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Screening of Documentary Lyra and Discussion with Director Alison Millar

February 24, 2023 @ 4:30 pm


Critically acclaimed filmmaker Alison Millar screens her 2021 award-winning documentary film, Lyra, an emotive, intimate portrait of the life and death of Belfast journalist Lyra Mckee, who was murdered by the New IRA the day before Good Friday, April 2019. The film seeks answers to her senseless killing through Lyra’s own work and words. Lyra runs approximately 90 minutes and will be followed by a 30-minute discussion with Millar moderated by Fintan O’Toole, Visiting Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor in Irish Letters and Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies.

Part of the spring 2023 Fund for Irish Studies lecture series.

About the film Lyra

Lyra tells the story of McKee’s tragic death by a stray bullet during New IRA riots in Derry, Northern Ireland. Attending a riot in the Creggan estate near where she lived, McKee had been reporting events as they unfolded via Twitter, even in the final moments before she was shot in the head. Her death caused outrage throughout Ireland and beyond, and Millar recalls, “The whole of Ireland came to a standstill when she was killed.” The powerful film, which is narrated by McKee’s own voice, conveys with heart-wrenching irony that the determined young journalist became a victim of the very violence she wrote about in the hopes of reaching a new generation with the truth of affairs in post-conflict Ireland.

Millar, a colleague and close friend of McKee, was approached by the McKee family following her death to create a film that would share the story of the inspiring young journalist with the wider world. Using McKee’s own interview tape recordings along with audio rescued from voice notes, mobile phone recordings, and home videos, Millar and her team pieced together a film that historically places McKee’s death while powerfully fleshing out the passion, curiosity and ambition that characterized her life and work.

Since its release, the documentary has won numerous awards including the Audience Award at the 2022 Cork International Film Festival, the Tim Hetherington Award at the 2022 Sheffield Doc Festival, the Gryphon Award GEX Doc at Italy’s Giffoni Film Festival, and Best Feature Documentary at Achill Island Film Festival.

About Alison Millar

Alison Millar smiles slightly while looking off to her left. She wears her hair in a short bob and wears a black sweater with white polka dot collar shirt peeking out.

Photo by Jess Lowe

Millar is a critically acclaimed filmmaker with a reputation for making emotionally compelling films. She began her producing and directing career at the National Film and Television School in the U.K. in the mid 1990s. Since then, she has produced over 40 films for British and Irish television and has won a BAFTA, IFTA, Prix Italia and numerous other awards. In 2010 Millar founded Erica Starling Productions, an independent documentary production company based in Belfast. In addition to Lyra, her other award-winning documentary features or series include Lee Miller — A Life on the Frontline; Arena: The Changin’ Times of Ike White; The Disappeared; Leonora Carrington: The Lost Surrealist; Searching for Shergar; Dispatches: Kids in Crisis; Love and Death in City Hall; the series Find Me a Family; and The World: The Shame of the Catholic Church.

Tickets & Details

The event is free and open to the public. No advance tickets or registration required.

Get directions and find venue information for the James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street.

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all visitors are expected to be either fully vaccinated, have recently received and prepared to show proof of a negative COVID test (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen within 8 hours of the scheduled visit), or agree to wear a face covering when indoors and around others.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe James Stewart Film Theater is wheelchair accessible. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email LewisCenter@princeton.edu at least one week in advance of the event date.


February 24, 2023
4:30 pm
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James Stewart Film Theater
185 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States
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