Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world and, with an Irish community of over a quarter of a million people, the Ontario capital is the perfect place for a film festival showcasing the best films about the Emerald Isle along with work by Irish or Canadian Irish filmmakers.
Created in April 2009 by Belfast-born Michael Barry and son of a Belfast ex-pat John Galway, two vastly experienced creatives from the Canadian film and television industry, the Toronto Irish Film Festival (TIRFF) had one goal: to celebrate and provide a platform for the finest Irish cinema has to offer. The aim was to spread the message far and wide to the Greater Toronto Irish community and, further still, the Canadian film-going public in general: that Irish cinema is as vibrant, diverse and wonderful as the country which inspires it.
That Barry and Galway have been successful is undeniable – TIRFF is now in its fifth year and is unique in that it is the only Irish film festival in the Greater Toronto area, with a curated program of screenings designed to allow Canadian Irish ex-pats to connect with the rich culture and language of the old country. Since 2010, screenings have been routinely sold out, and 2014’s cinematic carnival saw eleven films receive their Canadian premiere at TIRFF, including the brilliant documentary ‘The Irish Pub’, with director Alex Fegan taking part in a post-screening Q&A. As well as a raft of other features, docs and shorts helping to create a bustling, packed three day event, the most recent festival saw the grand premiere of the first two episodes of season two of ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘IT Crowd’ alumnus Chris O’Dowd’s hit series ‘Moon Boy’.
The Toronto Irish Film Festival 2015 runs from March 6th to 8th – ideal in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th – at the renowned TIFF Bell Lightbox in the city, and promises to contain yet another program showing off the best and brightest films and artists from the land of Eire. 2015 is their fifth anniversary, so as the organisers say: ‘be a part of it.’