Gallery Circle: A night with Filmmaker Edward Burns and a private screening of “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas”
On Thursday, December 20th, the Gallery Circle of The American Ireland Fund hosted a private screening of the new Ed Burns holiday film, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas at the Tribeca Grand Hotel’s intimate screening room in New York City.
After picking up some traditional movie snacks and a brief welcome message from the AIF, the audience sat back, relaxed and watched the film about a large middle class Irish-Catholic family preparing for their estranged father to return home for Christmas for the first time since he walked out on his family 20 years ago. The star of the picture is the matriarch of the family, Rosie Fitzgerald (Played by Anita Gillette) who is stuck between four older siblings who were young adults when the father left and have a relationship with him; and three younger siblings who were children and have harbored strong feelings of anger since the father “Big Jim” Fitzgerald (Played by Ed Lauter) walked out. The stubborn Rosie has a change of heart when she receives some game changing information about Big Jim and the family tries to work it out.
Following the film, the audience was treated to a Q & A with Ed himself. He explained that he got the inspiration for the film after working on the thriller Alex Cross with Tyler Perry, who told him to go back to the niche that worked in the beginning of his career and “superserve” those fans, who will return for more (He was correct). The discussion turned to independent film festivals and The American Ireland Fund’s support of the arts in partnership with individual and corporate donors like Bank of America, who was represented on the evening by AIF Board Director Anne Finucane, in attendance with her sons, who are also young filmmakers. The audience chimed in with a handful of questions of their own and found out some very fun and unique answers from Ed, including the fact that the family house he filmed the movie in was on the block where he spent his childhood.
After the screening and Q & A, the guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and continued the conversation with Ed, who graciously stayed and took pictures with our supporters. The evening was a great thank you to our supporters for all they have done for Ireland in 2012.