Wicklow Film Festival 2018

Wicklow Film Festival is back at Mermaid Arts Centre for a weekend of screenings and discussions between September 21st and 23rd 2018. Now in its third year, this community film festival has gone from strength to strength, engaging local people in the selection of films that shine a light on some of the most relevant social issues impacting Ireland today.

This year’s festival is a collaboration between Mermaid and Bray-based filmmaking collective, No WiFi (North Wicklow Films). As founding members of No WiFi, David Butler and Gerry Cannon led the selection of films under the theme of ‘Ireland, Past and Present’. The films making up the 2018 programme are socially-minded but at the same time hugely entertaining explorations of a country that has changed almost beyond recognition over the last 100 years. Each film will be accompanied by engaging post-film discussions with filmmakers and social commentators.

Like no other medium, the feature film has the power to take us right into the heart of an issue and to experience the full panoply of emotions involved, all within the space of an hour and a half! A film fails if it is simply a vehicle for a message. All the films curated here win us by their power to engage, to entertain and to provoke thought, and I’d heartily recommend them to anyone with an interest in our changing society.” – David Butler, No Wifi

Screenings will include CITIZEN LANE, a docu-drama examining the troubled life of Irish art collector Hugh Lane; PHILOMENA, a harrowing, true account of the devastating effects of forcibly removing children from unmarried mothers; DUBLIN OLDSCHOOL, a thought provoking examination of addiction and homelessness against the backdrop of a romp through the Dublin rave scene; MICHAEL INSIDE, an exploration of the effects of incarceration; THE BREADWINNER, an Oscar-nominated animation from Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon; and SHOT IN WICKLOW, a selection of film-shorts shot in Wicklow.

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

No Wifi (North Wicklow Films) is a Bray-based collective of film-makers, actors and enthusiasts whose aim is to hone their skills at film-making. Founded in late 2016, they have made more than thirty films over the last twenty months, a number of which have been screened at the Mermaid Arts Centre as part of an ongoing ‘First Mondays’ collaboration, and at the Whale Theatre, Greystones. For more information visit www.nowifi.ie 

To book ticekts for the Film Festival please visit: https://www.mermaidartscentre.ie/whats-on/events/category/wicklow-film-festival.

Film Festival Line up


THE BREADWINNER11.00am (School Screening) & 5.00pm (Culture Night Screening)

In celebration of Culture Night, come along to a screening of The Breadwinner. Based on Deborah Ellis’ award-winning novel, director Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner tells the extraordinary story of an 11-year-old Afghan girl who finds strength in the love of her family and the power of storytelling. This is the third Oscar-nominated film from Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea).

MICHAEL INSIDE– 7.30pm | Post-film discussion with the film’s Director, Frank Berry

Having announced himself as a storyteller of rare sensitivity with his previous film I Used to Live Here, Frank Berry brings something of a documentarian’s rigour to the tale of Michael, a luckless 18-year-old who is misfortunate to be sent to prison. Vulnerable and alone, Michael is taken under the wing of a score-settling older prisoner (a quietly unhinged performance by Moe Dunford). With not a hint of a soapbox and with deep humanity, Berry portrays a penal system that extends beyond the prison walls. Winner – Best Irish Feature, Galway Film Fleadh, 2017.


CITIZEN LANE – 2.00pm | Post-film discussion with the film’s Writer, Mark O’Halloran

A multifaceted portrait of the art collector and gallery founder Sir Hugh Lane, this hybrid docu-drama boasts a standout performance from Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Cleverly scripted by Mark O’Halloran, Lane combines careful reconstructions with insightful observations from contributors Roy Foster, Paul Rouse and Morna O’Neill. Charting Lane’s obsession in making his collection of impressionist painting accessible to every class of society, the film expertly locates Lane’s dream of a National Gallery open to all, within the political and social dilemmas of the time. “…A must-see for those with even a passing interest in the arts in Ireland.” – RTE.ie


Shot in Wicklow will be a screening of short films shot entirely or partially in Co. Wicklow. Amongst those receiving their Irish Premiere will be Remains by writer/ director Ian Campbell and featuring actor Niall Tóibín who came out of retirement for this shoot. Sinéad O’Loughlin’s Homecoming featured earlier this year on RTE2’s Shortscreen series will also be on view. The programme will also include some new work from the award winning Bray based film group NoWiFI (North Wicklow Filmmakers).

DUBLIN OLDSCHOOL– 7.30pm | Post-film discussion with the film’s Director, Dave Tynan

Wannabe DJ Jason (Emmet Kirwan) is preparing for a long weekend of parties in Dublin. As he fuels himself with drink and drugs, Jason is shocked to bump into his estranged, homeless brother Daniel (Ian Lloyd Anderson) – a smart but troubled heroin addict. As he struggles to reconnect with Daniel, Jason is forced to come to terms with the consequences of his own lifestyle. Adapted from Emmet Kirwan’s own play, Dublin Oldschool buzzes with energy. Featuring some of Ireland’s most talented young actors, this is one session you won’t want to miss.


PHILOMENA– 4.00pm | Post-film discussion with celebrated poet, Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Philomena (Judi Dench) has spent her life dreaming of and mourning her newborn son whom she was forced to give up for adoption as a young unmarried Irish woman. Philomena with the aid of a BBC reporter (Steve Coogan) sets out on a quest for the truth which takes her to Ireland and America. Philomena is an amazing true story filled with great swings of emotion. Winner – Best Adapted Screenplay, BAFTAs (2014), Winner – Best International Film, IFTAs (2014).

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