Galway’s Junior Film Fleadh, the young audiences arm of the prestigious Galway Film Fleadh, is moving into its new home at Pálás Galway this year. And with the move, comes a new emphasis on being a festival for everyone, while keeping the focus on young people. The programme of cinema for the 2018 Junior Film Fleadh is much bigger than in previous years, with films running all day long from Tuesday 6th– Saturday 10thNovember, including the Irish Premiere of comedian Bo Burnham’s highly anticipated Eighth Grade, director Crystal Moselles’ dramatic debut Skate Kitchen, and a special 25th anniversary presentation of Richard Linklater’s classic Dazed and Confused.

“We’ve put together a programme for everyone to come out and enjoy because what we don’t want, is for the Junior Film Fleadh to be the festival version of the kids table,” said Programme Director Will Fitzgerald. “We’re not going to present watered-down cinema to young audiences while the adults enjoy all the hottest new films at the big sister Fleadh in July. Our program is youth-focused but is meant to bring generations together to share in the magic of cinema, and the themes and concerns that the films portray.”

This year’s Junior Film Fleadh is will present some highly anticipated new fiction films and documentaries. Skate Kitchen is the first fiction film from Crystal Moselle, who directed the critically acclaimed 2015 documentary, The WolfpackSkate Kitchen stars the members of a real life all-girl skate crew in New York, who caught the director’s attention on social media and inspired the film. Established names rounding out the cast are Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happiness, The Karate Kid) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange is The New Black).

Eighth Grade is the feature directing debut of comedian Bo Burnham, who was inspired by his own school struggles with anxiety, and cast lead actress Elsie Fisher after he noticed her on YouTube. After the film was given an unfair ‘R’ rating, free public screenings of Eighth Grade were organised in all fifty states in the U.S. by distributor A24, who were determined that young people should be able to see it.

Metal Heart is a new, Irish coming-of-age dramedy about twins sisters Emma and Chantal, whose sibling rivalry threatens to boil over when they’re left alone for the summer. Metal Heart is the feature directing debut of Irish actor Hugh O’Conor (Handsome Devil, Mary Shelley) and stars the Galway Film Fleadh’s 2018 Bingham Ray New Talent Award winner Jordanne Jones, who will both present the film and discuss with the audience after the screening.

Documentaries include Science Fair, a thrilling journey following a diverse mix of teenagers whose goal is to compete in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a highly competitive showcase of the world’s top young scientific minds. Every year, over 1,700 students from 75 countries compete at ISEF, for the coveted top prize that, as one previous winner explains, “will change your life in ways you won’t even comprehend.”

The documentary Amal embarks on a 6 year compelling journey from childhood to adulthood with a feisty teenager growing up in post-revolution Egypt. Amal enjoys playing soccer and going to protest marches with her friends, amidst constant political turmoil. Amal learns the limitations of a patriarchal society, while searching for her place, identity and sexuality in an Arab police state.

There will be a hugely enjoyable programme of classic films – to be revisited, or discovered for the first time – that contextualises the teen movie and its history. Films like Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean in his most famous and final role; George Lucas’s forerunner to Star Wars, American Graffiti (1973), and more, will all be celebrated as early examples of teenage representation in Hollywood. While Richard Linklater’s 1993 modern classic Dazed and Confused will be rolled out to celebrate 25 years since it was released with its ensemble cast of up-and-comers: Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey and Milla Jovovich. The Kids In America classic film programme will run each evening at the Pálás from 8:30pm.

In the way of classic Irish films, we’ve also programmed a special screening of Margo Harkin’s classic Hush-a-bye Baby – shot on 16mm film in Derry and Donegal, and was a groundbreaking film about sexuality and women’s rights in Ireland. The story, about a pregnant Irish girl trying to contact her boyfriend in British prison, is set in Derry in 1984 and was directly influenced by the moral panic which beset Ireland during the first abortion referendum in 1983. The film also features the acting debut of the young Sinéad O’Connor, who also wrote the musical score.

Speaking of classic films, the Junior Film Fleadh kicks off its Saturday programming with a big-screen presentation of some cult classic animations from Fleischer Studios. The stars featured will include Superman, Popeye and Betty Boop. These cartoons had a massive influence of the generations of animators that would follow in their trailblazing footsteps, and who would go on to create many of the television, short and feature length animations we enjoy today. “And what are Saturday morning cartoons without cereal?” asked Fitzgerald. “We’ll have a limited supply of your favourite breakfast cereals to give out to audience members attending our Saturday morning animation programme. Because that’s another tradition that brings different generations of kids together!”

The Junior Film Fleadh will continue to fulfil its education remit, with school bookings available for French, German and Spanish language films on Tuesday  – Thursday mornings, followed by Irish language and social education films playing in the afternoon. These include films like Around Here, a rural Irish coming-of-age drama, exploring themes of mental health. Around Here will be presented by director Martin Beirne who will be on hand for discussion after the screening. And Director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) will present Shelter Me, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the take-over of Apollo House in Dublin on Christmas 2016. An insightful look at Ireland’s homelessness crisis, Sheridan produced and stars in the documentary, and will take part in a post-screening Q+A. Our scheduled screenings for The Chessplayer, Miss Impossible, Keeper and Mountain Miracle have sold out but we have additional availability Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon + Friday morning. Please contact the office for more information.

For the full line-up of feature films, short films and filmmaking workshops taking place as part of the 2018 Junior Film Fleadh, visit this page. Teachers can make group bookings via this link or by calling 091 562200. Individual tickets can also be purchased via the website or on the door.

The Junior Film Fleadh takes place from November 6th– 10that Pálás Galway.