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Saturday, March 2 • 2:00 PM • T2 

Q&A with Director Margo Harkin and Producer Martha O'Neill moderated by Caitríona Palmer, Writer & Journalist

Documentary | East Coast Premiere | Woman Director, Writer & Producer 

Generously sponsored by Colette and Barry Breen

Acclaimed filmmaker Margo Harkin presents a harrowing and damning depiction of the state and church sanctioned incarceration of unmarried mothers in institutions run by Catholic nuns in Ireland, the thousands of deaths of babies born in these homes and the forcible removal of thousands of other children who were adopted or fostered out as cheap farm labor. STOLEN centers the survivors' voices and accounts of their experiences of cruelty and loss, and of happier outcomes in some cases, interwoven with historical analysis and artists' responses to what happened. Survivors expose the shocking details of their treatment in a scandal that sparked a government inquiry and their ongoing campaign for justice.


Director and Screenwriter: Margo Harkin

Producer: Martha O'Neill 

Cast: Marie Arbuckle, Joanne Neary, Michael O'Flaherty, Catriona Crowe, Noelle Brown

Ireland, 2023, color, 103 min. NOT RATED.


"How do you draw a line under so far reaching a national trauma as clerical and institutional abuse? You can’t, but what this landmark documentary about mother and baby homes showed, however, was that you can use the cinematic medium to transmit the reality in unmistakeable terms. STOLEN was so clear-eyed, so cannily crafted in its delivery (survivor testimony and analysis cut with stark in-situ readings of poetry and prose) that it immediately felt indispensable to our processing of these vast crimes. Truly essential filmmaking from Margo Harkin and her team.”–Hilary White, The Irish Independent, December 17, 2023

"Excellent. Elegant. A whispered epic."--The Irish Times

"Breathtaking... a must-see."--Belfast Media


"Altogether, this is a nearly immaculate, exemplary piece of documentary filmmaking." --The Guardian

 🎟 For further information regarding bookings: 
Please call 301-495-6720 between M-F, 9 AM - 5:30 PM or email

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Margo Harkin headshot

Margo Harkin, of Besom Productions, has been an award-winning filmmaker since 1984 when she co-founded the Channel 4 Workshop 'Derry Film & Video'. Her work spans many genres from documentary to feature film. Her award-winning titles have included the drama 'Hush-A-Bye Baby' along with feature documentaries, 'Bloody Sunday: A Derry Diary', 'Waveriders' and 'The Far Side of Revenge'.  In 2019 she received the 'Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Filmmaking' award from Docs Ireland. In 2020 her films, 'Hush-A-Bye Baby' and 'Waveriders,' were named among the 50 Best Irish films ever made by Irish Times critics Tara Brady and Donald Clarke. Margo was elected a member of Aosdána in 2020.

Martha ONeill

Martha O'Neill has worked in film and television production in many roles on films such as Da, Frankie Starlight, and Far and Away. She is a Communications graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology and has a Masters in Ethics from Dublin City University.

Alongside her freelance career, Martha remained actively involved with the structural and advocacy side of the media sector.  She served as Board member and Chair of the Irish Film Institute for over 5 years, and was appointed by the Minister for Arts to serve 4 years on the Irish Film Board. Other directorships include the boards of Screen Training Ireland and Moonstone International (Europe’s equivalent of Sundance). She was selected from the sector to be part of a panel of industry experts to review and advise the then Minister for Arts on incentives and strategy/policy issues. This resulted in the publication of The Kilkenny Report.

Caitriona Palmer updated headshot

Caitríona Palmer is the author of the bestselling memoir, An Affair with my Mother: A Story of Adoption, Secrecy and Love (Penguin, 2016). Her recent bestselling book, Climate Justice (Bloomsbury, 2018), co-written with former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Mary Robinson, was short-listed for the 2018 An Post Irish Book Awards non-fiction book of the year.  A writer, former journalist, and adopted person, Caitríona is a frequent commentator on the legacy of secrecy and shame generated by Ireland’s closed adoption system and state-financed institutions. Her commentary has appeared in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, and RTE radio, among others. She is also a senior writer and editor for the World Bank Group in Washington, DC.  A native of Dublin, Caitríona is a graduate of University College Dublin and Boston College where she was a Fulbright scholar.


“Women aren’t putting up with this shit anymore!” declares JoAnne Neary in ‘Stolen’. 

Like many of her country folk… like me, she is torn between loving the place where she belongs and fighting on its battlefields to her last breath.

Stolen exposes what happened when the building of a new world was conceived through the prism of a misogynistic, paternalistic theocracy, dominated by the Catholic Church in the 20th century. Women who became pregnant outside of marriage were judged devoid of morals, corralled to give birth in mother and baby institutions run by religious orders and declared unfit to raise their own children. 

Thousands of women and children survive to reveal the abuses they encountered. They are in the endgame of their lives, demanding to be heard after being ignored for decades. When it seemed that no-one would ever listen - they fought on. Their struggle is an act of determination, resilience and resistance. Headline snippets of sewage tank horrors and stolen babies are familiar to many – but who has heard the detail from the mouths of the people who lived it? Who knew that pregnant women were forcibly returned from England to Ireland to give birth to ‘catholic’ babies that were taken from them for adoption? Who knew that vaccination trials were conducted without parental permission on thousands of babies in mother and baby institutions? Who knew that 6-year-old children were boarded out from mother and baby institutions to sleep in sheds providing cheap or free farm labour until adulthood? The list is endless. The film gives a breathing space for the detail and impact of these stories. 

It was certain that I would do my utmost to enable their telling when surviving truth tellers began to emerge in force. In Martha O’Neill, of Wildfire Films, I found a producing partner with an equally stalwart conviction to overturn the shameful, historic treatment of women. We formed a strong, cross border collaboration. 

Ireland is finally in the real fight for self-determination.

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