The 18th Galway Film Fleadh was the perfect mix of World and Irish Cinema and continued in its tradition of encouraging diversity and originality in film-making,
The Fleadh opened with Steen Agro’s debut feature, Shut Up And Shoot Me. This clever black comedy, a co-production between the UK and the Czech Republic, got the Fleadh off to a flying start and was followed by a Q+A session with the director. Afterwards, revellers were treated to a set by the always brilliant Alabama 3 at the Galway Rowing Club.
The 18th Galway Film Fleadh was honoured to pay tribute to one of the most versatile and sought-after actors in contemporary cinema, Kathy Bates. Perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning performance as Annie Wilkes in Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990), Kathy Bates has garnered praise from critics and audiences alike for a dazzling career that has seen her turn to direction in recent years and made her a natural choice to host the 2006 Actors’ Masterclass as well as being the subject of our Public Interview. The Fleadh was proud to screen a selection of her films, including Primary Colours, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafÈ and About Schmidt (for which she earned her second Oscar) as well as a special outdoor screening of Misery at Eyre Square.
Another Oscar-winner (and all-round Screenwriting legend), Robert Towne hosted the Screenwriting Masterclass. Towne, whose screenplay for Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) is oft regarded as the holy grail of American Screenwriting, is responsible for the writing of such seminal scripts as Shampoo and The Last Detail, scripts that would ultimately be transposed to some of the defining American Films of the 1970’s. With this in mind the Fleadh screened a selection of films that cemented his position as one of the pre-eminent screenwriters of our time. These included The Last Detail, Without Limits and the incomparable Chinatown.
Last Year’s Director’s Masterclass was hosted by legendary British Director Nic Roeg. An adventurous and challenging director, Roeg is responsible for some of the most stylish, otherworldly and unique films of the last four decades. After collaborating with Donald Cammell on Performance (1970) Roeg then shot, directed and edited Walkabout (1971), a coming of age story set in the Australian outback. In 1973 Roeg made Don’t Look Now, often regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, though its complex structure and powerful exploration of themes such as grief transcend such simple genre descriptions. Similarly genre defying, 1976’s The Man Who Fell To Earth made smart use of David Bowie’s otherworldliness by casting him as benevolent alien Thomas Jerome Newton in a complex Science-Fiction love-story. Roeg had a succession of films in the 1980’s and 19990’s such as Track 29, Bad Timing and The Witches and has recently completed Puffball, an Irish set horror film starring Donald Sutherland. As part of our Masterclass series of films the Fleadh was proud to screen Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth and Track 29.
The Galway Film Fair, Ireland ’s only film market, was in full swing over the weekend, with some 600 meetings held in three days. Financiers from United Artists, Miramax, HBO Films, UK Film Council, Ingenious Films, Nexus, NDR, Irish Film Board, TG4 and RTE were out in force meeting with Irish directors and producers.
The 18th Galway Film Fleadh came to a dramatic end as the award winners were announced to a packed auditorium in Galway ’s Town Hall Theatre immediately before a special preview presentation of David Gleeson’s Frontline. This year’s Audience Award for Best First Feature went to Niall Heery’s Small Engine Repair. Starring Iain Glen, Small Engine Repair tells the story of Doug, an aspiring country musician in his forties who has hit rock bottom, both personally and musically, as he is handed one last chance to make it to the big time. Brian Kirk’s Middletown won second place with its atmospheric and explosive tale of one cleric’s chilling determination to rid a rural town of its corruption and sin.
The hugely powerful The Trials of Daryl Hunt won the Best Feature Documentary Award. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s shocking account of an innocent man who spent twenty years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit is a provocative and haunting examination of a community and indeed a criminal justice system subject to racial bias and tainted by fear. As well as the two directors, Darryl Hunt himself attended the Fleadh and received a rapturous standing ovation when he was presented to the audience following the screening. Ray McCormack’s A Crude Awakening secured second place with its compelling, intelligent and highly entertaining examination of our society’s dependence on oil and the disturbing ramifications thereof.
The Shorts section was a hotly contested battle as over 100 short films competed for the various titles on offer. The RTE Two Best First Irish Short went to Rebecca Daly’s Joyrider’s, with The White Dress by Vanessa Gildea coming in second. The Tiernan McBride Award for Best Irish Short went to David O’Sullivan for his film Nun More Deadly. Second place went to Venom by John Hayes. The Documentary and Animation awards were of an equally high standard with Best Irish Short documentary going to Christy by Alex Gill with Fran Apprich’s James taking second place. Best Irish Short Animation went to Eoin Ryan’s Demon and Badly Drawn Roy by Alan Shannon won second place. Finally the RTE Two Best First Irish Short Animation Award went to Big Rock Candy Mountain by Ian Kenny with Wednesday by Sam Keogh taking the runner-up spot.
With over 70 feature films, over 100 shorts and various documentaries, animations, seminars, debates and discussions, the 18th Galway Film Fleadh programme was designed to suit every palate. And so after a jam packed six days of films, interviews, seminars, masterclasses, debates and discussions the 18th Galway Film Fleadh drew to a close.
2006 AWARD WINNERS
Best First Feature
1st Small Engine Repair - Dir. Niall Heery | Prod. Tristan Orpen Lynch, Dominic Wright
2nd Middletown - Dir. Brian Kirk | Prod. Michael Casey
Best Feature Documentary
1st The Trials of Darryl Hunt - Dir. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg | Prod. Katie Brown, William Rexer II, Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg
2nd A Crude Awakening - Dir. Ray McCormack, Basil Gelpke | Prod. Ray McCormack, Basil Gelpke
RTÉ Two Best First Irish Short
1st Joyriders – Dir. Rebecca Daly | Prod. Rachel Lysaght
2nd The White Dress – Dir. Vanessa Gildea | Prod. David Lawless
Best Irish Shorts -Tiernan MacBride Award
1st Nun More Deadly – Dir. David O’Sullivan | Prod. WYD-Eye Film Unit, Bonnie Dempsey
2nd Venom – Dir. John Hayes | Prod. Karel Pavlosky
Special Mention for Orginality Buail – Dir. Steve Woods | Prod. Catherine Lyons
Best Irish Short Documentary
1st Christy – Dir. Alex Gill | Prod. Michael Donnelly
2nd James – Dir. Fran Apprich | Prod. Fran Apprich
Special Recommendation Gnáth Phíosa Éadach/A Simple Piece of Cloth - Dir. Andrew Freedman | Prod. Roisín Loughrey
Best Irish Short Animation
1st Demon – Dir. Eoin Ryan | Prod. Seamus Byrne
2nd Badly Drawn Roy – Dir. Alan Shannon | Prod. Mark Cumberton and Iseri Ó Siocháin
Special Commendation (in no particular order)
Pilgrim – Dir. Matthew Darragh | Prod. Gerrard O'Rourke and Jason Tammemagi
Horn OK Please - Dir. Joel Simon | Prod. Joel Simon
RTÉ Two Best First Irish Short Animation
1st Big Rock Candy Mountain – Dir. Ian Kenny | Prod. Anne Tweedy
2nd Wednesday – Dir. Sam Keogh | Prod. Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology
Special Commendation Noise Interupted – Dir. Chris O’Hara | Prod. Chris O’Hara
Mark Wale for Physical Memory Dump