Monday 4 July 2011

Lights, Camera Action! The 23rd Galway Film Fleadh is back

Between the 5th and 10th of July this year, film-lovers will delight as Ireland’s leading film festival rolls out a stellar selection of the best in new Irish cinema, feature documentaries, world cinema and short films. From Korea to the Congo, Argentina to India, Germany to Japan, the Fleadh presents a rich selection of cinema from more than 35 countries, and a wealth of World, European and Irish premieres.

Award-winning actor Martin Sheen will attend the Fleadh for the world premiere of Stella Days, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s remarkable film about a priest’s attempts to set up a cinema in rural 1950’s Ireland, despite opposition from parishioners. The esteemed star of such films as Apocalypse Now, Badlands and the seminal TV series The West Wing will also be the subject of the prestigious Galway Film Fleadh Public Interview on Sunday July 10 in the Galway Town Hall Theatre.

The Fleadh is honoured to host the world premiere of Bernadette-notes on a political journey, Lelia Doolan’s a powerful new documentary on the life and work of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Other premieres include Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a ground-breaking hybrid of performance-art and investigative documentary that tackles the US military’s controversial stance on homo-sexuality, and Irish director Neil Dowling’s debut Sarang Hey!, a globe-trotting romance set between Berlin and Seoul, as well many more.

In addition to World Premieres The Fleadh continues its rich tradition of showcasing new talent from both at home and abroad. On Tuesday June 5th the Fleadh will open with Darragh Bryne’s first feature Parked, a wonderful tale of an unlikely friendship between the unemployed middle-aged Fred and the dope smoking Cathal. John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard is another impressive first feature. Shot and set on the West Coast of Ireland and starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, The Guard is a refreshing mix of uniquely Irish humour and pathos.

The Other Side of Sleep, Rebecca Daly’s dark, dream-like and ultimately beautiful debut sits comfortably alongside Alexandra McGuinness’ energetic, stylish and unerringly hip first-feature Lotus Eaters as statements of intent from two of Ireland’s most promising young directors. And then there’s Charlie Casanova. Terry McMahon’s debut feature is a jet-black examination of the legacy of the Celtic Tiger and it’s dehumanizing effect on people like the titular Charlie, a monstrous caricature of unstable Irish masculinity.

New Irish Cinema from established directors include Mary McGuckian’s Man on the Train, a heart-rending film starring Donald Sutherland and Larry Mullen (In his acting debut) as a retired literature professor and a laconic bank-robber respectively and Gerard Hurley’s The Pier, meanwhile, tells the story of Jack McCarthy’s return to Ireland after 20 years in America to help his ailing father.

As always The Fleadh will screen an exceptional line-up of international features including No Return, Miguel Cohan’s intricately crafted thriller about a man convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. Some Other Stories is a film which describes the differing attitudes to motherhood from five different women in five different countries and Girlfriend, a drama about a young man with Down Syndrome has a crush on a single mum, is a refreshingly honest approach to a difficult subject-matter.

A real treat for audiences is Suzanne Bier’s In a Better World, which won the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, and Tomboy a sensitive and charming portrayal of gender ambiguity in young adolescents. Above Us Only Sky tells the story of Martha who loses her husband in mysterious circumstances and is just one of the films presented in association with the Goethe-Institut as part of a selection of the best in new and classic German Cinema. The Fleadh will also screen a vibrant selection of LGBT-interest films including the 80 Days, a tale of two women in their seventies who find each other after 50 years, and Gigola, a sumptuous depiction of the life of a female gigolo amidst the haute-couture and decadence of 1960’s Paris.

The Fleadh has long been renowned for its documentary strand and this year we are proud to present a range of films for all tastes including Knuckle, a must-see documentary that focuses on the bare-knuckle fights amongst two warring traveler families, Ballymun Lullaby, an inspiring documentary about Ron Cooney, a music teacher who teaches children in the Ballymun Music Programme and Barbaric Genius, which chronicles Irish author John Healy’s amazing journey from street mugger and wino to chess champion and award-winning author and a similarly rapid descent into obscurity

International documentaries include Blood in the Mobile, which is set between the DR Congo and Finland, and focuses on the dreadful conditions under which minerals for mobile phones are mined, while Bobby Fischer Against the World tells the amazing story of the tragic life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer.

Special documentary screenings include Northern Lights, presented by The Galway Film Fleadh in association with the ireland:iceland project, a strand of three inspirational films Gnarr, Dreamland and Future of Hope all which explore the Icelandic response to the economic crisis, something which has a unique resonance for Irish audiences.

In addition, the Galway Film Fleadh in association with the Irish Film Institute are proud to screen Blazing the Trail, a documentary on New York’s Kalem Company who between 1910 and 1915 produced almost thirty films about Ireland. Including the first fiction films ever to be shot here. The screening will be followed by very special screenings of The Lad from Old Ireland(1910) and His Mother(1912) with live musical accompaniment. The Galway Film Fleadh will also screen the Irish premiere of Cars 2. As a special treat the screening will be preceded by a selection of Cars Toons, short films starring the cast of Cars that have never been seen on the big screen before.

The Fleadh continues to fly the flag for short filmmakers and will screen a range of wonderful shorts including animation, fiction, and documentary and new additions include the 30 Minute Film Festival, which will show 30 one minute films in a competitive setting and the screening of Super 8 Footage in collaboration with the Super 8 Shots Festival in the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday July 9.

Tickets for all screenings are available from the Town Hall Theatre in Galway (Tel: 091 569777/ 
The Full Festival Programme is on

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