Movie Hooley Redux

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Hollywood can’t make up its mind, whether to call it “Movie Hooley II” or “Son of Movie Hooley”.

But Barbara Scharres, program director of The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, and Irish American News columnist and radio personality Mike Houlihan, have announced  their plan to present the second annual “Irish American Movie Hooley” at the Siskel Film Center September 30, October 1& 2nd, 2016. Last year’s Hooley delighted Chicago’s Irish American community with a weekend of unique film premieres.

The 2nd “Hooley” will present a program of premieres of Irish-American films that include either an Irish-American theme or feature a script, director, or star with Irish or Irish-American roots. Houlihan said, “Once again we’re hoping to discover the next John Ford, Preston Sturges, or James Cagney, who epitomized the romantic Irish-American sense of identity, with a search for contemporary keepers of the flame of Irish-American pride, bravado, and legendary storytelling.”

A call for submissions went out in March for independent feature films that fit the criteria outlined further on the Hibernian Transmedia website. Houlihan is chairman of Hibernian Transmedia NFP, a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit producing organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Irish and Irish-American culture.

Sources behind the scenes have tipped us that the first film of the weekend, scheduled to premiere on Friday, Sept. 30th is Kevin Baggott’s unique and funny odyssey taking his mother’s ashes back to Ireland. “Beneath Disheveled Stars” is a tough adventure for Baggott, who plays the lead as well as directing this totally original story that walks a wobbly line between melancholy and zany. Baggott’s character, Bobby, a Brooklyn tenement super, has enough trouble surviving the wack job New York characters in his life until things quickly escalate to a mythical stage when he gets to Ireland and encounters Irish men and women of epic personalities.

Starring with Kevin Baggott in “Beneath Disheveled Stars” are Nicole Roderick, Vic Martino, Danny Gilfeather, and Ireland’s own Colin Martin. The film also features a terrific original score by Estelle Bajou that transports the audience to Ireland as well as an Ireland of the mind.

Are they just “having some fun with the yank”, or are their motives more sinister? In the best spirit of indie film, Baggott is also the cinematographer of this haunting and comic classic entry into the canon of great Irish American films. Chicago’s Irish audiences are going to love “Under Disheveled Stars”.

The Hooley continues their global search for two more Chicago premieres to screen the weekend of Sept. 30, Oct. 1st and 2nd. For info on how to submit your film, go to moviehooley.org

For more than 40 years, the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has presented world-class independent, international, and classic cinema. Renamed in honor of the late film critic in 2000, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents approximately 1,500 screenings and 100 guest artist appearances each year to over 65,000 film enthusiasts at its unique, sophisticated, modern facilities, which have been operating since June 2001 at 164 N. State Street in Chicago.

Irish Filmmakers Ciara Nic Chormaic and Paddy Hayes talk up their film NAME YOUR POISON with Mike Houlihan at the 1st Annual Irish American Movie Hooley.
Irish Filmmakers Ciara Nic Chormaic and Paddy Hayes talk up their film NAME YOUR POISON with Mike Houlihan at the 1st Annual Irish American Movie Hooley.

We at the Gene Siskel Film Center are pleased to once again team up with Hibernian Transmedia in a search for the latest and the best work by Irish American filmmakers.  The 2015 Irish American Movie Hooley played host to enthusiastic audiences eager to discuss the films.  It’s a great way to create community around the work and to provide a boost to emerging talent.  This is what our mission is all about.”, said Siskel Program Director Barbara Scharres.

Filmmakers across the country are encouraged to submit their films to the “Hooley”, which will screen the top three for their premieres Sept. 30-October 2nd.  “We welcome filmmaker submissions of Irish American narrative or documentary feature premieres.” For more info: moviehooley.org

Save the dates this fall for the return of the Irish American Movie Hooley and once again join the filmmakers and stars back at the Emerald Loop on Wabash for pints and some lively craic with your fellow Irish American movie fans.

So see you at the Siskel. It’s the only Irish American film festival in the world!