the 1916 Easter Rising and its impact in Ireland, the US and throughout the world. Tickets $15, on sale soon at

March events

San Jose State University Film Festival • Mar 17

PrintThis free event brings a taste of contemporary Irish film to San Jose. The two evenings will each include a program of short films and a feature film: Director John Crowley’s award-winning BROOKLYN for the first night and Neal Jordan’s spellbinding ONDINE for the second night. The first night, St. Patrick’s Day, will also include live Irish music. more

The Imaginative Power of Place Film Screening • March 5

Born in Northern Ireland, Flora Skivington‘s fiction and non-fiction films explore individual relationships to places of personal significance. She is interested in how individual imagination can shape our experience of places and how personal stories and memories can add meaning to the objects around us. Flora is inspired by real-life stories, rural landscapes, and a love of color and texture. Her films have been shown at film festivals, art galleries and other public venues in the US and Europe, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. She has an MFA in Film from San Francisco Art Institute and a PhD in Fine Art from University of Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art. The event will include a screening of Corvus Corax, Newt Wonders, Oscar & Isabelle, Fatto A Mano, Beautiful Malaria and Nesting Turkey Vultures, followed by Q&A with the filmmaker. more


February events

Irish Day of Film • February 21


Irish Culture Bay Area Special! Introduce a new subscriber and enter to win two tickets to any film of your choosing! Send new subscriber email address here

Sunday, February 21 will be “Irish Day” at the Mostly British Film Festival to be held at the Vogue theater in San Francisco. Partnering with the SF Irish Film Fest, films include: “A Nightingale Falling,” an old-fashioned historical period drama set during the War of Independence and involving unrequited love and sibling jealousies; “One Million Dubliners”, an insider’s look at Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, home to a who’s who of Irish revolutionaries, artists and cultural icons; and “My Name is Emily” about a girl and her father embarking on a road trip through Ireland.

The evening’s centerpiece is “You’re Ugly Too” a road movie about the travelers of a recent orphan and her estranged uncle. “You’re Ugly” won best Irish first feature at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Aidan Gillen will participate in a Q & A following the screening. Aidan stars in “Game of Thrones,” “The Wire” and “Queer as Folk.”

For screening times and ticket information see calendar


December events

Guggenheim Connection – Did You Know?

guggenheimThe dramatic life of art icon Peggy Guggenheim is revealed in this portrait by director Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Never a beauty nor as wealthy as her name implied, Guggenheim decided to make her mark by collecting modern art. Moving through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colorful personal history included trysts, affairs and marriages with Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp. And Samuel Beckett. The film is a feast of the greatest art of the 20th century, mixed with the wild life of one of the most influential women in the history of the art world. December playing at San Francisco Clay Theatre; Berkeley, Shattuck Cinema; Marin County Smith Rafael Film Center

Oscar & Isabelle Screening at Crossroads Salon Dec. 13

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 2.58.58 PMThe upcoming Crossroads Salon on December 13 features artist Flora Skivington who will show her film, Oscar and Isabelle (the film will be shown on a small screen in a private home.) Set on the coastline of Northern Ireland and narrated by the consciousness of the house, Oscar & Isabelle details the end of a fifty-year-old love affair between Isabelle, a retired music hall singer, and Oscar, her 150 year-old house.

The Crossroads Salon is a forum for writers and artists who have Irish or Irish-American heritages or are interested in exploring Irish-American themes, as well as for readers and viewers who want to participate in this exploration. Participants are asked to bring work or questions related to the theme of place. How do you relate to place? How does place inform your sense of self, community or belonging? How does a sense of place relate to Irish or Irish-American identity and the books we choose to read/art that we choose to view? Each participant’s offering is limited to 8-10 minutes. See calendar for more information.


“Shalom Ireland” Screenings • October 11, 20

Joe_and_Cleo_Sabbath_low resICCC Patrick J. Dowling Library located at the United Irish Cultural Center and Congregation Beth Israel Judea are teaming up to host an exciting cross cultural event: two screenings of “Shalom Ireland” (October 11th at Beth Israel Judea and October 20th at UICC) Screenings will be followed by a panel discussion with the director, Valerie Lapin Ganley, and representatives from both the Irish and Jewish communities. “Shalom Ireland” is a documentary film about Ireland’s remarkable, yet little known Jewish community. The film chronicles the history of Irish Jewry while celebrating the unique culture created by blending Irish and Jewish traditions. From gun running for the Irish Republican Army during Ireland’s War of Independence to smuggling fellow Jews escaping from the Holocaust into Palestine, “Shalom Ireland” tells the untold story of how Irish Jews participated in the creation of both Ireland and Israel. See October calendar for details


WIN a pair of tickets! Sign up a friend for Irish Culture Bay Area monthly emails and get two tickets to use between Monday July 13 and Thursday July 16 at the Landmark Embarcadero Theater, SF. Email here by July 7th

Upcoming “Steve Jobs” Film Underway

fassbenderDanny Boyle’s long-gestating biopic of the late technology guru and Apple founder Steve Jobs has begun shooting in San Francisco – with Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender in the lead role (following early lead-man rumors of Leonardo DiCaprio, then Christian Bale). Boyle directs the film, simply titled Steve Jobs, from a script by Aaron Sorkin, based on the biography by Walter Isaacson. The cast includes Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Keep an eye out for local faces in the extras department. Never know who you might see.


A New Way of Looking at Criminal Justice

Local Irish filmmaker Richard O’Connell (San Francisco Irish Film Festival) is busy editing hours of footage of his new documentary, The Corridor. The film, by Annelise Wunderlich and Richard O’Connell is a documentary portrait of the first high school in the United States providing education to adult inmates in jail.

A feature-length documentary, The Corridor portrays an innovative experiment: the nation’s first high school custom built inside an adult jail. The film follows one semester inside Five Keys Charter School in San Francisco, observing as student inmates, teachers, and law enforcement staff prepare for graduation day and navigate a new paradigm of criminal justice that’s based on the human potential for change. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department considers the school to be the “crown jewel” of their restorative justice based re-entry program, and it has inspired similar programs in California and across the country.

Richard and Annelise and crew were the first given access to film inside the jail, and they spent several months inside the men’s and women’s facilities, capturing the conflicts, dilemmas and breakthroughs that arise at the school on a daily basis. The film portrays an ensemble of characters, ranging from the current Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, to the men and women behind bars, to the teachers, administrators and deputized staff.

The Corridor implicitly poses questions for the audience about crime and punishment, and whether or not real change – of both the system and individuals – is possible.

Over the last two years, The Corridor has received backing from BAVC and The San Francisco Foundation but are looking for further support to finish editing, do the sound mix and score the film. Say the filmmakers: “By supporting The Corridor you’ll help us ensure that we create a film that engages and galvanizes audiences to support a new way of looking at criminal justice – and the belief that the everyone deserves the opportunity and has the power to change.”


’71 and CAL, Castro Theater • May 11

’71 takes place over a single night in the life of a young British soldier accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety. Under the sure-handed direction of Yann Demange, this is a deeply moving character driven drama fueled by a beautifully understated performance by Jack O’Connell. (2014, 99 min)

John Lynch plays a young Catholic member of the IRA who lives with his father in a Protestant housing estate in a small town near Belfast. His attraction to an older librarian (Helen Mirren) becomes an obsession despite his involvement in her husband’s murder. Director Pat O’Connor’s taut, compelling love story won Mirren Best Actress at Cannes; Mark Knopfler composed the haunting score. (1984, 102 min)

See calendar for times and info



Ardoyne. Music Video. Ireland 5 mins. This video uses archival footage from director Philip Clayton-Thompson’s 1973 award-winning documentary, ‘A Place Called Ardoyne,’ and the animation of the paintings the children of Belfast created for use in the original documentary, which were later mounted in an exhibition about the effects of war on children at the Tate, London in 1973 – one of the most highly successful and well-attended exhibitions at the Tate in its time. The song describes that yearly incident in Belfast, where Protestants march up the Crumlin Road through a portion of Catholic Ardoyne. When the two groups meet, riots begin. The refrain is ‘We will march together. Give peace a chance. We will march together today.’ Philip Clayton-Thompson will be in attendance.

Still. UK 2014. 99 mins. A stunning performance from Irish actor Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) fuels this dramatic thriller about a photographer, Tom Carver. Tom is stumbling blindly towards a crossroads in his life, thrown out of focus by the death of his teenage son a year earlier in a car accident. In his breakout debut film, director Simon Blake paints a gritty, menacing portrait of North London’s cruel urban environs, where the dividing lines between evil and innocence are blurred.

Tiburon International Festival
Tiburon Playhouse Theater, 40 Main Street, Tiburon
Friday, April 10, 2015 @ 10pm


OK, so it got nudged out of Oscar spotlight, but there’s still time to check out this gem at the Four Star in San Francisco. And see the Art section for details on the Tomm Moore exhibit on artwork from this film and The Secret of Kells

The movie features the voices of Brendan Gleeson and ‘Moone Boy’s David Rawle, among others. The music is by composer Bruno Coulais and Irish band Kíla. read more

Plaza Man – April 12th, Tiburon Film Festival



Directed by Kasper Verkaik, Netherlands. 60 minutes

One of the greatest mysteries of modern American history remains unsolved to this day. But for Robert Groden the answer is clear, and he has devoted his entire life to proving the theory that it was a conspiracy that led to the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 – and not the lone sniper Harvey Lee Oswald, as the history books would have us believe.

Even 50 years after the event, Groden remains tireless in his search for new evidence, which he keeps in his overflowing house in Dallas. And he doesn’t hesitate to give a complete account as he sits at a small table on Dealey Plaza, the square where the murder took place, in plain sight of the Sixth Floor, which he refers to as the “cover-up museum.” Groden shocked millions of viewers in 1975 by showing the so-called Zapruder film on American TV, forcing Congress to reopen the case.

He still meets resistance on a daily basis from the authorities in his efforts to bring the truth to light, but he continues to pursue justice for the man whose death coincided with his own birthday. Director Kasper Verkaik treats the man and his solitary crusade with respect in this balanced portrait of a determined character who has paid a high price for his self-chosen mission, both as a husband and father.

Plaza Man is followed by book signing by Joseph McBride. See literature section

See calendar for more on both film and reading.