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Irish Women in Cinema - Director's Panel Discussion

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Irish Cultural Centre

5 Black's Road

London

W6 9DT

United Kingdom

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Irish Women in Film in a changing Ireland and a changing World

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This special forum will be a unique gathering of all of the four legendary Irish women filmmakers Lelia Doolan, Margo Harkin, Aisling Walsh and Pat Murphy. They will discuss their work, the stories they tell, their roles as female directors, writers and producers in Ireland and on the International stage and how they see the future for women in film both in a changing Ireland and  as Irish female storytellers globally.

Aisling Walsh: Dublin born Aisling Walsh has written and directed many feature and television films as well as directing a number of highly acclaimed television serials. She has won over 25 international film and television awards. Her feature films include ‘Joyriders’ (1989): She wrote and directed the multi award-winning ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’(2003) which won Best Film at the Copenhagen International Film Festival; The Daisy Chain( 2008):  A Poet in New York,(2014)  which explored how the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas died in New York at the age of 39.  Her most recent feature film ‘Maudie’ (2016), about Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis,  premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.  The film was a New York Times Critic's Pick and was one of the biggest selling feature films in Canada, beating box office records; For ‘Maudie’, Walsh won a Canadian Screen Award  for ‘Best Director’,  along with a total of seven more awards. Walsh’s television work includes episodes of The Bill (1991–1994), Doctor Finlay (1993),  Roughnecks (1995), Trial & Retribution (1997–2002), the BAFTA TV Award-nominated Fingersmith (2005), ‘Sinners’(BBC) about Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries (2003), The Fifth Woman and  Room at the Top (2012), the latter of which earned her a BAFTA TV Award in 2013 for ‘Best Mini-Series’.  She was nominated for a BAFTA in 2011 for her direction on ‘Wallander’, starring Kenneth Branagh.  Aisling Walsh is one of Irelands most successful film directors on the International stage. She is known for her "unflinching honest portrayals of a Catholic Irish society".

Pat Murphy Film Artist in Residence at University College Cork, is one of Ireland’s most radical filmmakers. Born in Dublin, Murphy graduated from the Ulster College of Art and Design, followed by a BA in fine art at Hornsey College of Art and an MA in film and television from the Royal College of Art in London.  In 1977 she was the first European to achieve a scholarship year at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she completed her short film, ‘Rituals of Memory’. Her first feature film,  ‘Maeve’ (1981) was commended in The Irish Times  as being "Ireland's first bona-fide feminist film. For her second feature film, Anne Devlin, Murphy used the prison diaries of  the house keeper for the 19th  revolutionary Robert Emmet's, (Anne Devlin) to depict her life. The film represented Ireland at international festivals in Edinburgh, Moscow, Chicago, Toronto and London, where it received several awards. Murphy was a founder board member of the Filmbase in Dublin, which became a vital hub for Irelands up and coming film makers. In 1988 she wrote and co-directed the two-part documentary Sean MacBride. Her feature film was Nora (2000), a study of writer James Joyce's wife  Nora Barnacle, earned her The United International Pictures Director's Award along with several  Irish Film and Television Awards. In 2002, Murphy made her short film ‘What Mira Saw’ 2004. In 2006  her Irish language film "Ar lorg Sorcha" [Searching for Sorcha] about the sean-nos singer Sorcha Ni Ghuairim from Connemara,  was screened on TG4, the Irish language TV channel. In 2012, Murphy's three major films were included in The SundayTimes' list of the top 100 Irish films of all time. Murphy has taught film at Queen's University Belfast. She was on the Board of the Screen Directors' Guild of Ireland. She is an Associate Arts Professor at the New York University. Also at Tisch School of the Arts in Asia.. Pat Murphy is a member of Irish artists' group Aosdána, specially elected by the Government of Ireland. 

Margo Harkin was an original member of Field Day Theatre Company (formed in Derry in 1980 by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea.) After producing the banned documentary Mother Ireland in 1988, Harkin co-wrote and directed her first drama,

Hush-a-Bye Baby (1990), which won The Ecumenical Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival 1990. Her documentary ‘12 Days in July’ (1997) was a critically acclaimed account of the Drumcree dispute. ‘The Hunger Strike’, made for the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike, received record viewing figures when broadcast on the BBC. Over a twelve-year stretch from 1998 to 2010, Harkin filmed ‘Bloody Sunday-A Derry Diary’ following the Tribunal of Inquiry into Bloody Sunday from the perspective of local people in addition to addressing Harkin’s own experiences on Bloody Sunday. In a change of direction Harkin produced the feature documentary ‘Waveriders’ (2008) about surfing in Ireland. Her most recent documentary is ‘Eamonn McCann, A Long March’ (2018) about the election of the iconic civil rights activist to Stormont. Recently Margo was the first recipient of ‘The Docs Ireland Award’, Awarded by The Belfast Film Festival for outstanding contribution to Irish Documentary. .

‘Margo has blazed a trail in documentary film for women across a prolific 30 year career, She is a fearless trailblazer, known and admired across the Irish film industry. She continues to be a shining beacon of inspiration for the filmmaking community in Ireland and beyond. We are delighted and honoured to announce her as the first recipient of our award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Documentary.  BELFAST FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Lelia Doolan has been described as the godmother of independent film in Ireland. She began her career in RTE in the 1960’s with her ground-breaking work with the TV drama “The Roirdans” and the current affairs programme, “Seven Days”.  She went onto become RTE’s Head of Light Entertainment: she also was Artistic Director for the Abbey Theatre for a two year period. Following this she moved to Belfast to study at Queen’s University and while there she worked on community video projects.She also began teaching broadcast studies first at Rathmines College in Dublin where she established and was head of the first course in Film and Media Communications in Ireland. In 1987  she produced the award winning feature film ‘Reefer and The Model.’ In 1993 she was appointed Chair of The Irish Film Board. She was also Founder of The Galway Film Festival. In 2011 her award winning documentary  ‘Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey’  about Bernadette Devlin was screened at the BFI London Film Festival. 

Lelia has been a prominent defender of LGBT rights. She was recently involved in opposing both the Burren Interpretative Centre and the Corrib Gas pipeline. Having always been a fighter for women’s rights in Ireland, for equality and social justice, she was once described by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid as "mad, bad, and dangerous. Lelia lives in Kilcolgan near Galway where she tends a herb and vegetable garden.

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Irish Cultural Centre

5 Black's Road

London

W6 9DT

United Kingdom

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