Promoting Irish-American Culture
and Preserving Local Histories
Through Year-Round Programs

The O’Kalem Film Collection

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Saturday and Sunday, March 21st and 22nd

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

37417 Niles Boulevard, Fremont


The O’Kalem Film Collection

The O’Kalem film collection contains a lot of firsts: the first fiction movie made in Ireland, the first film made on two continents and the origins of American film abroad. Between the years of 1910 and 1915, the Kalem company produced almost 30 Irish-themed films and as a result, were given the O’Kalem nickname. The first of these films, The Lad from Old Ireland, made in 1910, meant that the O’Kalems were, according to Peter Flynn, “the first filmmakers to acknowledge the realities of the Irish immigrant experience. You look at those films – particularly The Lad from Old Ireland or His Mother – and you see the pain and the suffering that led people to emigrate, and what they lost in going to America. You get a sense of how important Ireland remained to them.” And, he added, the incredible thing was that the Kalems were bringing “images of Ireland – moving images of Ireland – back to the Irish in America, and that was of almost sacred importance.” (Peter Flynn)

We will also screen the feature-length documentary, Blazing the Trail: the O’Kalems in Ireland, written and directed by Peter Flynn. The film explores the story of Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier, two of cinema’s earliest mavericks, how they made films without electricity, used locals as actors, provoked the condemnation of a local priest and ran afoul of the British authorities. Join us to view this exploration of the people and culture they immortalized on film and of the Hollywood system that ultimately eclipsed them.

Saturday, March 21st

Viewing Schedule:  Check back for titles, viewing times and ticket pricing

Sunday, March 22nd

Viewing Schedule: Check back for titles, viewing times and ticket pricing

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