It's slán for another year!
For the past 3 years, OFFline Film Festival in Birr had made plans for a festival that couldn’t be fully realised but it finally returned to full capacity and a full programme of events for the first time since 2019 from 12-16 October.
For the five days, Birr was treated to a variety of visual storytelling from the Irish language Tarrac by Offaly’s Eugene O’Brien and Declan Recks, to the critical darling An Cailín Ciúin to international documentaries The Hermit of Treig (screened in Ireland for the very first time) and The Territory.
Our Shorts Programme continued to go from strength to strength; 2022 saw the largest number of short films ever (over 400) submitted for consideration. Over 60 Irish and international shorts were screened over the weekend and filmmakers from Argentina, Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and all over Ireland were in the town for the festival.
At the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, the winners of Best Irish Short, Best International Short, Best Animation and the Audience Award were also announced. They were:
Best Irish Short
Snooze | Adam Collins
Best International Short
Fat Kathy | Julia Pelka | Poland
Cost of Curiosity | Ireland | Rachel Fitzgerald
Candle Cops | UK | Tony Collingwood
Special events this year saw the return of the much-loved Fright Night with a trip to Kinnitty Castle and the Food & Film event which featured one of most-talked about films of the year Blackbird from Michael Flatley in The Chestnut Garden.
Made in the Midlands
The ‘Made In Midlands’ showcase also drew a great crowd last Thursday night with films shot in Offaly, made by Offaly filmmakers and made by those with an Offaly connection screening at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre. It also included the world premiere of WHALE filmed in Birr in 2021 and funded by FilmOffaly.
Films by Birr residents Jackie Lynch, Rowena Keaveny and Fiona Breen were also on the bill.
Educational Screenings & Mini Movies
The OFFline Educational Screenings in partnership with Irish Film Institute Schools were a huge hit this year. Over 450 students from all over the Midlands enjoyed King (French) and The Path (German) at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and the festival also hosted an additional screening of opening night film, Tarrac, due to demand.
Offaly County Council Arts Council also presented Mini Movies again this year. The screening featured a series of short stop-motion animations by students of Banagher College, St Rynaghs National School and St Mary’s National School in Cloghan created with the help of facilitator Julie Forrester.