IRISH SCREEN AMERICA'S Inaugural Film Fest Sells Out Opening Ceremonies

The inaugural Irish Screen America (ISA) Film Festivals that took place recently in Los Angeles and New York sold out its opening ceremonies, screenings and events attracting more 3,000 attendees over the duration of the programs. Launched in 2015, ISA is an organization created to seek out and promote influential and emerging Irish talent to the U.S. and showcase the very best of contemporary Irish film, TV, animation, video games and interactive media.

The festival's Executive Director and Curator, Kilmacanogue native and Emmy-winning producer/director Niall McKay and Deputy Directors Clodagh Bowyer and Marissa Aroy welcomed guests on both coasts to the festivals which came to a close in New York on Monday, October 5.

Niall McKay said, "This year, we were able to showcase over 13 films to over three thousand people in both New York and Los Angeles and introduce our participating filmmakers to important industry professionals. Of course, none of this could happen if they weren't making beautiful films that we are able to showcase. It's really a great time for Irish filmmaking. It was also really gratifying to see that many of the projects from our local Irish program in New York, such as "You Are Beautiful," "Creativity Requires Courage," and "On the Lig," sprung out of the relationships created at the prior editions of the festivals."

To launch ISA/NY's festival, an exclusive cocktail reception took place at the elegant residence in Manhattan of the New York Irish Consul General, Barbara Jones, who commented, "Traditionally in Ireland the word "Meitheal" was used to describe the village coming together to bring in the harvest. Niall is asking us rightly, to come together to promote this wonderful harvest of new Irish film talent for audiences in the US and I would ask everyone to help him in this important work."

Irish writer/directors Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy were on hand in both Los Angeles and New York to introduce guests to their confident, timely, Opening Night thriller TRADERS. Also attending ISA's festivities, either presenting their films or participating in programs were breakthrough LA-based Irish directors Fergal Reilly (ANGRY BIRDS), Ruairi Robinson (LAST DAY ON MARS), Gary Shore (DRACULA UNTOLD); actors Peter O'Meara (TRADERS, RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION), Kevin J. Ryan (PADDY'S IN THE BOOT, COPPERS), Dónall Ó Héalaí (TRADERS, SÍNTE), Glenn Keogh (LUCKY ME BOLLIX, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION), Wallis Murphy Munn (SANDBOY); and short film directors Vittoria Colonna (SANDBOY), Marcus FOX (LUCKY ME BOLLIX), Kevin Shulman (PADDY'S IN THE BOOT) Andrew Baird (BREAKING THROUGH) Liam Hallihan (MARTIN'S LIFE); and Masterclass Instructors director Cathy Brady (MORNING, WASTED), and Oscar®-nominated screenwriter and director Naomi Sheridan, amongst others.

Other festival guests included Barbara Jones - Consul General of Ireland in New York and Kevin Byrne - Irish Vice Consul of Ireland in San Francisco; producers Jonathan Loughran and Gabrielle Kelly; former Miss Ireland and RTÉ presenter, actress Olivia Tracey; Bernadette O'Neill; Rachel Rath; Kevin Marron; Johnnie A O'Callaghan; Jasmine Jaisinghani (AFI, IFFLA); Catherine Siggins; Siobhan Flynn; Tara Halloran (SVP British Film Commission); Lisa McLaughlin-Strassman; Pascal Ladreyt (ELMA); Joan Burney Keatings (Cinemagic); poet Maureen Grady and Daniel Nyiri.

ISA presented an award at the Los Angeles Opening Night Reception to "outstanding new filmmakers & influential and emerging Irish talent". Recipients of the 2015 ISA Rising Talent Award were Rachael Moriarty, Peter Murphy, Barry Keoghan, Liam Hallihan, Cathy Brady, Laura McGee, Naomi Sheridan and Dónall Ó Héalaí. The awards were presented to the filmmakers by Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) who said "'What we have witnessed this weekend is the extraordinary breadth of Irish talent both living and working in the US and Ireland - Irish Screen America is an incredible platform to share stories and at the same time have a lot of fun. Thank you to Niall and the ISA team - we know the hard work they put in and we wish ISA every success in building on an amazing launch."

Highlights of the combined program included Daisy Asquith's documentary "After the Dance," the Sundance Award-winning, IFTA-nominated "Glassland," Frank Berry's "I Used to Live Here," the shorts program including "Wasted" by Cathy Brady, Liam Halihan's super funny animation "Martin's Life" and the premiere screening of Niall McKay and Marissa Aroy's "On the Lig".

The programs included a highly successful, sold out panel discussion entitled "Stories From the Field" with directors Ruairi Robinson ("Last Day on Mars"), Fergal Reilly ("Angry Birds") and Gary Shore ("Dracula Untold") in Los Angeles and packed out master classes from Academy Award® nominated screenwriter, Naomi Sheridan in Los Angeles and IFTA-award-winning director Cathy Brady in New York.

ISA's film festival roadshow will continue to take place annually in the fall in Los Angeles and New York featuring contemporary and critically-acclaimed Irish feature films and documentaries, New Irish Talent Showcases (shorts, web shows, animation and games), a selection of filmmaker Q&A's, master classes, industry panel discussions and filmmaker receptions.


The 2015 ISA Film Festivals in LA & NY are co-presented by USC School of Cinematic Arts and NYU's Glucksman Ireland House. The Irish Film Board (Bord Scannán na hÉireann), Ireland's national film agency is a sponsor of ISA. Sponsors also include Culture Ireland, Tourism Ireland, The Consulate General of Ireland - San Francisco & New York, Media Factory, Grant Thornton, The Irish Film Institute and Radisson at USC.


Irish Screen America seeks out and promotes new Irish talent and showcases the very best of contemporary Irish film, TV, animation, video games and interactive media in the United States.

The organization's mandate includes helping new talent find markets and finance, assisting Irish games companies, studios, post-production, special effects houses and production companies enter the U.S. market, facilitating the distribution and exhibition of select Irish films and building a cooperative network of US-based Irish media professionals.

Irish Screen America receives funding support from government and corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and its consultancy services.

Executive Director/Curator Niall McKay is a New York-based Emmy award-winning independent producer and director who hails from Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow, Ireland, and who created this new venture out of the multi city film festivals that he previously founded and produced including Irish Film New York, San Francisco Irish Film Festival (co-founded by Emer Martin) and Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (co-founded by Lisa McLaughlin-Strassman).