Welcome to the San Francisco Irish Film Festival


SF Irish Film Festivals



The San Francisco Irish Film Festival

The San Francisco Irish Film Festival (SFIFF) was founded in 2003. The festival presents the very best in contemporary Irish cinema, celebrating everything from features to documentaries to Irish language films (with English subtitles for those who didn’t spend a summer at a Gaeltacht).  The Irish are notorious for story telling, and the Irish Short film has rapidly become an art form in Ireland.  The festival includes a selection of top current Irish short films in the “Short Stories – Tall Tales” program. Throughout the year, we continue the celebration of Irish film in the Bay Area, so sign up for our newsletter to learn of our special events!


Kate Gunning
Festival Executive Director

Kate Gunning

Kate Gunning serves as the Executive Director for SF Irish Film, overseeing all aspects of the programing, operations, and management of the organization. She began her tenure with the festival in 2011 with responsibility for marketing and sponsorship activities.  Since then she has expanded her role, introduced the inaugural DocFest in March 2017, and continues to grow SF Irish Film to represent a diverse and dynamic Irish film industry. Kate has a background in drama and is a strong advocate for the arts and independent filmmaking. She runs a business consultancy, BioVisability, specializing in market development for emerging international Life science and Clean technology companies.  Kate is very active in the Bay Area Irish community and is an avid mentor for young professionals and emerging entrepreneurs.


Roisin Hunt
Program Director



Roisin Hunt is a Roscommon native with a background in television, radio and theater. In Ireland, she previously worked with Kairos Communications producing live and crafted content for RTE, Ireland’s National Broadcaster. A graduate of Maynooth University, she also taught on their Media Studies Degree program, specializing in narrative structure and content. Currently the Artistic Director for Wilde Irish Productions, an Irish theater company in the Bay Area, she is passionate about storytelling in all its forms.


Frank Kelly
Assistant Program Director

Frank Kelly is an Award-Winning filmmaker from Drogheda, Ireland. He now lives in the Bay Area. After graduating Ballyfermot College of Further Education with a HND Animation Production, Frank went on to make several award-winning live-action films, including Emily’s Song, 140, Derelict and more. His films have been officially selected for competition at over a hundred film festivals worldwide, sold to national broadcasters in Ireland, the UK and the USA, and featured on several Best-of-Fest box-set and has received a number of awards at International festivals.

John Murphy, Ph. D
Finance Director



John Murphy, a native of the Beara Peninsula in Co. Co rk, and an active volunteer at the SF Irish Film for a number of years, plays a pivotal role overseeing operations and finance. Since moving to the Bay area in 2000 and working in Global managerial roles, John has taken a keen interest in film and has studied French and Spanish language through film classes.Through his work globally in the Biosciences sector John has come to appreciate more the art form that cinema offers the public. “It took taking step s far afield from my Irish culture and heritage to appreciate the unique story telling abili ty of the Irish in a way that has universal appeal.


Catherine Barry
al Creative Services

Originally from Dublin, Catherine worked in publishing and photography in London and Sydney before moving to San Francisco in the mid-1990s. She headed up the relaunch of The Irish Herald in 1996 and was managing editor until 2002.

Catherine continues to work with several Irish groups in the Bay Area, and in 2015 launched Irish Culture Bay Area, a Bay Area Irish arts and culture event guide. Catherine also heads up the Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival.


Niall McKay
Founder & Program Director
Niall McKay

Niall McKay founded the San Francisco Irish Film Festival in 2003 and continues to act as an advisor. Niall is a writer, producer and film maker, now based in NYC where he also founded Irish Film NY. His work includes “The Bass Player: A Song for Dad”  and won an Emmy for his documentary “Sikhs in America” about the challenges of being Sikh in the US, which aired on PBS stations nationwide. His work includes documentaries for PBS and dramas for cable television. He co-produced Irvine Welsh’s directorial debut, “Nuts.” Niall is also the co-founder of the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival.


A special thank you to Richard O’Connell, outgoing Shorts Program Director, for his dedication and management/curation of the Shorts program.


Look who’s talking about the San Francisco Irish Film Festival.
IFTN Interview: Niall McKay Talks San Fran Irish Film Fest
Enterprise Ireland
365inSF Things To Do
KPFA radio
Irish Emigrant Online
The San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Art Beat