The 35th edition of the Galway Film Fleadh brought powerful, moving, funny and provocative storytelling from both emerging and renowned filmmakers to Galway last July. Running from the 11 – 16 July, the programme featured innumerable sold-out screenings and showcased 195 films from 43 countries, including 21 World Premieres and 60 Irish Premieres. It also served as a launching pad for 32 first features and emerging talents.
Highlights included an advance screening of Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s, The Miracle Club, the World Premieres of Irish films, Apocalypse Clown, Lies We Tell, The Martini Shot, Face Down, Verdigris and Made In Dublin, the Irish premiere of acclaimed debut film, Past Lives with director Céline Song in attendance and the Irish premiere of the winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale, On The Adamant from director Nicholas Philibert.
The programme also introduced new strands such as Artist On Film, Defender and Architecture on Film. An impressive music programme featured documentaries about prolific artists like Joan Baez, Cyndi Lauper, and John Murry. Agnes O’Casey was honoured with the Bingham Ray New Talent Award for her performances in Lies We Tell and The Miracle Club. Special guests included: Celine Song, Matthew Modine, Fiona Glascott, Stuart Townsend, Carol Morley, Pollyanna McIntosh, Natalie Palamides, Amy De Bhrún, Fionn Foley, Ivan Kaye, Geraldine McAlinden, Maya O Shea, Carol Dysinger, Roddy Doyle, Agnes O’Casey, David Wilmot.
Director of Programming, Maeve McGrath noted, “In 2023, the Galway Film Fleadh celebrated 35 years of bringing the best of Irish Film, World cinema and industry events to Galway. It was an exciting year with new programme strands introduced, increased box office and we look forward to 2024 and the exciting opportunities in film that lie ahead.”
Galway Film Fleadh is committed to embedding and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into all our activities and working practices. In 2023, our target of a 50% gender representation was achieved with 51% of films directed by Female Directors, 49% of films directed by Male Directors.
The Fleadh is an OSCAR® qualifying festival, the winners of Best Animation (Worry World), the Tiernan McBride Award for Best Short Drama (Two for the Road) and Best Short Documentary (Being Put Back Together) will look to build on their success in Galway as they bid to secure a spot in the Academy Awards nominations next year. Additionally, the Fleadh screened In the Shadow of Beirut, which has now been selected as Ireland’s pick for the Academy Awards. We extend our wishes to them for all the success and luck on their journey. See full list of 2023 award winners here.
Galway Film Fair, running parallel to the Fleadh, marked its 27th year with its largest-ever event. Central to the Fair’s success is The Marketplace event which coordinates approximately 700 pre-scheduled meetings annually between filmmakers with projects in development (and/or completed films) and invited Film Financiers, Distributors, Sales Agents, Broadcasters, Film Funds and Major Producers from over 30 countries. This year, attendees included: XYZ Films, Neon, StudioCanal, Eurimages, Film 4, Kinology, Picture Tree International, Visit Films, Epic Pictures and more. The Marketplace also awarded a €3,000 Award in association with Bankside Films for the best project, in the Marketplace.
Galway Film Fair Manager Liz Quinn noted: “We were delighted with the unprecedented response and the enthusiasm for both the Marketplace and the many industry events this year, delegates commented on the wonderful atmosphere and energy of the Fair. In particular, we were very excited to present VR and Gaming strands which is a new immersive initiative that we intend to build upon.”
Galway Film Fair’s expanded programme featured diverse events this year, which included Virtual Reality screenings, a Video Game Pitching session, a practical ICVFX Virtual Production demonstration, a session on sustainability practices in Irish film productions, and a panel on Neurodiversity in the Screen Industry. The Fair also hosted Masterclasses with renowned actor Matthew Modine and acclaimed writer/director Carol Morley, Industry Panels, the European Co-Production Dinner with Creative Europe, Screen Ireland’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations, The Annual Pitching Competition, and various Industry Seminars and Events and collaborations with various partners.
GENERATION Fleadh formerly Junior Film Fleadh, took place this year throughout October and November which included a 5-day event featuring film screenings, workshops, and an educational film programme and the GEN Beyond outreach programme. 2023 marked a transformative year for the festival, not just in name but in spirit. The fresh new branding and name, shaped by youth voices, was created to represent something exciting and approachable for young people, while also aligning with the tastes and trends of its Gen Z target audience.
GENERATION Fleadh showcased 12 feature films from 9 countries, including 8 Irish Premieres. Special interviews with German actress Luna Jordan of Dead Girls Dancing, Irish filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan (To the Moon) and producer Jennifer Healy (Ó Bhéal) were among highlights. Extending its reach to other events, GENERATION Fleadh participated in other events such as the Young Audience Film Day hosted by the European Film Academy. As part of GEN Beyond, three events were organised; Tuam Cinema Day, Virtual Reality & Irish language screenings in Inis Oírr, and a Studio Visit to TG4 & Fíbin.
Galway Film Fleadh, CEO Miriam Allen noted that, “This year’s Fleadh marked a significant milestone. In addition to celebrating our 35th year, we welcomed a new Director of Programming and Film Fair Manager, hosted the largest-ever Galway Film Fair, and presented a film programme of unparalleled quality. Looking ahead, we anticipate 2024 will be yet another special year.”
Film submissions are now open for the 2024 Galway Film Fleadh which will take place from 9 – 14 July 2024. Visit our Submissions page for more details, upcoming deadlines, and terms & conditions.
Full 2024 gallery available on our website here.
We look forward to seeing you next year!