The 16th Irish Film Festival, Boston, which runs Thursday through March 13 at the Somerville Theatre, is particularly timely this year. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising insurrection by Irish republicans against British rule, the festival presents the New England premiere of “After ’16,” a program of nine short films commissioned by the Irish Film Board that reflect on the landmark events of 1916. The festival’s strong slate of features and documentaries includes two other programs of new Irish shorts, with some directors in attendance.
The festival opens with writer-director Mark Noonan’s debut feature, “You’re Ugly Too.” The film stars Aidan Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) as Will, who is released from prison to care for his 11-year-old niece (Lauren Kinsella) after the death of her mother. The two land in a trailer park, where they eventually bond with a kind Belgian teacher and her brusque Romanian husband.
Noonan, who will participate in a post-screening discussion, shot the film in the midlands of Ireland where he grew up. “There is an atmosphere of stillness and quiet amongst the sometimes striking landscapes, and a beautiful sense of melancholy in this region that is not captured onscreen very often. I feel these traits are also present in our two main characters, both of whom have sadness but also moments of great beauty in their lives,” he said in an e-mail to the Globe.
Noonan adds that his inspiration for the script came from an unlikely source. “I’ve always been a fan of buddy comedies such as ‘Lethal Weapon’ and Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘Paper Moon.’ So the idea of doing a modern day ‘Paper Moon,’ but setting it in Ireland, really appealed to me.”
“You’re Ugly Too” will screen with the short film “More Than God,” a comedy about a devout father surprised by revelations from his daughter and wife on the same day. Director Kev Cahill will be in attendance.
Other notable guests include Irish comedian and actor Pat Shortt, who on March 12 will introduce “Garage” (2007), directed by the Oscar-nominated Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”). It centers on Josie (Shortt), who’s spent 20 years as the caretaker of a crumbling petrol station in small-town Ireland. Shortt also stars in the accompanying comedic short film “Spaceman Three” (2008) by Hugh O ‘Connor.
A father-daughter theme is also at the heart of writer-director Simon Fitzmaurice’s 2014 film “My Name Is Emily” (screens March 12), about a girl who decides on her 16th birthday to break her troubled biological father out of a psychiatric institution. Festival director Dawn Morrissey calls it “a beautiful coming-of-age story set in contemporary Ireland.”
Blending contemporary visions with Irish history is one of the hallmarks of the festival. In honor of the Easter Rising centennial, there will be a screening on March 13 of “Michael Collins,” Neil Jordan’s 1996 biopic of the Irish revolutionary (Liam Neeson) who participated in the Easter Rising rebellion, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.
For more information go to www.irishfilmfestival.com.
Spotlight on Turkey
One of the notable films of 2015 was the Oscar-nominated “Mustang” from director Deniz Gamze Ergüven. It’s about five sisters who, driven by a desire for freedom, fight back against the limits imposed on them one summer in their village in Northern Turkey. “Mustang” is a highlight of the 15th Boston Turkish Film Festival, running March 17-April 3 at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Programmed by festival founder and director Erkut Gömülü, the lineup of contemporary Turkish films includes the opening film “Ivy” (“Sarmasik”), the second feature from Turkish filmmaker Tolga Karacelik (“Toll Booth”), who will attend the screening. Shot by Turkey’s top cinematographer, Gokhan Tiryaki (he photographed Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s acclaimed “Winter Sleep”), the film focuses on the tensions that erupt among the Turkish crew of a cargo ship when it becomes stranded off the coast of Egypt.
Director Çagan Irmak will be presented with this year’s Boston Turkish Film Festival Excellence in Turkish Cinema Award at a ceremony March 18, following the screening of his latest film, “A Unique Life.” It’s about a restless, middle-aged woman who enrolls at a university and ends up on an ocean voyage with a group of young adventurers.
Internationally acclaimed director Zeki Demirkubuz returns to the festival March 30 to screen his latest film, “Nausea,” about a philandering husband, Ahmet, whose wife and daughter die in an accident. As Ahmet develops an unusual relationship with his cleaning lady and her children, his emotions begin to rise to the surface.
For the love of film
The area film mavens who make up the Chlotrudis Society of Independent Film will hold their 22nd annual awards ceremony, the Trudies (formerly the Chlotrudis Awards), on March 20 at 5 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre. The public is invited to join Chlotrudis members and special guests as they honor their favorite independent, art house, and foreign films of 2015.
Save the date for the next silent film in the Somerville Theatre’s “Silents, Please” series. D.W. Griffith’s rarely-screened 1916 blockbuster “Intolerance,” with Jeff Rapsis’s live musical accompaniment, will fill the big screen on April 3 at 2 p.m. The 100-year-old film, widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of the silent era, is a 3½-hour epic that intercuts four parallel story lines, each separated by several centuries. The 35mm print comes courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For more information go to www.somervilletheatre.com.
Loren King can be reached at email@example.com.