April 23rd 2019: The Irish Film Institute (IFI) is delighted to announce a season dedicated to the work of acclaimed Irish filmmaker Trish McAdam, which will run from May 7th to 25th. The season opens with her newest film Confinement, which recently premiered at the Dublin International Film Festival, and will continue with a comprehensive programme of McAdam’s engaging and varied body of work.

Since production of her early shorts in the 1980s, Trish McAdam has embraced a range of forms and subjects, retaining a distinct, independent voice. McAdam became interested in filmmaking after working in New York with photographer Nan Goldin and Super 8 filmmaker Vivienne Dick, before going on to co-found the hugely influential Ha’penny Film Club. Her 1997 debut feature, Snakes and Ladders, was one of the first Irish films directed by a woman about contemporary women’s lives.

Commenting on the programme, IFI Head of Irish Film Programming Sunniva O’Flynn said, ‘This catalogue of work, made over 30 years, is presented in energetic programmes where short, formally-experimental pieces complement more traditional feature works. McAdam is passionate about her subjects and she serves them with intelligence, humour and meticulous craft.’

Speaking about her collected body of work, Trish McAdam said, ‘I was inspired to become a filmmaker on a long visit to New York in 1979-1980, where I witnessed the energy of the artists in the East Village, making work about themselves for themselves, exhibiting in their own flats, bars and clubs. I found that a very empowering concept, art as a kind of local dialect. My first work was a slide show about New York, which I showed in bars and clubs in Dublin. Ever since, I have been drawn to share the experiences of people I come across, dead or alive, real or imagined, with inner passion, with doubt, and with curious and questioning minds, about how they deal with events, circumstances that are of their own place and time.’

The season opens on Tuesday 7th with screenings of McAdam’s latest works Confinement and Strangers to Kindness. Using motion graphics, live footage and charcoal drawings of patients from rarely-seen 19th century photographs from the National Archives, Confinement explores changes in social control, mental asylums and rehabilitation, from Henrietta Street to Grangegorman, narrated by the imagined words of late artist Tony Rudenko (voiced by Aidan Gillen); the film includes music composed by Roger Doyle.

Strangers to Kindness is a playful re-imagining of a 1980s trip McAdam took to the US. Featuring actress Meghan Healy and music by Vyvienne Long, this timely film focuses on a young woman who accepts a lift from a stranger to a party that does not exist. The event on Tuesday 7th will include a conversation between McAdam and filmmaker Dean Kavanagh.

Thursday 9th brings a second double-bill with screenings of McAdam’s intimate hour-long 2008 documentary What Am I Doing Here? Centring on actor, writer and political activist Donal O’Kelly as he took his new play Vive La on the road, his initial enthusiasm wanes as the show attracts small audiences following lacklustre reviews. The film will screen with Berlin, an essay piece looking at the German capital in the months following the fall of the Wall as the country headed into reunification.

Hoodwinked, screening on Saturday 11th, sees McAdam reclaim Irish women from generations of obscurity through a prism of notable events including the War of Independence, the Mother and Child Scheme, Northern Ireland and the battle for civil rights, and the invasion of the Forty Foot; the film features contributions from over 30 notable figures including Garry Hynes, Sinéad O’Connor, Leland Bardwell, Catríona Crowe and Mary O’Rourke. Hoodwinked will screen alongside two short films created to raise awareness of the plight of the late Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia.

The season’s final double-bill on Tuesday 21st will feature Flirting with the Light, McAdam’s 2002 documentary following musician Leo O’Kelly as he embarks on recording his first solo album in 25 years, Glare. The film documents the inevitable tensions that arise among creatives and captures the moments of genuine elation when visions are shared. The film will screen alongside The Drip, a comical short starring and co-written by Jack Lynch about the catastrophic effects of a night’s drinking.

The season will close on Saturday 25th with a 35mm screening of McAdam’s 1997 debut feature Snakes and Ladders starring Pom Boyd, Gina Moxley, Rosaleen Linehan and the late Sean Hughes. The city of Dublin provides the stage for street performers Jean (Boyd) and Kate (Moxley), while the vibrant music scene of 1990s Dublin and a rousing score by Pierce Turner provide the soundtrack; McAdam has aptly described the film as a ‘funny drama and a serious comedy’.

Tickets for the Trish McAdam season are now here and from the IFI Box Office on 01-6793477.

For more information, images, and interview access to footage, please contact Aisling O’Halloran at the IFI Press Office at 01-6795744 or at

The IFI acknowledges the support of the Arts Council.

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland