Syracuse Hosts New Contemporary Irish Film Festival

The Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival (SCIFF) kicks off its inaugural festival, June 22- 24th, at the Everson Museum of Art, located at 401 Harrison St, Syracuse, NY 13202. 

Syracuse has always held strong to its Irish heritage, celebrating it throughout the generations. It marks the physical and psychological landscape of our city, defining who we are. From our one of a kind traffic light at Tipperary Hill, having one of the top ten St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, to the popularity of Irish names for business and restaurants, all say its “good to be Irish” in Syracuse.

It is the mission of SCIFF 2017 to reconnect and rediscover Ireland, and ourselves through Irish contemporary film. It is our goal to bring to the Syracuse area the best and brightest talents Irish cinema has to offer. Using this fascinating art form we can inspire conversations and create greater awareness of the vital work of organizations in our community. SCIFF firmly believes that where you create visibility, you also create avenues of agency. This year we are proud to support community partner, ACR Health and the Q Center- a safe space for LGBTQ youth of CNY.

In honor of our community partner, several of the films have thematic story lines connecting to the LGBTQ community, which has been a topic of conversation and creative inspiration in the Republic of Ireland, due to the 2015 ground breaking passing of the marriage equality vote. Currently, Ireland is the only nation to pass marriage equality by a popular vote, by a landslide majority. This thematic commitment to supporting our community partner extends to holding an Irish film festival in June which is PRIDE month. Support for ACR Health and the Q Center extends to a donation of proceeds from the film festival’s net tickets sales and a raffle on Opening Night, June 22.

Opening Night, Thursday, June 22, debuts the Syracuse premiere of Conor Horgan’s award winning documentary Queen of Ireland. The documentary tells a hilarious but touching true life tale of Panti Bliss, the drag queen persona of Rory O’Neill, who became the self-proclaimed “accidental activist” in the campaign to pass the Marriage Equality Referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Doors open at 6pm with a raffle to benefit ACR Health and The Q Center. Film starts at 7pm.
The festival holds its second night on Friday, June 23rd. A Date for Mad Mary, arriving at our region before its national cinema release, is a coming of age comedy. Featuring rising star, Seana Kerslake, as title character “Mad Mary”, who goes on a series of random dates attempting to find a suitable “plus one” for her best friend’s fast approaching nuptials. Doors open at 6pm, film start at 7pm.

Saturday, June 24, offers screenings at two separate times, an afternoon and evening screening.
An Afternoon of Irish Shorts, on Saturday, June 24th,features several short length films included two in the Irish and one with notable individuals on CNY discussing their Irish heritage. The screening will start at 2pm and takes place during open museum hours.

Final screening and festival closing film takes place Saturday, June 24. The showing is the big screen return of Alex Fegan’s award winning film, Older Than Ireland, which premiered last year at the Palace Theater. Older Than Ireland, is the highest grossing Irish documentary of all time and was partly filmed in Syracuse. The film stars 30 centenarians all born in Ireland before the 1916 Easter Uprising, which declared the Republic of Ireland as an independent nation. One of its stars is Syracuse’s own adopted daughter, Kathleen Snavely. Snavely immigrated to Syracuse from Feakle, Ireland and is the title holder of being oldest Irish born person on record, reaching 113+years. Charming, bittersweet and often humorous, this delightful documentary imparts wisdom that only a 100 plus years of life on this planet can offer. Doors will open at 6pm and the film will start at 7pm.

Ticket information: Tickets for the festival are $10 for each individual screening. A discounted “early bird” all festival pass is available for $30 for all 4 screenings, until May 31st. Tickets can be purchased online via the website at

For more information about the film festival, film trailers, for interviews and/or statements, please contact SCIFF founder and director, Micha L. Crook at

*This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.

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Tags: Arts, Drama, Film, Movies


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