Wicklow Film Festival 2017 – Fri 8th to Sun 10th Sept 2017

Mermaid Arts Centre puts social justice on the big screen with a festival of Irish and international films that shine a light on both inequality and our ability to triumph over the challenges of the modern world.

Taking place between Friday 8th and Sunday 10th September 2017, each of the seven films programmed in this, the second Wicklow Film Festival, will be accompanied by post-screening discussions lead by film makers and social commentators.

This year’s festival is a collaboration between Mermaid and Outpost Studios, a Wicklow-based visual artist’s studio workspace. As an artist and member of Outpost Studios, Raine Hozier Byrne led the selection of films along with her son, writer/director Jon Hozier Byrne and visual artist Eleanor Philips. This year the screenings will feature some daring deconstructions of gender inequality, racism, and poverty. Each film will be accompanied by engaging post-film discussions with filmmakers, experts, and activists.

The power of film, at its best, confronts us with truth and challenges our perceptions, and in doing so, can become an agent for change. Never has there been a social and cultural climate more in need of this quality. I truly believe in the transformative power of art; while watching these films I have been entertained and humbled at the artistic vision that let me inhabit the world from another’s point of view, if only for a short time.” — Raine Hozier Byrne, Outpost Studios.

The festival is a part of Mermaid’s mission to promote the arts for all, and their belief that through film, theatre, music, storytelling etc. we can find meaning and broaden our minds. All screenings will take place at Mermaid Arts Centre.

With the glamour of the film industry, it’s easy to be distracted and forget the intense power of film. Film holds the possibility not just to transport us to other worlds but also to have an intensely transformative effect. Almost all of us have seen a film that fundamentally changed and altered our outlook and opinions. Films tell us a story, but it can be those stories that shed light on issues, narrate history, expose injustices and initiate social change” – Niamh O’Donnell, Artistic Director Mermaid Arts Centre

Download the festival guide here. You can book tickets here or call the Box Office: 01 2724030.


Film Festival Line up


MACHINESDebutant director Rahul Jain displays a combination of artistic vision and social conscience giving a glimpse into the heavily guarded world of sweatshops in India.

12.00pm | Duration: 71 mins

Post-film discussion with speakers including Caelainn Hogan, Writer for the New York Times.

SANCTUARYSet in the world of people with intellectual disabilities and garnering universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, Sanctuary is a touching and funny love story about Larry and Sophie, two people who long to be together in a world that does everything to keep them apart.

7.00pm | Duration: 90 mins

Post-film discussion with Len Collin, Director & Christian O’Reilly, Screenwriter.


TWICE SHYDirected by Tom Ryan, Twice Shy is a coming of age story about a young, unmarried couple who embark on a road trip from Ireland to London, as the result of an unplanned pregnancy.

1.00pm | 81 mins

Post-film discussion with speakers including Anna Cosgrave, Founder of Repeal Project

DO NOT RESISTDirector Craig Atkinson’s documentary is an account of the increasing use of force by law enforcement in the United States, counterpointed with civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014

4.00pm | 72 mins

Post-film discussion with speakers including Prof. Diane Negra, Head of UCD Film Department

PILGRIMAGEDirector Brendan Muldowney creates an extraordinary period drama crossed with action-laced road movie. Travelling through a 13th-century Irish countryside filled with warring clans and Norman conquerors, monks bring their land’s most sacred relic to Rome. Religious fervour and the savagery of man are the profound lessons learned.

7.00pm | 96 mins

Post-film discussion with Brendan Muldowney, Director & Jamie Hannigan, Screenwriter.


EAT YOUR CHILDRENEat Your Children is a road-trip quest by two friends who emigrated from Ireland during the financial crash of 2008 and who have now returned to probe Ireland’s so-called acceptance of debt and austerity.

1.00pm | 78 mins

Post-film discussion with speakers including Treasa O’Brien, Director.

THE CRYING GAMEWe are proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this exceptional Oscar-winning thriller, directed and written by Neil Jordan. This extraordinary film explores themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

4.00pm | 112 mins

Post-film discussion with speakers including Paddy Breathnach, Filmmaker.


Jon Hozier Byrne

Writer/director Jon Hozier-Byrne graduated from University College Dublin with a BA and MA in Film Studies. Having premiered his debut film, The Omega Male, at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Hozier Byrne spent a number of years teaching Film at University College Dublin and most recently he has established his own company, Stoneface Films.

Raine Hozier Byrne graduated with a BA (Hons) from IADT and an MA in fine art painting from NCAD and she is the recipient of many awards, having exhibited in New York, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In her work Raine explores subjectivity, identity, mass reproduction and epistemology and her recent series of paintings are an examination of the nature of the image, the notion of subjective perspective and the contemporary sublime.

Eleanor Phillips studied Fine Art in NCAD before receiving a H.Dip in Community Arts Education from NCAD and an MA Art in Public from Ulster University Belfast. In her practice, Eleanor works within a collective framework where outcomes are informed by the process that takes place through conversation and exploration with others.


MACHINES – Caelainn Hogan, writer for the New York Times

SANCTUARY – Len Collin, Director and Christian O’Reilly, Screenwriter

TWICE SHY – Anna Cosgrave, Founder of Repeal Project

DO NOT RESIST – Prof. Diane Negra, Head of UCD Film Department

PILGRIMAGE – Brendan Muldowney, Director and Jamie Hannigan, Screenwriter

EAT YOUR CHILDREN – Treasa O’Brien, Director

THE CRYING GAME – Paddy Breathnach, Filmmaker




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