CIFF2024 | That's A Wrap!

CIFF24 opening night marquee
📷 Ryan Maxwell.

The 2024 Solas Nua Capital Irish Film Festival presented in partnership with AFI Silver was a resounding success. The 18th edition of the festival was the largest, most ambitious, and most successful to date - with 37 titles including 20 shorts and 17 features, 14 women directors and 18 women screenwriters, 9 regional premieres and 3 US premieres, 6 feature debuts, 13 visiting artists, along with 7 Q&A events and audience talkbacks! The festival included the presentation of the 2024 Norman Houston Short Film Award and the announcement of the 2024 Audience Awards. The festival also featured Academy Award winners and family programming, as well as 3 gala screening receptions with visiting dignitaries and special guests! Thanks to unprecedented audience participation and turnout, we had sold-out screenings, fascinating, thought-provoking conversations, lively discussions, and the most positive and engaging feedback across all four days of the festival.

Opening Night Gala

Highlights included the opening night gala screening of Lisa Mulcahy's critically acclaimed LIES WE TELL in the AFI Silver Theatre. Guest of honor, Deputy Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Orla Keane, welcomed 350 festival goers including dignitaries and special guests from the Irish-American community in Washington, DC. Guest artists, director Lisa Mulcahy and writer Elisabeth Gooch, joined us for an engrossing Q&A with Professor Sky Sitney of the Film and Media Studies Program at Georgetown University and Co-Founder & Festival Director, DC/DOX. Guests were invited to a post-screening reception sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, designed by Kevin Taylor Events and catered by The Henri DC. 

ciff24 audience in theatre opening night
LIES WE TELL artists and ciff staff/board
LIES WE TELL artists and ciff staff
LIES WE TELL artists with Maedhbh Mc Cullagh
wide shot opening night theatre ciff24
ciff24 opening night volunteers
solas staff and board opening night ciff24
ciff24 LIES WE TELL artists and moderator at Q&A
LIES WE TELL speaking on stage
LIES WE TELL theatre side angle shot ciff24 opening night

Northern Ireland Film Focus & Norman Houston Award

As part of the Capital Irish Film Festival's continued focus on Northern Ireland, 10 films from Northern Ireland or by Northern Ireland Filmmakers screened across the festival. On Friday, March 1st, Solas Nua presented the third annual presentation of the Norman Houston Short Film Award to writer and director Keith O'Grady for his powerful short film THE SILENT PEOPLE; both Keith and lead actor Abby Oliveira traveled from Northern Ireland to attend the ceremony. Guest of honor, Andrew Elliott, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau, North America, gave a welcome address and Solas Nua board member, Kate Meenan Waugh, a friend of Norman Houston, spoke about Norman, his legacy, and presented the award. THE SILENT PEOPLE was produced by Northern Ireland-based film charity Cinemagic and US board member Sharon Harroun-Peirce spoke about Norman's support for the company and the impact of the award. THE SILENT PEOPLE was screened in a double bill with Derry director John Carlin's award-winning feature debut LIE OF THE LAND, and was followed by an in-person post-screening Q&A with the filmmakers moderated by Aideen Gilmore, board of Irish Network DC. All guests were invited to a special drinks and dessert reception afterward at AFI sponsored by the Northern Ireland Bureau, designed by Kevin Taylor Events, and catered by The Henri DC. Guests also gathered for a toast in Norman Houston’s memory.

NHA24 winner Keith O'Grady and actor Abby Oliveira
NHA winners, staff and Andrew Elliott
NHA winners & Kate Meenan Waugh, film sponsor
NHA24 award presentation on stage
NHA24 Andrew Elliot speaking
CIFF24 friday night stage announcement
Keith O'Grady speaking on stage
ciff24 friday night artists
cinemagic producer sharon hourran pierce and andrew elliot
ciff24 dessert reception

Closing Night Event

On Sunday, March 3rd, the festival was closed with a sold-out special gala screening of the multi-award-winning film VERDIGRIS with guest of honor, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Geraldine Byrne Nason. The Ambassador addressed guests and spoke about the extraordinary success of the festival, the incredible output of film emanating from Ireland, and the achievement and recognition of the Irish film industry on the global stage. The screening was followed by an in-person Q&A with director Patricia Kelly, producer Paul FitzSimons, and lead actor Geraldine McAlinden, moderated by CIFF Festival Director Maedhbh Mc Cullagh. Guests were then invited to a post-screening reception sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, catered by chef Cathal Armstrong.

VERDIGRIS ciff24 closing night artists and guests
VERDIGRIS artists under marquee
VERDIGRIS theatre screen
patricia kelly speaking
VERDIGRIS title screen
Ambassador Byrne-Nason speaking
Ambassador Byrne-Nason speaking, side angle
full theatre closing night ciff24
CERDIGRIS artists on stage
closing night ciff24 ambassador and guests
VERDIGRIS artists with ambassador and guests
kate meenan-waugh speaking on stage ciff24
ciff24 sponsor card screen in theatre

Special Guests & Events

Along with the special gala screenings and events mentioned above, the festival presented a total of 7 Q&As with guest artists. Director Margo Harkin and producer Martha O'Neill (STOLEN) and author and journalist Caitríona Palmer; Sarah Share (THE GRACELESS AGE: THE BALLAD OF JOHN MURRY) and CIFF Assistant Producer Mary Turkot; Alan Gilsenan (PAUL MULDOON: LAOITHE IS LIRICÍ/A LIFE IN LYRICS) and owner, Anna Livia Books, Conor Howard; Andrew Gallimore (ONE NIGHT IN MILLSTREET) and historian and writer, Dr. Darragh Gannon, Associate Director of Global Irish Studies, Georgetown University; and director Patricia Kelly, producer Paul FitzSimons, and actor Geraldine McAlinden (VERDIGRIS) moderated by Maedhbh Mc Cullagh, Director, Solas Nua Capital Irish Film Festival; engaged in talkbacks after the screenings of their films. Further highlights included a special screening on Sunday morning of PUFFIN ROCK AND THE NEW FRIENDS, the Academy Award-nominated Cartoon Saloon and Dog Ears' new action-packed film of the much-beloved TV show; featuring a live reading from the PUFFIN ROCK book series by Solas Nua Executive Director, Andrew Dolan, in advance of the screening.

Margo Harkin and Martha O"Neill
Ambassador artists and staff CIFF24 closing night
TEH GRACELESS AGE director Sarah Share and Mary Turkot
THE GRACELESS AGE artist and staff
Ambassador and ciff24 artists talking
ciff24 artists all talking
Andrew Dolan and Maedhbh Mc Cullagh
Kevin Taylor & Kate Meenan Waugh ciff24
Kate Meenan Waugh ciff24
Margo and Geraldine talking ciff24
Dennis Houlihan and Mimi Conway, Kate Meenan Waugh and Rex Daugherty
alan gilsenan and guests ciff24
Kate, Rex, Andrew Elliot talking ciff24
dessert display ciff24
abby oliveira talking ciff24
paddy meskell andrew elliot ciff24
ciff24 artists geraldine and john talking
ciff24 guests at reception
ciff24 artists abby and geraldine
ciff24 reception crowd
ciff24 guest interview
ciff24 artist abby and rex
ciff24 reception crowd
ciff24 reception crowd
ciff24 reception crowd
ciff24 reception kate dennis rex and chef cathal armstrong
ciff24 artists at reception
ciff24 volunteers, june yoon and mary turkot
ciff24 afi staff tiffany and guest
ciff2024 audience award sharpened thumbnail size

CIFF 2024 Audience Awards

The 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Audience Awards - Best Irish Feature and Best Irish Short - are based on filmgoers’ feedback and reviews from the screenings at the 18th edition of the festival.

Best Irish Feature: Lies We Tell 

The 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Feature Audience Award goes to LIES WE TELL. Irish director Lisa Mulcahy’s critically acclaimed gothic drama opened the 2024 festival to resounding applause from an audience of more than 350 people.  The audience was united in their enthusiasm: "LIES WE TELL looks like a prestigious British period drama that cost millions. It was phenomenal;" "The opener (Lies We Tell) was a winner and an excellent choice to kick it all off;" Brilliant;" and "Absolutely fantastic." 

Best Irish Short: Two For The Road

The 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Short Audience Award goes to TWO FOR THE ROAD. Lochlainn McKenna's Oscar-qualifying short film explores life through the eyes of 10-year-old Oscar as he navigates a weekend of adventure, fun, and chaos with his Dad, Hugh. The audience loved it: "Fantastic story. Tight script. Excellent production and tender and sensitive performances. Memorable;" "Deceptively complex story, rendered beautifully by two fantastic and believable performances;" "The script was superb."

Maedhbh McCullagh, Festival Director:

“I would like to thank all the CIFF2024 artists for graciously sharing their exceptional work with us,  and all of the filmmakers who submitted their films to the festival. My deepest gratitude to the special guests of honor, and our visiting artists who traveled from Ireland for the festival, and the Q&A moderators. It takes a village to organize this festival and I would like to thank our presenting partner AFI Silver, our institutional funders, corporate sponsors, individual donors, film underwriters, community partners, the Norman Houston Award and festival shorts judges, our videographers, volunteers, vendors, and everyone who traveled near and far to be at the festival and experience the work together.

We are already looking forward to the 19th Capital Irish Film Festival!”


Solas Nua’s Capital Irish Film Festival has been showing Irish films, films by Ireland-based filmmakers and the best of Irish cinematic talent, annually for 18 years. The four-day festival is presented in partnership with AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center at their historic art-deco theater in Silver Spring, MD. 


Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme • Culture Ireland • Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland • Irish Film Institute’s IFI International Programme supported by Culture Ireland • Northern Ireland Bureau • Embassy of Ireland
Solas Nua is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.


Caddie Tours • Happy Medium Productions • DC GAELS • First Time Go • Irish Network DC • Irish Stew Podcast • Marriott Courtyard Silver Spring • McGinty’s Public House • Northern Irish Connections • Silver Spring Town Center


Chef Cathal Armstrong • Colette & Barry Breen • Martin & Mary Burns • Andrew Clarke & Chip Sherrill •  Geri Fitzgerald • Margaret Hennessey • Dennis Houlihan & Mimi Conway • Irish Network DC • Kerry Kemp • Mike Kirlin • Niall P. Leogue & Caddie Tours • Brian Maney & Barbara Stauffer • Patrick McGlone & Kevin Taylor • Anna McGowan • Kate Meenan-Waugh • Paddy & Darlene Meskell • Ruth Meyler • Anne Mitchell & Conor Howard • Cóilín Parsons & Ryan Dolan •  Pat Reilly • Christy Wise


Lori Collins • John Collins • Barry Breen • Colette Breen • Jackie Hoysted • Mike Kirlin  • Kate Meenan-Waugh • Eamonn McConville • Maedhbh McCullagh • Tom McIntyre • Paddy Meskell • Darlene Meskell • Pat Reilly • Mary Turkot • Seán Wrenn


Dr. Darragh Gannon, Associate Director of Global Irish Studies, Georgetown University • Aideen Gilmore, Irish Network DC, Board Member • Conor Howard, Owner, Anna Livia Books • Maedhbh Mc Cullagh, Director CIFF2024 • Caitríona Palmer, Author and Journalist • Professor Sky Sitney, Film and Media Studies Program, Georgetown University and Co-Founder & Festival Director, DC/DOX • Mary Turkot, Assistant Producer CIFF2024


Volunteer Coordinator: June Yoon • Gregory Bilberry • Peggy Gleason • Maryanne Henderson • Greg Hindsley • Jim Kane • Linda Keenan • Camilla Madden • Jerry McCausland • John McShane • Mike Sutterlin • Meredyth Woody


Award Crafters, Inc.


Press & Marketing: Rachel Media 

Videographers: John Collins • Lori Collins • Joe Pelan

Photographers: Ryan Maxwell (Solas Nua) & Bruce Guthrie (AFI)


Abbie Algar • Cathal Armstrong •  Lena Barkin • Noémie Bécache •  Quentin Beck • Below The Radar TV • Orla Barry • Michael Beattie • Tom Berkeley • Besom Productions • Between Lands • Máire Bhreathnach •  Jude Blackburn • Neal Block • Blue Ink Films • Éabha Bortolozzo  • Eamonn Bowles • Jason Branagan • Zoë Brennan-Whitmore • Juliet Burch • Joan Burney Keatings • Morgan Bushe • Aisling Byrne • Brendan J. Byrne • John Carlin • Ruth Carter • Causeway Pictures • Simon Chambers • Javier Chavez •  Adriana Cisneros Emerson • Pat Collins • Nuala Cunningham • Cartoon Saloon • Corrib Enterainment • Cypress Avenue Film • Sara Daddy • Hali Dardar • Luke Daly •  Steven Davenport • Fionnuala Deane • Johnny Depp • Frederik DePue • Stephen Deuters • Ursula Devine • Dog Ears • Nicklaud Domingo • Stephen Douds • Simon James Doyle • Claire Dix • Benjamin Duchek • Claire Dunlop • Eclipse Pictures • Mallori Edley • Embankment Films •  Epic Pictures • Patrick Ewald • Nathan Fagan • Michael Fanning • Damian Farrell • Alan Farrelly • Failsafe Films • Fastnet Films • Festival Formula • Geri Fiala • Silvia Ferfuffino • Paul FitzSimons • Fionn Foley • Dave Fox • John Galway • Andrew Gallimore • Josh Gardner • Roisin Geraghty • Alan Gilsenan • Elisabeth Gooch • Kristen Goodwin • Tiffany Graham-Golden • Ron Graville •  Laura Guevara • Brian Hackett • Margo Harkin • Sharon Harroun Peirce • Jennifer Healy • Tara Hegarty • Mara Jill Herman • Rachel J.S. Hewitt • Todd Hitchcock • Gerry Hoban • Katie Holly • Cara Holmes • Dan Holmwood • Ian Hunt Duffy • Icebox Films • Diana Jacobsen • Gabby Jacobsen • Chelsea Janke • Sam Jones • Keeper Pictures • Patricia Kelly • Ronan Kelly • Ailbhe Keogan • Philip King • Mary Kirwan • Jack Kirwan • Debbie Lea • John Lee • Zoe Lewis • Mary Linn • Eamonn Little • Rory Lorton • Magnolia Pictures • Stephen Malit • Hannah Mamalis • Lisa Martin • Geraldine McAlinden • Pat McCabe • Paul McCambridge • Ben McConkey • Eamonn McConville • Nathaniel McCullagh • John Mc Daid • Darach McGarrigle • Margaret McGoldrick • Lochlainn McKenna • Eleanor Melinn • Mind the Gap Films • Mná Mná Films • Tomm Moore •  Lydia Monin • David Morton • Lisa Mulcahy • Paul Muldoon • Terence Mulligan • Isobel Murray • Martin Nutty • New Decade Films • Clíona Ní Bhuachalla • Ciara NícChormaic • Eugene O'Brien • Shane O'Callaghan • Sean O Coistealbha • Siún O Connor • Hugh O Conor • Keith O'Grady • Abby Oliveira • Sinéad O'Loughlin • Martha O'Neill • Mags O'Sullivan • Tina O'Reilly • Tom Parkland • Parkland Entertainment • Jessica Patterson • Megan Pearce • Prelude Content • Proposition Films • Eli Prysant • Jeremy Purcell • David Rane • Declan Recks • Caleb J. Roberts • Shane Robinson • Rahul Roy  • Lorcan Ryan • Louise Ryan • Sheldon Scott • Sarah Share • Molly Shea • Soilsiú Films • Krista Sonia • Southwind Blows • Phillip Spampinato • Nora Twomey • Shannon Welby • Julien Temple • Polly Terzian • Rolly Thompson • Tiffin Films • Westend Films • Ross White • Wildfire Films • Zozo & Aces Media • Paul Young