The full line up for the British & Irish Film Festival in Whitianga
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The full line up for the British & Irish Film Festival in Whitianga

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The full line up for the British & Irish Film Festival in Whitianga

For two weeks in October and November, the Mercury Twin Cinemas will host a huge line up of British and Irish Films as part of the national film festival. We've got the entire line up here, so you can plan your schedule!

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What's on at the British & Irish Film Festival in Whitianga?

Prepare to be swept away by an incredible array of films that will take you on a cinematic journey like no other. From heartwarming tales of love and loss to captivating adventures and thought-provoking dramas, the 2023 British & Irish Film Festival has something for everyone.

Below is the line up of the films on offer so you can pick your must sees and book your tickets. 

You'll find trailers and a schedule to download at the bottom of the article.

The Lesson

As this title is a late addition, you won't find it in the programme booklet.

Liam (Daryl McCormack), an aspiring and ambitious young writer, eagerly accepts a tutoring position at the family estate of his idol, renowned author J.M. Sinclair (Academy Award nominee Richard E. Grant). But soon, Liam realizes that he is ensnared in a web of family secrets, resentment, and retribution. Sinclair, his wife Hélène (Academy Award nominee Julie Delpy), and their son Bertie (Stephen McMillan) all guard a dark past, one that threatens Liam's future as well as their own. As the lines between master and protégé blur, class, ambition, and betrayal become a dangerous combination in this taut noir thriller.

Northern Comfort

A special forces veteran, an uptight property developer, an influencer with half a million followers and an incompetent instructor are thrown together on a high-end fear of flying course. The course’s final challenge is an experience flight from London to Iceland, which ends up being a horrendous ordeal. Lost in Iceland, freezing and terrified, they must find a way of facing their fears and working together to spread their wings... and fly.

- OFFICIAL SELECTION: South by Southwest Film Festival -

Starring: Timothy Spall

Watch trailer below

Róise & Frank

It is two years since Róise lost the love of her life, her husband Frank. She is now isolated in grief, cut off from family and community. The arrival of a mysterious dog, who seems intent on connecting with Róise, heralds huge change but is it for the better? The dog loves sport and steaks, has a favourite armchair and an aversion to their neighbour, Donncha. Róise quickly realises that this dog is her beloved Frank, reincarnated. While her son worries that his mother has lost her mind, the local community seem to embrace the idea of Frank’s return, especially as he coaches a shy local kid to become a star player and ensure success for the school team. Róise is happy once more but is there a real future for her with a dog-husband?

Watch Trailer below

Sweet Sue

Fifty-something Sue (O’Neill) is now back on the dating scene. She meets a mysterious biker called Ron (Pitts) at her brother's funeral and sparks fly. But when she meets Ron’s social-media influencer son Anthony (Trevaldwyn), Sue finds herself in an increasingly surreal battle of wills with this ambitious teenager who is convinced that his dance troupe ‘Electric Destiny’ is tipped for stardom. Will she find the purpose and imagination to bring this little unconventional family together for a chance at happiness?

Starring: Maggie O'Neill, Tony Pitts Harry Trevaldwyn

The Critic

The Critic is a story of ambition, blackmail and desire with a dazzling anti-hero at its dark heart. A whodunnit wrapped in a Faustian pact which winds tighter and tighter.

Based on the novel Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn, the film follows an actress who finds herself in a dark situation involving a theatre critic and his paper’s editor in 1930s London.

- OFFICIAL SELECTION: Toronto International Film Festival -

Starring: Ian McKellen, Gemma Arterton and Mark Strong.

The Trouble with Jessica

Successful professional London couple Sarah (Henderson) and Tom (Tudyk) are in deep financial trouble. Their situation takes a terrifying nosedive with the shocking behaviour of uninvited dinner guest, Jessica (Varma). Faced with the moral dilemma of their lives - and dragging their best friends Richard (Sewell) and Beth (Williams) with them - they make a series of choices that could either be their salvation or destruction.

Starring: Indira Varma, Shirley Henderson, Alan Tudyk, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams

Watch trailer below

Typist Artist Pirate King

In a last-ditch mission to get recognition for her talent, Audrey Amiss (Dolan) persuades her psychiatric nurse, Sandra Panza (MacDonald) to take her on a road trip back to where her story began – but with so many deviations along the way, will they ever make it?

Starring: Monica Dolan, Kelly MacDonald

Watch the trailer below

One Life

Follows British humanitarian Nicholas Winton, who helped save hundreds of children from the Nazis on the eve of World War II. A British stockbroker, (Winton) visits Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s, just before the beginning of the war and forms plans to assist in the rescue of Jewish children, in an operation that came to be known as the Kindertransport.

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn and Helena Bonham Carter.

The Great Escaper

Bernard Jordan (Caine) escapes from his care home to attend the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France. Based on a true-life story of 89 year old WW2 veteran, who made his journey to France in 2014.

Starring: Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson.

Watch the trailer below


The film is a biographical drama of Golda Meir (Mirren), the Prime Minister of Israel in 1973, focussing primarily on the period during the Yom Kipper War. Depicting the intensely dramatic and high-stakes responsibilities and decisions that Golda Meir, also known as the 'Iron Lady of Israel' faced during the War. 

Starring: Helen Mirren.

Watch the trailer below

Greatest Days

A feature adaptation of the The Band musical, featuring the songs of Take That. The film follows four friends who have not seen each other for 25 years, then reunite after one wins tickets to the reunion concert of their favourite childhood band.

Starring: Aisling Bea.

Watch the trailer below

Wicked Little Letters

When people in Littlehampton start receiving scandalous and obscene letters, suspicion immediately falls on fiery Rose, who might lose the custody of her daughter. Police Officer Gladys Moss is determined to find the real culprit, and along with a group of other women, seeks to solve the mystery. Based on a true scandal that stunned England in the 1920's.

Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley and Timothy Spall.

The Old Oak

A pub landlord in a previously thriving mining community struggles to hold onto his pub. Meanwhile, tensions rise in the town when Syrian refugees are placed in the empty houses in the community.
From Ken Loach, director of I, Daniel Blake.

Watch the trailer below

Dance First

Parisian bon vivant, World War II Resistance fighter, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, philandering husband and recluse… Samuel Beckett lived a life of many parts. Titled after Beckett's famous ethos “Dance first, think later”, the film is a sweeping account of the life of this 20th-century icon.

In the Land of Saints and Sinners

In a remote Irish village, a damaged Finbar is forced to fight for redemption after a lifetime of sins, but what price is he willing to pay? In the land of saints and sinners, some sins can't be buried.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Kerry Condon and Ciarán Hinds.

Mad About the Boy: The Noel Coward Story

An exploration of Coward's expansive career which features credits across the stage and screen, including Brief Encounter, Blithe Spirit, and Private Lives.

Watch the trailer below

Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War

This is the first full length feature documentary about the artist Eric Ravilious, told in his own words through previously unseen private correspondence.

Watch the trailer below


Follows Scottish racing driver Jackie Stewart on an immersive, colourful, and emotive journey that transcends motor sport and explores universal themes of love, loss, and human vulnerability.

Watch the trailer below


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  • The full line up for the British & Irish Film Festival in Whitianga
    Download the full schedule - includes extra movie 'The Lesson'
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Mercury Twin CinemasCalling movie lovers - Inaugural British and Irish Film Festival showing in Whitianga this October

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