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Los Angeles Irish Film Festival Founder, Lisa McLaughlin name ‘Irish Woman of the Year 2012′ in L.A.

Lisa McLaughlin
Lisa McLaughlin

By: Valerie Milano and Lorraine Chambers

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/7/12 -The 137th Annual Irish Day Civic Ceremonies takes place on Friday March 16, 2012 at L.A. City Hall in the Council Chambers, downtown L.A. at 9 a.m. The public is invited. Lisa McLaughlin (originally from Donegal, Ireland) with the other Irish Honorees of the year will be feted at a Special Luncheon immediately afterwards and then introduced at the Official City of L.A.St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza at LA Live on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012 which is sponsored by City Councilmember Tom Labonge. McLaughlin will round out the celebrations at the Grand St. Patrick’s Day Ball and Rose of Tralee Presentation in Orange County at the Atrium Hotel by the John Wayne Airport. Previous recipients of this prestigious honor include former Miss Ireland, actress Olivia Tracey, legendary crooner Bing Crosby and American TV host Merv Griffin. (HollywoodToday.net writer Lorraine Chambers was an Irish Honoree for journalism in 2010). Ms. Olivia Tracey will be one of the hosts of the Rose of Tralee Presentation on St. Patrick’s night. McLaughlin was selected by a committee from the Irish Fair Foundation. The foundation, which is also responsible for the California Rose of Tralee selection, each year, selects an Irish Man and Irish Woman and other honorees as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Los Angeles. McLaughlin is being recognized as an outstanding leader and major contributor to the arts and cultural fields and to the local American Irish community.   Over the past four years, McLaughlin has developed the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (L.A.I.F.F) into a major Irish Cultural Event – with film as its center – but also has introduced L.A. audiences to Irish music, art, photography, poetry and even food, with an exploration of the ‘taste of Ireland’. The Festival is the only stand-alone Irish Film Festival to be presented in the city. Last year, the Festival’s Steve Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to acclaimed Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan.  The Festival has premiered notable Irish films such as “Knuckle,” “The Eclipse,” “Dreaming the Quiet Man,” “Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne,” “The Yellow Bittern” and screened films that went on to be nominated for Oscar® including “The Secret of Kells,” “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” and “Pentecost “.  The L.A.I.F.F. is about celebrating the Irish passion for story-telling and our deep-rooted love for the tellers of tales. A rich and ancient tradition that started around the hearth of every Irish household, our cultural passion for storytelling has found its way onto the world stage through the medium of film. Cutting edge cinematic technology and aesthetic vision may have taken the place of flickering hearth flames, but it’s that same truth seeking curiosity that drives the modern Irish storyteller into exploring the universally fascinating depths of the human condition. Coupled with the treasures of our movie-making past, LAIFF presents modern cinematic works as diverse as they are unique and in bringing them together in the arena of a film festival, we have created a type of cinematic barometer for the cultural climate of Ireland. In response to receiving the Irish Woman of the Year Award and to mark the fifth year of the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival, which will take place in fall 2012, McLaughlin has arranged for a traditional Irish Currach (traditional Irish boat) to be built by an artisan/boatwright from Donegal, Ireland. The theme of this year’s Festival will be “Sea of Exchange,” representing the emigration of people as well as films. Currach builder, Donal Mac Polin, will make the journey from Ireland and shepherd a hand-picked team of local craftsmen through the ancient steps of construction and assembly.  The five day process will begin in the lobby of the Opening Night Gala venue and will continue through the next 4 days of the Festival, amid the displayed works of Irish painters, artists and Festival patrons, curated by Cathy Weiss. On day five of the Festival, a family beach day is planned with the ceremonial launch of the Currachin the Pacific Ocean at Marina Del Rey. A documentary crew is already in place to capture this significant cultural and historic event.   HollywoodToday.net writer Lorraine Chambers met Lisa McLaughlin several years ago in connection with the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival which has been held at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The festival brings together the Irish community to celebrate the new and old films from Ireland. Lorraine shares ‘One of my favourite memories of the festival was the screening of the Gabriel Byrne documentary and he was interviewed afterwards in front of the audience. It is great that Lisa and her staff of friends, actors, musicians and volunteers rally around for the past four years to put on this wonderful international yet community event. I hear the parties afterwards at the local Irish pubs are great!’  Lisa with Finn McCool’s Pub and Restaurant in Santa Monica sponsors the annual James Joyce Bloomsday reading at the pub in June where Lisa, Lorraine and an array of local Irish and Irish/American talent participate in period costume for the reading. Check www.finnmccoolsirishpub.com for this year’s reading. As well check out http://www.lairishfilm.com  Special thanks for the information to Deborah Kolar of Kean & Kolar Communications