Standby is all about a 20-something land named Alan (Gleeson) who is spectacularly down on his luck. Stood up at the altar and recently fired from his banking job, he finds himself working with his mother as a part-time tourist advisor at Dublin Airport. It`s there he comes face to face with first love Alice (Paré), stuck on standby for a flight home to New York. Their summer romance ended eight years previously with Alan promising to return to the US one day. He never did, and they haven’t spoken since. Seizing his chance, Alan convinces a reluctant Alice to stay one more night in Dublin. Over the course of an unforgettable evening, they may just realise that they are more compatible than ever. But time is running out on this brief encounter. When does an unexpected second chance, become the one you’ve always been looking for?
Directed by borthers Rob and Ronan Burke, Standby kicks off the festival that only runs from Friday until Sunday. This year`s fest is a tale of three cities. Dublin is centre stage in Standby. Saturday’s program features two very different takes on Belfast during the The Troubles with Good Vibrations, a riotous chronicle of Terry Hooley’s life, owner of the eponymous record store, instrumental in developing Belfast’s punk rock scene. Then, ’71 is a gripping fusion of charged political drama and action-thriller starring Jack O’Connell and is set against the backdrop of West Belfast and follows the riveting story of a young British soldier trapped behind enemy lines.
Also on Saturday is the Toronto Premiere of Gold, the feel good story of an estranged father (David Wilmot) who returns to Dublin to reconcile with his daughter (Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones) and her mother, unintentionally wreaking havoc in their lives.
On Sunday, TIRFF’s annual Shorts Program showcases a strong line-up of Ireland’s up-and-coming filmmakers.
The Toronto Irish Film Festival wraps on Sunday with the Northern Irish artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson’s documentary tribute to NYC with a story of post 9/11 renewal. Titled Rebuilding the World Trade Center, the film is the epic story of hope that is emerging from the rubble and chaos of 9/11. Since 2006, Belfast artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson has spent over 2,000 days filming the vast new towers rising out of the bedrock of New York City. Using a combination of observational documentary and breath taking time lapse photography this dramatic and stylish film is an artist’s tribute to the tenacity of New York’s construction workers and the spirit of renewal and endeavor that permeates this unique project construction site. The connection? New York is a city whose history is bound up with the Irish immigrants who helped build it.
Click here for a link to the Toronto Irish Film Festival and other festivals happening in March.