Galway Film Fleadh 2012 review
"The Galway Film Fleadh is now seen as THE place for up and coming Irish filmmakers to showcase new features and is a perfect launch pad for people who dream of one day getting a film on general release, international exposure and maybe even an Academy award."
- Ciarán Tierney, Connacht Tribune
The 24th Galway Film Fleadh took place from July 10-15 and was easily one of the best Fleadhs yet! Serious film buffs and casual cinema-goers alike, industry professionals from at home and abroad, and lovers of the unique mixture of culture and craic that only Galway can provide all came together to celebrate the feast of cinema at this year's Fleadh.
Things got off to a flying start with Grabbers, Jon Wright's pitch-perfect comedy-horror about sea-monsters laying siege to a small Irish island, leaving the inhabitants with no choice but to get incredibly drunk in order to keep the alcohol-intolerant beasts at bay.
Other highlights included the screening of Songs for Amy, which was a spiritual homecoming for a film set around the Galway music scene and which went down a storm in a sea of kilts, rock stars and locals eager to see their beloved Galway on screen, and Phil Harrison's The Good Man which starred Aidan Gillen as a man faced with a moral quandry that has no easy answers and Macdara Vallely's gorgeous 16mm-shotBaby Girl.
The Weekend kicked off with an unprecedented selection of new Irish cinema includingLón sa Spéir, about the iconic New York image 'Lunch in the Sky', Earthbound, an utterly charming and rather brilliant retro sci-fi comedy that should appeal to everyone, and the surprise hit of the Fleadh (though not to anyone who had seen it!) Gerard Barrett's unbelievably poignant Pilgrim Hill, a stunning film which belies it's status as a micro-budget feature by a first time director.
the evening kicked off with Kieron J.Walsh's Jump which managed to challenge one of it's characters' assertion that "there has to be more to life than Derry" by showing an incredible tapestry of human life set across one new year's eve in the city. Next up was Norah McGettigan's debut Sanctuary which somehow achieved that rare feat of being at once personal and profound and who's stunning imagery and deft emotional resonance marks McGettigan out as one of our most promising directors. Mark O'Connor's Stalkernearly took the roof off the cinemobile such was the reception it received and Friday finished off with Ciaran Foy's frankly terrifying and brilliant urban-horror Citadel which was the perfect way to finish off Friday 13th.
Saturday saw yet more New Irish cinema take to the stage with Pat Collins sumptuous visual treat Silence receiving rave reviews for it's unique style and enigmatic beauty.King of the Travellers, again by Mark O'Connor, began with an unexpected but utterly fitting and charming set of traditional traveller songs sang from the stage as people took their seats. From there the audience was firmly in the film's beautiful yet gritty world and remained there for a long time after.
And then there was Good Vibrations, which is going to go down as one of those screenings where in years to come hundreds more people will claim to have been there than actually were possible to fit in. Spontaneous applause, laughter and singing characterised what was an amazing experience for all involved.
The same could be said of Bing Bailey's Portrait of a Zombie. Part gore-filled mockumentary part subtle social commentary, the film went down a treat with both its seasoned audience (some of whom were in full zombie fancy dress) and people not sure what to expect.
Sunday arrived and with it the public interview with the legendary Isabelle Huppert who also received our highest honour, the Galway Hooker, alongside an overlooked genius of Irish Cinema Frank Stapleton at our awards ceremony. Then it was time for our closing film Shadow Dancer, James Marsh's taught IRA thriller, which capped off a great week in style.
This is all without mentioning the great selection of World Cinema, Documentaries, masterclasses, events and a wedding DJ(!?) set from the godfather of Belfast Punk, TerrI Hooley.
Thank you all for a brilliant Fleadh and see you all next year for our big 25th Birthday celebration!