Galway Film Fleadh has announced their 2019 programme which includes 95 sensational International and Irish feature films. As an international Film Festival renowned for being an Irish launching pad for cinema talent, this year’s programme continues to reinforce that reputation with a carefully curated selection of features from 36 countries including 10 World Premieres. An impressive 30 films are feature directorial debuts and over 40% of films are by female filmmakers. The festival prides itself on being a beacon for new voices and emerging talent in the film industry.
This year’s programme includes an unmissable programme of New Irish Cinema, featuring a number of World Premieres from talented Irish directors. This home-grown programme includes the very best in dramatic and comedic features in addition to a range of fascinating documentaries which cover a range of topics across politics, the arts, culinary innovation and human rights.
New Irish Cinema Highlights include, Jihad Jane a compelling debut documentary from emerging Irish filmmaker Ciaran Cassidy which paints an intriguing portrait of the online post-9/11 world. Finky, directed by Dathaí Keane (An Klondike), is a boldly original, stylish Irish-language drama about a musician and puppeteer who finds his way into a hellish circus troupe. Breaking Out, a documentary filmed over 10 years about the larger-than-life musician Fergus O’Farrell who, undaunted by his diagnosis with muscular dystrophy, continued to tour and compose music for the Oscar® winning film, Once. The doc has a special connection to the Film Fleadh, as the festival to give Once its World Premiere in 2006. Bruno, directed by Karl Golden and starring Diarmuid Murtagh, is a gritty, bittersweet drama about a homeless Irishman in London. Animals (Sophie Hyde) is based on the acclaimed novel by Emma Jane Unsworth which tells the hedonistic female-driven story of two thirty-something party-mad friends who wreak havoc on the streets of Dublin.
Speaking at the programme launch, Director of Programming Will Fitzgerald talked about the line-up by relating a story about watching Agnès Varda’s last film, which plays on the closing day of the Fleadh: “This year’s Fleadh is as much about celebrating cinematic accomplishments as discovering new talent. Inspired by the Gleaner herself, I’d been taking a trip down cinema lane, gleaning some of the highlights. This year’s Fleadh has got tributes to Varda, cinematographer Robby Müller, an animated biopic of Luis Buñuel, documentaries on the composer Scott Walker and the making of Alien, and more.”
Other festival highlights include Never Grow Old, the festival’s closing film from Irish director Ivan Kavanagh and starring Emile Hirsch and John Cusack, is a dark Western tale about an Irish undertaker on the American frontier. Sing me Back Home, the festival’s opening film, is French actress Sandrine Dumas’ (Let the Sunshine In) compelling directorial debut. Bait, Mark Jenkin’s film shot on a 1976 Bolex 16mm camera and processed by hand, is dripping with texture as it tells the compelling story of a Cornish fisherman without a boat.
A Bread Factory, a film in two parts is Patrick Wang’s newest film after 2015’s The Grief of Others, a small-town comedy drama with a refreshingly original voice, and starring TV’s legendary Tyne Dale (Cagney & Lacey).
Rounding out the premieres and Q+A’s are a range of event screenings, panel discussions and public interviews which include a dog- friendly screening of the wonderful documentary Buddy about the bond between guide dogs and their owners, a special Singalong version of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid and Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody, a captivating portrait of Galway’s artistic community, including author Mike McCormack, comedian Tommy Tiernan, poet Rita Ann Higgins, Macnas and many more.
The 2019 Film Fleadh features a culinary cinema strand including the World Premiere of Stage: The Culinary Internship, a shocking restaurant exposé the reliance of Michelin star restaurants on unpaid internships, among other films including The Heat: A Kitchen (R )evolution, championing the work of female chefs in the restaurant industry.
The festival will present a series of political documentaries in a section titled The Film Fleadh Goes to Washington, featuring incredible insight and archive footage. These include Watergate – Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President which is presented in two parts plus Active Measures, an well researched look at Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and Dark Money, which follows the money trail behind U.S. politics and a shocking fly-on-the-wall portrait of Steve Bannon called The Brink.
The programme also brings back its selection of music-related films including opening night late film Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love about the late Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen. This strand will also feature Once Aurora, Every Night’s a Saturday Night and Heyday: The Mic Christopher Story, spotlighting artists AURORA, Rolling Stones’ sax player Bobby Keys and the late Irish singer/songwriter Mic Christopher respectively.
On the closing night the hottest ticket in town is for the Film Fleadh Awards Ceremony, which include the sought after Bingham Ray New Talent Award, for which five filmmakers across the fields of directing, producing and acting have been nominated. The 2019 nominees are directors Mike Ahern (Extra Ordinary), Enda Loughman (Extra Ordinary), actor Lola Petticrew (A Bump Along the Way), actor Lauryn Canny (Darlin’) and director Tristan Heanue (Ciúnas (Silence)).
The 31st Galway Film Fleadh takes place from 9th-14th July in the Town Hall Theatre and Pálás cinema, Galway.