Irish American Movie Hooley and Interview with Houli Preview - The Story of a Wonderful Film Festival





When a party gets rowdy, the Irish call it a “hooley.”

From "Beneath Disheveled Stars", by Kevin Baggott, USA

2 Gingers Irish Whiskey will present the 2nd Hooley, opening with the Chicago premiere of Kevin Baggott’s haunting comic road movie, “BENEATH DISHEVELED STARS” at 8PM Friday September 30th. Baggott’s mythical fable premiered in Ireland in 2014 at The Cork Indie Film Festival and has screened at festivals across the USA including the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. STARS is a unique and funny odyssey about an Irish American guy taking his mother’s ashes back to Ireland. This screening will be followed immediately by an audience discussion with Baggott and followed by an opening night reception at the Emerald Loop Pub on Wabash.


Saturday night, October 1st   at 8PM, the Hooley will present  “A DOCTOR’S SWORD”, the incredible tale of a young doctor from West Cork.  Aidan MacCarthy survived some of the most harrowing episodes of WWII, including the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He and his family search to uncover the origin of the Japanese Samurai sword which he brought home  from the war and which and now resides in MacCarthy’s bar in Castletownbere. This extraordinary film will make you proud to be Irish. Producer Bob Jackson will attend the screening and discussion.


Sunday afternoon October 2nd will host the Chicago Premiere of “FIS NA FUISEOIGE” (THE LARK’S VIEW) at 5PM. One hundred years after the Easter Rising, this tale affirms the Irish connection to the land in mythology, history, and legend. The film combines gorgeous cinematography, soul-stirring music, and interviews with Ireland’s greatest living poets in Irish, with English subtitles. Director Aodh Ó Coileáin will attend the screening and discussion in person.

From "A Doctor's Sword", By Gary Lennon, 2015, Ireland/Japan


Mike Houlihan is a former features columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he penned the “Houli in ‘da Hood” column from 2002-2005. He has written the “Hooliganism” column in the Irish American News since 1996.  He began his career as an actor in 1973 with the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Ct., and appeared onstage with regional theatres across the country as well as Off-Broadway, on Broadway, on television and in major motion pictures. While working in New York he met Malachy and Frank McCourt and together they developed “A COUPLE OF BLAGUARDS”, which Houlihan produced and directed at The Village Gate in New York City in 1984 and subsequently toured all over the world. BLAGUARDS was selected as a special promotional representative for Irish Distillers International and was the genesis of a series of books written by the McCourts including “Angela’s Ashes“, “Tis“, and “A Monk Swimming,” His experience as an actor, director, and producer, paved the way for his career as a playwright.  His play “GOIN’ EAST ON ASHLAND” ran for over six years in Chicago, and his play “MICKEY FINN “had its world premiere production at the Royal George Theatre. Mike contributed humorous essays to public radio in Chicago on WBEZ-FM for several years and also appears regularly onstage in Chicago as a stand-up comic and character actor. In 2006 he won the Illinois/Chicago Film Office Screenplay competition with his screenplay, “Ballhawk”. Vanguard Cinema has just released the DVD of Mike’s independent feature film, “TAPIOCA “starring Ben Vereen, Tim Kazurinsky, and several Second City comics. Tapioca premiered at the Park City Film Music Festival in Park City, Utah and played the film festival circuit through 2008, winning Best Feature Film at the Geneva Film Fest. Mike's film, "Our Irish Cousins" premiered at the 16th annual European Union Film Festival in Chicago in March, 2013 and has screened across the country. His backstage peek at the St. Patrick's Day parade Queen contest, "Her Majesty, 'Da Queen" was broadcast on WTTW. Mike produces a trio of Irish American radio shows each week and is co-host of the immensely popular "Skinny and Houli Show" every Saturday on WCEV 1450 AM.

(The above Biography was taken from the “The Irish Cousins Blog”)


For more info go to 

Mike Houlihan

From "The Lark's View", by Aodh O" Coilea'in, 2016, Ireland



On the eve of the opening of the 2nd Annual Movie Hooley, this reviewer had the opportunity to interview Mike Houlihan, (“Houli”) about his life, his perspective on being a member of the “Irish Diaspora” and his views on the upcoming films. This extremely cordial, thoughtful and perceptive man’s views are paraphrased below:

Houlihan, who grew up in Christ The King parish on the South Side of Chicago started HibernianTransMedia (HT) NFP with his wife, Mary Carney, and their sons, Bill and Paddy. HT is a platform of creative expression and education about Irish-American culture. It is characteristic of his ethnic perspective that he would seek to initiative such an objective by “starting at home”.


The “Irish Diaspora” really refers to anybody whose ancestors came from Ireland- in reality, “anybody who identifies with Ireland as home”. When he travelled to Ireland in 2009, he was interested in answering the question, “What is the nature of the source of the immense pride in itself felt by this unique ethnic group?’ Upon arrival in this breathtakingly gorgeous land, he was welcomed by everybody he met either as a friend of the family, or as one of the family. All of the citizens behaved like the closest kind of cousins. He discovered  “a legacy and a heritage”. The feeling he had repeatedly was "I know you". He reflects that the difference between the Irish in Ireland and Irish-Americans is “about 2000 miles” and perhaps certain frames of reference.


“Hooley” refers to an evening of traditional music and dance. The 3 films to be shown at the 2nd Hooley offer 3 unique perspectives on the Irish and universal human experience, and are also engaging, heartwarming and uplifting-like the Irish soul.


“Beneath Disheveled Stars”,2014, is “a film about a guy who takes his mother’s ashes back to Ireland. The Irish encounter the Yank and it’s a bit scary. They can be treacherous. It’s the story of a Yank out of water.”


“A Doctor’s Story”,  2015, is the tale “of an Irish doctor who went through every kind of horror in World War 2” and survived by relying on “his heritage, his family and lots and lots of luck”.


“Fis Na Fuiseoige” or “The Lark’s View”, 2016, is the most traditional film, although shot on location by drones. Showing sweeping scenes of this green and glorious country,  “It’s a preview of heaven”, and features some of Ireland’s great living poets.


“Houli” invites all of Chicagoland to enjoy these films and celebrate this magnificent heritage.

Mike Houlihan, "Houli", of Chicago


All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St. Tickets are available through the Gene Siskel Film Center’s website  or through the individual films’ weblinks on Discounted parking is available for $18 for 10 hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office. The Film Center is located near CTA trains and buses. Nearest CTA L stations are Lake (Red line); State/Lake (Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple lines); and Washington (Blue line). CTA bus lines serving State St.: 2, 6, 10, 29, 36, 62, 144, and 146. 


For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9:00 am-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit Gene Siskel Film Center webssite

For more information about the Hooly


All photos courtesy of The Second Annual Irish American Movie Hooley




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