Chris O’Dowd (left) and David Rawle star in episodes of the charming sitcom Moone Boy at the Toronto Irish Film Festival.
TORONTO IRISH FILM FESTIVAL Friday to Sunday (February 28 to March 2). See listings. Rating: NNNN
Now in its fourth year, the Toronto Irish Film Festival is getting pretty good at cramming a great deal of cultural programming into a modest time frame. This year packs shorts, documentaries, features and a couple of TV episodes into three evenings at the Lightbox.
The festival opens with The Irish Pub (Friday, 7 pm), documentarian Alex Fegan's oral history of the eponymous institution. Fegan bounced all over Ireland to interview publicans and patrons at historic locals, shaping the footage into a charming testimonial to tradition, community, drinking and traditional communal drinking.
Fegan does a Q&A after the screening, and your ticket stub gets you into the opening-night party that follows at Dora Keogh on the Danforth.
Saturday offers a program of shorts at 5 pm, the energetic TV documentary When Ali Came To Ireland - about a 1972 fight between the champ and Alvin "Blue" Lewis - at 7 pm, and Paul Kennedy's contemporary drama Made In Belfast at 9 pm.
Sunday at 5 pm, the festival premieres the first two episodes of the second season of Moone Boy, a charming sitcom featuring Chris O'Dowd of Bridesmaids and The Sapphires as the imaginary friend of a 12-year-old (David Rawle) in a small town circa 1989. And the whole thing wraps up at 7 pm with Life's A Breeze, a comedy from Kisses director Lance Daly about a Dublin family scrambling to find a lost mattress stuffed with cash.
At TIFF Bell Lightbox. See listings.