Our opening film on Tuesday, 10th July is The Belly of the Whale. The first feature film from director Morgan Bushe, the cast includes Michael Smiley (A Field in England), Pat Shortt (Garage), Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls), Art Parkinson (I Kill Giants) and Peter Coonan (Love/Hate). Bushe has previously produced acclaimed Irish films The Lotus Eaters, The Other Side of Sleep and Anton Corbijn Inside Out.

After breaking free from his foster home, feral teenager Joey Moody returns to Laytown, a rural Irish town just over the horizon, in a bid to reclaim his family’s caravan park and salvage his friendship with his best mate and drinking partner, Lanks. Meanwhile, on a mission to find the money to pay for his sick wife’s medication. Ronald Tanner, a fractured soul, risks his meagre lifesavings on a get-rich-quick scheme that ends in abject failure and humiliation the hands of local big shot Gits Hegarty, pushing Ronald over the edge and off the wagon.

After Joey accidentally torches Ronald’s campervan and is forced to find the cash to repay him, the strange pair find themselves bonded together in misfortune. In an effort to change their crummy existence they concoct a slapdash plan to rob the Pleasurama, the local amusement arcade, and the domain of the iniquitous Gits. All that stands in their way of the good life is a group of toughs, their own incompetence, and fate itself.

Director Morgan Bushe said, “”It was always our hope to screen The Belly of the Whale at the Galway Film Fleadh so we’re delighted and honoured that it’s been selected to open the festival and would like to take this opportunity to thank Miriam and Will for giving us this platform to launch the film ahead of its Irish theatrical release. In the past I’ve shown all my shorts in the Town Hall so I know already how great the audiences are and I’m looking forward, along with our prodigious cast and crew, to now bringing my debut feature.”

Film Fleadh programmer Will Fitzgerald said, “The Belly of the Whale is the perfect film to open this year’s Film Fleadh. As a festival of discovery, we’re proud to open with Morgan’s first feature – a fun, anarchic Irish crime drama with an interesting mix of Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish acting talent.”

 The Belly of the Whale screens at 7:30pm on Tuesday 10th July, followed by a Q+A with cast & crew and an Opening Night Reception.  Click here to purchase tickets.