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Galway Film Fleadh 2019 programme revealed: 95 films from 36 countries with 40 per cent directed by women

Jun 25, 2019

More than forty per cent of the films featuring in the programme for the Galway Film Fleadh 2019 are directed by women.

The programme, revealed on Tuesday evening, boasts 95 Irish and international feature films from 36 countries including ten films which will have their world premiere at the festival.

Once again focused on promoting and supporting up-and-coming talent, 30 of the films selected are debut features.

Among the films in the New irish Cinema strand is Jihad Janea, a debut documentary from Ciaran Cassidy which paints an intriguing portrait of the online post-9/11 world.

Finky, meanwhile, directed by Dathaí Keane (An Klondike) is an Irish language drama about a musician and puppeteer who finds his way into a hellish circus troupe.

Breaking Out is a documentary filmed over 10 years about the larger-than-life musician Fergus O’Farrell who continued to tour and compose music for the Oscar winning film, Once, despite a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. Once also had its world premiere at the festival in 2006.

Bruno, directed by Karl Golden and starring Diarmuid Murtagh, is a gritty, bittersweet drama about a homeless Irishman in London while Animals (directed by 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.

The festival also celebrates established talent and among the highlights are the opening and closing films of the festival.

Closing film Never Grow Old is a dark Western tale about an Irish undertaker on the American frontier from Irish director Ivan Kavanagh, which stars Emile Hirsch and John Cusack.

Sing me Back Home, the festival’s opening film, is French actress Sandrine Dumas’ directorial debut while Bait, Mark Jenkin’s film shot on a 1976 Bolex 16mm camera and processed by hand, tells the story of a northern English fisherman without a boat.

A Bread Factory is Patrick Wang’s newest film after 2015’s The Grief of Others.  It’s a small-town comedy drama with an original voice, and stars the legendary Tyne Dale, familiar to many as Lacey in the hit 80s cop series Cagney & Lacey.

Speaking at the programme launch, Director of Programming Will Fitzgerald spoke 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,” he said.

“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.”

There will also be event sreenings, panel discussions, and public interviews including a screening of the documentary Buddy, about the bond between guide dogs and their owners – and canine friends are welcome to attend.

Disney fans, meanwhile, can enjoy a special singalong version of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid.

This year also features a culinary cinema strand including the world premiere of Stage: The Culinary Internship which exposes the reliance of Michelin star restaurants on unpaid internships.

A series of political documentaries will run in ‘The Film Fleadh Goes to Washington’ strand, including Watergate – Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President which is presented in two parts. Also screening here is Active Measures, about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and Dark Money, which follows the money trail behind U.S. poltics and a shocking fly-on-the-wall portrait of Steve Bannon called The Brink.

A music strand will feature a late night screening of Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love about 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.  

The annual Film Fleadh Awards ceremony will also take place on closing night.  The five filmmakers nominated for the Bingham Ray New Talent Award across the fields of directing, producing and acting have been revealed.

They 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 31stGalway Film Fleadh takes place from 9th-14thJuly in the Town Hall Theatre and Pálás cinema, Galway. Tickets and further information for all films and events are now available at www.galwayfilmfleadh.com.

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