August 17th 2023: The Irish Film Institute (IFI) is delighted to present The Guinness Film Society Film Group Collection, a selection of films made in the late ’60s and early ’70s, free-to-view worldwide on the IFI Archive Player at www.ifiarchiveplayer.ie/guinness-film-group.

Set up in 1968, the Guinness Film Society Film Group was an amateur filmmaking group established when Mike Lawlor, then chairman of the Society, proposed its establishment to the committee. The GFS was one of a number of film societies bringing independent, European and auteur cinema to Irish audiences at that time. Lawlor addressed members of the newly established Film Group, inviting those with a passion for storytelling to work as a collective to explore the art of amateur filmmaking.

The Group completed four films in four years: Liffey Faces (1969), following the journey of a toy yacht down the river Liffey to Dublin Bay; Ciall Cheannaigh (1969), a fly-on-the-wall record of a day in the life in Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, the first suburban shopping centre in Ireland; The Birth of the Emerald Star Line (1970), a promotional film about a new Guinness subsidiary offering cabin cruisers for hire on the River Shannon, and Emerald Shannon (1971), following a family on their cruise along the river.

Speaking about presenting these films, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive Kasandra O’Connell said, ‘The IFI Irish Film Archive is pleased to make these newly restored titles from the Guinness Film Society Film Group available to the public online for the first time. The GFS Film Group Collection is a wonderful example of the small but thriving amateur filmmaking sector that existed in Ireland during the ’60s and ’70s, a time when professional production opportunities were few. While the quantity of films produced by the GFS Film Group may be limited in quantity, this does not detract from their technical achievement and narrative ambition.’

Core members of the Guinness Film Society Film Group included Guinness colleagues John Gleeson (editing and camera), Tony Corcoran (research and sound), as well as Mike Lawlor (producer) and Ries Hoek (director of photography), a Dutch commercial artist with an interest in filmmaking and a 16mm Bolex camera. Three of the Film Group films are now presented free-to-view worldwide on Ireland’s archival moving image library, the IFI Archive Player.

The Guinness Film Society Film Group Collection
Liffey Faces (1969)
Ciall Cheannaigh (1970)
Emerald Shannon (1971)

Free-to-view worldwide on the IFI Archive Player at www.ifiarchiveplayer.ie and via the IFI Archive Player suite of apps.

IFI is principally funded by the Arts Council.

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland