A mighty wee craic - the Irish film fest / rock concert the Craic Festival is in its 13th year
Terrence Mulligan gears up for 13th annual Craic Festival in NYC
You have to hand it to Terence Mulligan, the visionary director who first thought of turning an Irish film festival into a rock concert -- he knows his audience. Founder and director of the Craic Festival, now celebrating its 13th year, next up on Mulligan’s agenda is the Wee Craic Fest. The leaner, meaner mini-fest version always pulls a lively crowd. Mulligan tells Cahir O'Doherty about what to expect in this year’s lineup.
There are 10,000 Irish stories in the naked city, but one man has done far more than most to bring the best of them to our attention year after year.
Meet Terence Mulligan, the Brooklyn-born Irish American director of the Craic Fest, the annual New York-based celebration of the best of Irish arts and music. For 13 years now Mulligan has been at the helm of the longest running and most successful Irish film and music celebration in the city.
On September 21 the Wee Craic Fest, the celebrated halfway to St. Patrick’s Day film screening event, rock concert and wild party, will start with screenings at Arlene’s Grocery and an after party sponsored by Tullamore Due whiskey and Heineken, with Dublin-born singer songwriter the Mighty Stef presiding at R Bar in the Bowery.
It’s the best way possible to say goodbye to the summer, taking in award winning films and enjoying a big Irish booze up with rock music just before the autumn leaves start falling.
“It’s a simple set-up this year,” Mulligan tells the Irish Voice. “We’ll screen the latest award winning short films out of Ireland at Arlene’s Grocery, and then to accommodate the after party and the performance by the Dublin band the Mighty Stef we’re moving to a bigger venue with live music at the R Bar in the Bowery.”
Expect a laugh filled, musical night with good company and good times. The Craic Fest is an Irish festival after all, so Mulligan likes to keep things informal and fun, even though he’s given a unique platform to some of the biggest names in film, making them accessible in a way that they simply are not at any other film or music festival in the city.
Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy and Aidan Quinn have all participated, and filmmaker Jim Sheridan has served as an honorary board member. All banner names, all happy to stop by to support Irish film and filmmakers.
Founded by Mulligan in 1998, from the beginning the Craic Fest has had two guiding principals -- the work must be outstanding and the event itself must be fun.
With that recipe Mulligan has kept the Craic Fest relevant and fresh in a way that other Irish arts festivals can only envy. But there’s more to Mulligan’s vision than providing an opportunity to check out cool new films while downing a whiskey or two to the beat.
“We’re the only group that screens an annual Irish short film festival,” Mulligan notes. “It’s been going on 13 years and we’re screening the current best short films coming out of Ireland, which keeps it right up to the minute.
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