Thursday, 27 February, 2020
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Solas Nua ("new light" in Irish) is a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization in its 15th year and is dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish arts. Co-director of The Capital Irish Film Festival, and IrelandXO member, Pat Reilly tells us about this annual spring arts event and her own connection with Ireland.

The Capital Irish Film Festival 2020

Pat Reilly:

"Our mission is to bring the best of new Irish artistic talent to American audiences. A veteran of several non-profit boards in the D.C.-area, I joined the Solas Nua board in 2012 to learn more about the birthplace of both of my parents and the culture in which I was raised, though brought up in New Jersey. I am deeply involved with Donegal genealogy and am fortunate to have close ties to cousins in Dublin and Donegal, but I wanted to understand modern Ireland.

Solas Nua produces plays, visual art exhibits, poetry, literature and play readings, and shows films by Irish filmmakers throughout the year. On the first weekend of March every year, we produce the Capital Irish Film Festival at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. This year that is Feb. 27 to March 1. This festival has become my passion--four days and nights of film from all over Ireland, features, documentaries, animation and shorts. I travel to the Galway Film Fleadh each year to see the latest films and meet the filmmakers. I network with other festival producers in the U.S. and Ireland to discover new films. The American Film Institute has become an invaluable partner and brings Irish films to the U.S. throughout the year.

This year, in addition to brilliant films shot in Ireland, we have films about "Gaza" and "A Girl from Mogadishu", proving that no corner of the world is too far to escape the unique lens of Irish filmmakers. One of my favorites in recent years was about outer space ('The Farthest' 2017). We open this year with a comic film from Northern Ireland, 'A Bump Along the Way', and close with a lyric documentary in Irish and English, 'Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody'. We enjoy the support of Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland as well as the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

I should note that the Solas Nua board includes several Irish Americans a couple of generations along and several native Irish. Serving on the board has been deeply satisfying. And yes, I understand my late parents better!"

This year's Capital Film Festival will run from February 27th until March 1st, 2020.

Location: American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland

See the whole lineup at

Solas Nua