Ireland meets Louisiana this weekend for the 13th Annual Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival. The festival will include a day of showings on Saturday, Aug. 12, and the celebration will continue on Monday, Aug. 14, for Pub Night at Phil Brady’s Bar & Grill.
Hosted by the Baton Rouge Irish Club since 2009, movie buffs and Ireland lovers can enjoy international films without traveling too far from home. According to BRIFF’s website, the festival “showcases Irish talent, promotes cultural diversity and encourages collaboration between individuals and businesses in Louisiana and Ireland.”
The film fest returns to Celtic Studios for its second time this year with the goal of selling out and bringing Irish stories to Baton Rouge. Organizers moved the event from Manship Theatre to Celtic in 2022, which was the festival’s first year back after the pandemic.
In recent years, the festival also shifted to focus on short film viewings, which allows attendees to take in more content during the festival. Kevin O’Neil BRIFF co-chair and executive director of marketing and operations at Celtic Studios, says the change has brought more attention to the festival.
“The festival did start as a full-feature festival where they would run features all day Saturday and all day Sunday,” O’Neil says. “But, then they started doing shorts, and then the shorts started getting more attention…Now, what it’s morphed into is a shorts Irish Film Festival with shorts that are Irish-based, Irish-made or about Ireland.”
This year BRIFF will feature matinee and evening showings of short film compilations along with a showing of one full-length feature.
To select the films, BRIFF organizers first call for submissions. From there, committee members view and rate each submission before landing on a list of about 8 to 12 films to show over the weekend. This year’s hand-picked lineup includes dramas, comedies, documentaries and more.
Attendees will be able to vote on their favorite shorts and the film with the most votes will be awarded the O’Kalem Award, which was launched in 2013 when the shorts were becoming more popular during the annual showings. The award is handmade by local glass and wood artists each year. The wood base is made to represent the festival’s Louisiana roots while the emerald glass flame represents the artistic talent found in Irish film.
The festivities conclude on Monday, Aug. 14, with Pub Night at Phil Brady’s Bar & Grill. Pub Night will feature a showing of the 1998 film Waking Ned Devine and will coincide with Phil Brady’s weekly $1 Burger Night.
You can still purchase tickets to the festival’s events on Saturday, Aug. 12, but seating is limited. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. The BRIFF schedule and list of short films is listed below.
Saturday, Aug. 12
Matineé Shorts Screening
2–3 p.m. Hour 1 Shorts
3–3:15 p.m. Intermission
3:15–4:15 p.m. Hour 2 Shorts
5–6:30 p.m. Featured film, The Quiet Girl
Evening Shorts Screening
7–8 p.m. Hour 1 Shorts
8–8:15 p.m. Intermission
8:15–9:15 p.m. Hour 2 Shorts
Nothing to Declare
Dead Man No Good