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By Jillian DiNardo

In early February, I had the opportunity to attend Solas Nua’s Capital Irish Film Festival, a weekend event celebrating the unique culture of Irish cinema.

The festival began with a packed theater for Thursday night’s Gold, directed by Niall Heery. The adorably awkward comedy stars Maisie Williams (Arya Stark of Game of Thrones) as a sassy teen trying to adjust to her 12-years-absent father suddenly arriving in her life. This film is a true gem, bringing a subtle comedy to the serious issues of strained relationships. Leaving the audience smiling, Gold was a wonderful opening to the weekend. We also enjoyed a Q & A with the Niall Heery, the director and writer of the film.

Friday night brought two screenings: a documentary called A City Dreaming and the thriller An Bronntanas (The Gift). Mark McCauley’s A City Dreaming is a one of the most enthralling documentaries that I’ve ever seen. Narrated as a memoir, the film illustrates an intimate portrait of Derry, Ireland, a small town with an incredible history. The soundtrack, the narration, and the wealth of archive and home movie footage work together seamlessly to provide each viewer with a meaningful, personal experience.

The night broke from the reverie of A City Dreaming with Tom Collins’ An Bronntanas. The Irish submission for the Foreign Film Oscar, An Bronntanas surprises the audience with many unexpected twists. This was my first experience hearing a full film in the beautiful Irish language, and I enjoyed the film’s many shots of the picturesque landscape of Connemara. The film kept the audience on our toes and was an exciting end to the night.

I’m so grateful that I got to experience these films, and I want to thank Solas Nua for welcoming me into their culture. Go to the organization’s website to learn about future film events, like the Irish Popcorn! series.

Trailers for Gold and An Bronntanas.

 If you want to read more of my feelings on the first two films, check out my blog here.