Irish Film Institute -FIRST FORTNIGHT 2023


First Fortnight returns in January 2023, tickets on sale now.


Gordon is a Scottish comic book artist with a big bushy beard, very expressive eyebrows – oh, and an inoperable, incurable brain tumour. By making autobiographical comics about his experience, he is able to communicate his thoughts and reactions to cancer in a medium and a language that is disarming, accessible and inviting.

Through intimately captured observational footage and video diary, stylised key interviews and animations created from Gordon’s comic illustrations, Long Live My Happy Head immerses the audience in Gordon’s world, and reveals how art, love and a sense of humour can soothe our deepest fears of mortality and losing the people we care most about.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Austen McCowan.

EMPIRE OF LIGHT (introduced by Maria Fleming, CEO of First Fortnight, MON 9th, 18.20)

The year is 1981: Hilary (Olivia Colman) is a manager at the Empire cinema, a beautiful, if fading, Art Deco picture palace on the Margate coast, managed by the pompous Mr Ellis (Colin Firth), with whom she is having a toxic, clandestine sexual relationship. A glimmer of light enters her unhappy life in the unlikely figure of new usher Stephen (Michael Ward), a handsome young Black man who awakens a long repressed passion in this lonesome, single, middle-aged woman, whom we learn has recently spent time in a psychiatric facility for recurring depression. They bond immediately, but their burgeoning relationship is challenged by Hilary’s unstable mental health and the rampant racism Stephen is forced to endure on the streets of ‘80s Britain. The two must face the reality that, like the Empire cinema, their relationship cannot last forever.

The screening on Monday 9th (18.20) will be introduced by Maria Fleming of First Fortnight.


The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland