Inside D.C. entertainment

Solas Nua launches season 6, Capital Irish Film Festival now country's largest

August 17, 2010 - 02:47 PM
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perrier's bounty
Someday I'll be so cool that I don't need to carry my own gun.

For years, the Capital Irish Film Festival played second fiddle (ha) to Boston's Irish Film Festival, but when last year's incarnation featured 60 films, including shorts, it earned the right to be called the largest in the nation. This year's sixth-annual CIFF (Dec. 2-11) is expanding its programming in other ways, too, by inviting Ireland's Darklight Festival to run workshops, retrospectives, and Q&A sessions relating to the convergence of art, film, and technology.

"It's going to give us something kind of unique about the festival," said its coordinator, Emma Madigan, at yesterday's Solas Nua launch party at The Fridge DC. "There's a very small Irish community here, so we can't depend on that. We have to make sure we're reaching out in any way to different groups." The lineup hasn't been finalized, but at least one high-profile film, Perrier's Bounty (starring Brendan Gleeson, Gabriel Byrne, and Cillian Murphy), has been confirmed.

(After the jump: another 10,000 free books, plus a concert in a shop window.)

On the literature front, Solas Nua will again celebrate "Irish book day," which also happens to be St. Patrick's Day, by giving away some 10,000 free books near the city's metro stations. "They think you're in a cult," says Dan Brick, Solas Nua's producing director, about last March's giveaway, "and then they say, 'Can I have five?'" (The books, all Irish, are donated by publishers.)

Musically, meanwhile, three acts have been announced. Julia Feeney, who's in town from Oct. 25-31, will perform several times that week — at the Gibson Guitar Room, an art gallery, and even behind a sealed shop window, with headphones available to passersby. Of the outfits in the following video, I wonder which one she'll wear. (I'm rooting for the final one, if only because I've never been to Amsterdam, and know I never will.)

Also coming are fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, in January —

— and Duke Special, who looks like the dude from Korn but sounds closer to Rufus Wainwright, in March.

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