30th Galway Film Fleadh 10th – 15th July 2018
It’s that time of year again, and we are excited to once more showcase Galway as the beating heart of cinema in Ireland.
In the 12 months since our last Fleadh we’ve been encouraged and delighted by the success of some of the films showcased at Fleadh 28. A Date for Mad Mary, Bobby Sands: 66 Days and The Young Offenders were all bona fide critical and commercial hits (the latter in record-breaking fashion), while Cardboard Gangsters, Twice Shy, In View and many more have more recently had successful theatrical runs and cemented their place in the Irish cinema psyche. It’s a lot to live up to! But, looking at the films we have lined up for you for our 29th edition we are happy to confirm that the next 12 months will be another great year for Irish film. We can’t wait to host the World Premieres of films like Maze, Limbo, Penance, The Silver Branch, The Drummer & the Keeper, and Michael Inside and look forward to seeing these titles (and many more) take off over the next 12 months, as well as some surprise packages you’ll find within this year’s programme.
Another thing we are often associated with is socially conscious cinema. We believe that cinema has the power to not only inform, but to change, to convince, to mobilise people. We are proud to present an expanded selection of films this year that engage with some of the biggest issues around Ireland and the world. These features and documentaries explore topics as diverse as the Irish homeless crisis, the legacy of the Troubles, the plight of refugees, rape culture, the Irish prison system, the horrific issue of female genital mutilation, the Israel/Palestine conflict and the continuing fight for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and queer rights.
Other programme highlights include a focus on Polish cinema, featuring work that covers everything from Albert Camus’ The Stranger, communist-era serial killers, and the trials of a female sexologist who managed to upset both church and state. We also have a set list of classic and new material for our Music strand, a showcase of the best cinema made in, by and about Galway, and, of course, the best in short film, new independent Irish film and some of the best cinema from around the world. Also, everyone should give Southland Tales another go. It’s brilliant and you were all wrong the first time!
Every night, our Festival HQ (located in the Galway Rowing Club) will be open to all holders of tickets from that day’s films. Gather with us and tell stories about the stories you’ve just seen!
New Irish Documentary
We have a strong reputation for presenting the best in New Irish Documentary cinema and this year we are excited to present the world premieres of a number of exciting titles on a wide range of topics. Highlights include: Rocky Ros Muc, about Connemara native and boxing legend Seán Mannion; The Silver Branch about Burren-based poet, farmer, philosopher and ordinary Irishman Patrick McCormack; Condemned to Remember, which follows Irish Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental as he embarks on an epic journey across a Europe in turmoil; and In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America, which charts how the politician created the framework for peace in Northern Ireland. Other world premieres include the powerful Jaha’s Promise, the moving It Tolls for Thee, and the remarkable Thanks to Your Noble Shadow.
Another World Premiere and Irish Co-production is Butterfly City, a smart and sensitive portrayal of a city that refuses to die and the people who have made it their home. Other highlights include Elián which uses one boy’s remarkable journey to examine a pivotal moment in turbulent Cuban and US relations, A Cambodian Spring, an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia, The Farthest, a stunning ode to the Voyager space probe told with humour and style and The Peacemaker, an intimate portrait of international peacemaker Padraig O’Malley, who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself.
Talking Film: Panels & Discussions
During each festival, we present a series of panel discussions that will interest filmgoers and filmmakers alike. Held in a number of venues around the Fleadh, these panels are free* so everybody has a chance to learn from our fimmakers’ experiences. Audience members are encouraged to contribute. Topics cover issues such as the art and commerce of the short film, a series of panels on women in film and much more.
* with the exception of ‘Special Guest Panellist Discussion Topic’
On The Box
A selection of made-for-broadcast documentaries. Admission to each film is €5.00.
On the documentary front we have Kedi an enchanting and surprisingly moving film about the cats of Istanbul; City of Ghosts, filmmaker Matthew Heineman’s follow up to Cartel Land; Paa Joe & the Lion, about an acclaimed artist in Ghana’s fantasy coffin trade, and Flames, a truly unique documentary/fiction hybrid which traces the co-directors’ passionate first months of uninterrupted love and inevitable relationship disintegration in startling fashion.
Other documentary titles
Galway is Film
Each year, the Fleadh delights in showcasing the best of cinema to the people of Galway and also in showcasing Galway to the world via our Galway is Film strand. Aside from our rich artistic heritage and reputation as the cultural heart of Ireland (Croí Cultúrtha na hÉireann) Galway is one of only eight UNESCO Cities of Film worldwide. The development of the film sector in Galway has been staggering and is today worth over €72 million to the local economy. First off, we are proud to open the festival with Pat Collins’ stunning Song of Granite, which was filmed in Galway and tells the story of celebrated sean nós singer Joe Heaney. Next up is Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage, a one-of-akind Irish medieval thriller featuring the wilds of Connemara. Rocky Ros Muc is a moving portrait of boxer Sean Mannion, who came from humble beginnings in the Gaeltacht to challenge for the WBA world title in New York. Poc na nGael, from Galway director Eamon O’Cualain, sees Ger Loughnane trace the vast influence that the Irish have had on the game of ice hockey. The Irish Film Institute returns to the Fleadh with a programme of sound and silent films about and from Galway. The Way Out West shorts programme presents work from West of Ireland-based filmmakers. We are delighted to welcome the return of the Galway Film Centre’s One Minute Film Festival and also to again screen a ‘2017 Best Of’ showcase from Galway’s premiere grassroots short film event Little Cinema Galway.
Each year, the Fleadh is honoured to present a wide-ranging and engaging programme of the best in world cinema and documentaries. Highlights this year include The Big Sick, a smash hit at Sundance, tracing comedian Kumail Nanjiani’s real-life relationship with his now-wife Emily V. Gordon; God’s Own Country – another Sundance hit – which tells the story of a rural romance that dare not speak its name in the West Yorkshire countryside; David Lowery’s A Ghost Story is “an exquisite, thoughtful, moving and truly wonderful piece of cinema”; and the Irish premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
Other highlights include Peter Mackie Burns’ Daphne, an intimate character study of a 31-year-old singleton who goes off the rails after witnessing a random act of violence; Mad to be Normal, which features a standout performance from David Tennant as renegade Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing; Paulo Genovese’s Italian box-office darling Perfect Strangers, where friends play a dangerous game reading each other’s texts aloud at a dinner party; Ana, Mon Amour, Romanian director Călin Peter Netzer’s Silver Bear-winning follow-up to Child’s Pose and Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s early feature, The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood, about the last years of the Shah, the revolution and its painful aftermath, which was recently smuggled out of Iran.
Other titles include:
New Irish Cinema
As always, the Galway Film Fleadh is THE place to see the best in Irish cinema and this year we have a bumper programme including a whopping 16 world premieres.
Highlights include the world premiere of Frank Berry’s Michael Inside, an arresting feature about a young man who is sentenced to a life-altering term in prison after holding drugs for a friend’s brother; Maze, starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward and Martin McCann, follows the true events of the infamous 1983 breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP; and The Drummer & the Keeper, which traces the unlikely friendship between a 25-year-old bipolar drummer and a 17-year-old goalkeeper with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Other world premieres include Gerard Barrett’s Limbo, in which we spend 24 hours in the life of a young Irish mother and child battling homelessness; and Tom Collins’ Aithrí (Penance), an Irish-language thriller set in 1916 and during the Troubles; Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage, meanwhile, sees a group of monks begin a treacherous expedition across 13th-century Ireland, and Bad Day for the Cut follows a middle-aged Irish farmer embarking on a mission of revenge against his mother’s killers.
Aisling Walsh’s Maudie follows Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis as she falls in love with a fishmonger (Ethan Hawke); and Pat Collins’ portrait of traditional Irish singer and Galway native Joe Heaney, Song of Granite is sure to enchant audiences on opening night.
The Fleadh’s robust short film line-up not only represents the best in new and established voices in Irish cinema, but also provides a unique international platform to showcase the best Irish short lms on the world stage. Our competitive Short Film programme offers an exciting mix of drama, documentary and animation. The winners of the Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama and the James Horgan Award for Best Short Animation will gain eligibility for Oscar consideration.
This year, we welcome the return of our short film discussion panel, dedicated to emerging and established short film makers. Following the panel there will be an opportunity to network for anyone interested in the art and commerce of short filmmaking.
In addition to screening over 70 short films, we are delighted to screen shorts funded by the Irish Film Board, including the World Premieres of their Short Stories films and IFB Frameworks animations. On Sunday, we celebrate the vibrant film industry in Ireland by showcasing Irish animation talent. This programme features an abundance of styles and themes, from old-school stop- motion to dark comedy, and also the film adaptation of the classic Irish novel An Béal Bocht. Our documentary programme presents a hypnotic and emotional journey exploring a variety of themes, from human rights to traditional crafts, vintage motorcycles to Olympic dreams.
Short film making is not just a stepping stone to features. We have been excited and encouraged to see Irish short films continue to box above their weight internationally. We are proud to give such a high-profile platform to an art-form that we as a nation excel at.
Out On Film
Once again, the Fleadh is proud to bring a programme of the best in LGBTQI cinema from around the world to our audiences in Galway. We are excited to present the Irish Premiere of God’s Own Country, a Yorkshire-set story about a relationship between a farmer and an immigrant worker in a beautifully judged, unsentimental study from first time director Francis Lee. Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, meanwhile, examines the life and work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions to claim their own truth.
The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson charts an investigation into the still-unsolved death of trans icon Marsha P. Johnson, along the way illuminating the persistent discrimination that exists today, and the bonds of community designed to counter it, while Chavela is a vivid portrayal of Mexican singing legend Chavela Vargas, an artistic, social and sexual rebel whose difficult but finally triumphant life finally proved that there sometimes really are second acts in showbiz.
Finally, Small Talk is a Taiwanese documentary that explores the identity of a lesbian mother’s past and extraordinary relationship with her filmmaker daughter Hui-Chen Huang. Expertly crafted with long cinematic takes to truly convey the depth of topics discussed, the film covers Asian family ties and communication barriers, LGBTQ life in Taiwan, mental health, as well as hope and healing for the future.
Mixtape: Music, Movies and Mavericks
The Fleadh was founded with something of a fiercely independent, rock n’ roll attitude at its core. And so, it’s with a great sense of excitement that we present this year’s selection of music cinema featuring some of the most fearlessly independent spirits in music.
Executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, Long Strange Trip is THE definitive Grateful Dead documentary. At three hours and 58 minutes, it has the “sprawl and generosity of a classic Dead show”. Amir Bar-Lev’s epic chronicle is likely to convert agnostics and newcomers alike with its warm, insightful look at one of America’s greatest and most enduring bands. At the other end of the sonic spectrum we find Whitney: Can I Be Me, an emotional testament to Whitney Huston, a once-in-a-generation voice and one of the most tragic public figures that popular entertainment has ever known. Inertia Variations follows Matt Johnson of THE THE, who has remained silent as a singer/songwriter for 15 years. Now, a new song request for his 12-hour shortwave radio broadcast reveals old demons.
Narrated by Stevie Van Zandt, Bang! The Bert Berns Story, follows the most important ‘60s songwriter and producer that you’ve never heard of. He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond, and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Monterey Pop is a 50th anniversary restoration of the landmark 1968 concert film, featuring career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel and more.
And closing our set we have The Man from Mo’Wax – a pulsating documentary charting the extraordinary life and career of underground DJ icon, music producer and global trip-hop mogul, James Lavelle (UNKLE). Starring DJ Shadow, 3D of Massive Attack, Futura, Ian Brown, Grandmaster Flash and Josh Homme.
Focus on Poland
In the year in which we lost cinematic titan Andrzej Wajda, it seems appropriate to make Poland our country in focus this year. Featuring new work by fellow trail-blazer Agnieszka Holland and films from some of Poland’s freshest new voices, our Focus on Poland strand offers a glimpse at the cinematic landscape of another European co-production powerhouse, and a people who have become inextricably tied to our own.
Features include Spoor: Agnieszka Holland’s Silver Bear winning film; an eccentric and delightful murder mystery set in a Polish mountain village. The Sun, the Sun Blinded Me: the third feature by Wilhelm and Anka Sasnal puts a modern spin on Camus’s The Stranger, relocating its plot from the Mediterranean outskirts of Algiers to the cold, austere Baltic Sea. The Art of Loving: Polish pop star Maria Sadowska, paints a portrait of Michalina Wislocka, the most famous sexologist of communist Poland and her fight for the right to publish her book, which would change the sex lives of Polish people forever. I’m a Killer: a thriller set in 1970s’ communist Poland about a young detective who becomes the head of a police unit focused on catching a rampant serial killer, nicknamed ‘The Silesian Vampire’. Playground: a controversial debut feature that has elicited walk-outs and applause in equal measure. This real-life horror story transplants the infamous case of the murder of Jamie Bulger to contemporary urban Poland. Finally, we have Bogdan’s Journey: a documentary about Bogdan Białek, a Catholic Pole, journalist and psychologist who, determined to heal historical wounds, launches a crusade to reconcile Poles and Jews in Kielce, Poland, where townspeople killed over 40 Holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building.
The Irish animation industry has grown so much in the last decade; it is central to Ireland’s digital and creative arts economy, it employs over 1,600 full-time staff, has been the site of some of the Irish film industry’s highest international accolades, and millions of children watch animated programmes produced in Ireland.
This year, we have two programmes of Irish shorts, showcasing some of the most talented Irish animators of tomorrow: The Irish Film Board curated programme alongside a selection of the finest animated shorts submitted to us this year. We also have three animation awards including our Oscar-qualifying category for short animation. As Ireland takes its place among the world stage of first-class animation producers, we are delighted to screen three of the best new animated features to emerge from beyond these shores.
Dystopian fantasy Birdboy: The Forgotten Children follows Dinky and her friends as they plan to escape a post-apocalyptic island in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. Unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever.
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea is a unique high school mumblecore disaster comedy. High schoolers are decapitated, lunch ladies have super strength, relationships are broken, fixed, and broken again, all while the director deftly switches animation styles from Squigglevision to impressionism and back again.
Lastly we have family fun in the form of Richard the Stork, which tells the story of a sparrow who grows up with a stork family convinced he is a stork himself. When the migratory birds leave to spend the winter in Africa, Richard, wanting to prove he is one of them, hitchhikes through Europe, joined in his travels by an eccentric owl with an imaginary friend and a narcissistic, disco-singing parakeet.
The Fleadh believes that cinema has the power to shed light on human rights abuses and also the power to affect real change. This year’s Human Rights programme focuses on today’s pressing global concerns, including the refugee crisis, female genital mutilation, and the damage caused by conflicts across the world.
Titles include Elián, which explores how a five-year-old Cuban boy named Elián González changed the course of US-Cuban relations when he was found floating through the Florida Straits one Thanksgiving Day. Jaha’s Promise is a story about a woman who confronts global taboos: female genital mutilation and forced marriage. In 69 Minutes of 86 Days, we travel alongside three-year-old Lean who shows us the courage Syrian refugees must have to search for a better life. Bogdan’s Journey tells the story of a man raising awareness about the antisemitism in Poland at the end of WWII. Condemned to Remember follows Irish Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental as he embarks on a journey across a Europe in turmoil and discovers a strong bond with Syrian refugees. Disturbing the Peace tracks a group of former enemies on their transformational journey from soldiers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to non-violent peace activists. The Peacemaker follows Padraig O’Malley to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq, as he works a peace-making model based on his recovery from addiction. In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America is a powerful documentary based on the legendary Northern Irish politician who, through his relationships with the White House and US Congress, created the framework for peace in Northern Ireland.