The West’s Awake and hosts the always splendid Galway Film Fleadh from 5 – 10 July. This year’s programme provides all sorts of cinematic delights and industry events.
Here we take a look at the Irish films on show.
The Last King (Nils Gaup)
Cinemobile – Wednesday, July 6th – 17:15
The year is 1204. Norway is torn apart in a Civil war. With the help of the Birch Legs, the Norwegian King is fighting for survival against the Church’s Bishopsmen, who will use any means available to obtain victory. While the King is on his death bed, his only remaining heir is guarded in deep secret. A boy who half the Kingdom wants dead, but two men will sacrifice everything to protect. The two Birch Legs warriors Skjervald and Torstein set on a perilous journey through the harsh Norwegian winter landscape in order to rescue the two-year-old future king from a terrible fate. The Last King is an Irish-Norwegian co-production.
Dead Along the Way (Maurice O’ Carroll)
Town Hall Studio – Wednesday, July 6th – 19:30
When two wedding videographers accidently kill their loan shark they decide to try and hide the body before the marriage ceremony begins.
Property of the State (Terry Ryan)
Town Hall Theatre – Wednesday, July 6th – 20:00
A hard-hitting drama, following the story of Anne Marie and threading together the events that lead to the harrowing murders of a young Mother, her child and a priest by a twenty year old man with a mental age of seven.
The Randomer (Naji Bechara, Caoimhe Clancy, Iseult Imbert)
Town Hall Theatre – Wednesday, July 6th – 22:00
Free-spirited Meg thinks she has everything she wants, a great job and a vibrant city life full of trendy bars, cafés and social nightlife. But her life is suddenly turned upside-down when she finds herself needing the one thing that she least expected – a baby. With the clock running out before she hits the dreaded 40, it’s a race against time to find an uncomplicated man for the perfect baby.
With the help of her new lesbian neighbours and her ever pregnant sister Regina, Meg dives headlong into Dublin’s widest selection of cosmopolitan men, determined to find the perfect “Randomer” to fulfill her quest.
If only Meg can avoid the pitfalls of modern dating, she might suddenly discover that the perfect no-strings-attached man isn’t so random.
The Wall (David Kinsella)
Cinemobile – Thursday, July 7th – 14:15
North Korea and Northern Ireland, both have a sectarian divide, in The Wall we learn to take our own decisions and believe what we see and not what others tell us to see.
L’Accabadora (Enrico Pau)
Town Hall Theatre – Thursday, July 7th – 18:00
Annetta kept the inherited secret of mercy killing passed down through her mother. In her ancestral Sardinian world, she is the Accabadora: despite her young age, she is a strong woman compelled to live her life handling with the death under the severity of an ancient ritualism. But the II World War is bringing deep social changes, helping Annetta to go beyond the purgatory of her condition discovering the unexplored path of love.
Rebel Rossa (Williams Rossa Cole)
Cinemobile – Thursday, July 7th – 18:15
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was one of the most controversial figures in Irish history. A committed Republican, he created the concept of bombing campaigns against England in the 1800’s. His funeral in 1915 lit the fuse to revolution resulting in the rebellion of Easter 1916.
Outcasts by Choice (Kate and Paul McCarroll)
Town Hall Studio – Thursday, July 7th – 18:30
A documentary about Belfast punk legends.
In View (Ciaran Creagh)
Town Hall Theatre – Thursday, July 7th – 20:00
Ruth’s life is one of burgeoning guilt dominated by rage, alcoholism, depression and self-loathing which has its origins in a once off drunken indiscretion with a work colleague some years previous. Having lost all that was dear to her, Ruth is still trying to seek out help but is coming to realise that there is only one course of action that may placate her soul.
Atlantic (Risteard O’Domhnaill)
The Shed on the Docks – Thursday, July 7th – 20:30
Atlantic follows the fortunes of three fishing communities united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean, as they struggle to maintain their way of life despite mounting challenges within their own industry and environment. On both sides of the Atlantic, new hydrocarbon frontiers are pushing out into deeper water, and further north into the Arctic, posing serious threats from the oil and gas explorers.. The film charts the politics of resource management of the North Atlantic, from strong state control in Norway, mixed fortunes in Newfoundland, to a more liberal, privatised system in Ireland. ‘Atlantic’, through the experience of these coastal neighbours poses the question: who benefits from the exploitation of these resources. Filming at close quarters with those at the epicenter of the resources issue, and in some of the most dramatic and harsh settings in the North Atlantic, we will bring their story to a worldwide audience.
South (Gerard Walsh)
Town Hall Studio – Thursday, July 7th – 20:30
A young man struggles through his fathers recent passing. After finding a photo of his estranged mother Tom decides to search for the only family he has left.
Tiger Raid (Simon Dixon)
Town Hall Theatre – Thursday, July 7th – 22:00
A dark thriller featuring two characters who journey across the desert while undertaking a kidnapping in Iraq.
Fis na Fuiseoige (Aodh Ó Coileáin)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 11:30
In Ireland person and place are inseparable. Sense of place has shaped the Irish literary imagination and Irish identity from earliest times. This one-hour documentary explores the deep connection between People and Place, as expressed in Irish-language poetry and local lore. Filmed over a year using state-of-the-art aerial cinematography, the film is a stunning visual exploration of the vast diversity of local places in Ireland as seen from a birds-eye perspective, illuminated by local stories and by the deep poetic perspective expressed in the writings of this country’s leading Irish-language poets who have written about the importance of place.
The War Against Women in Eastern Congo (Dearbhla Glynn)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 13:00
The ongoing war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has taken over 6 million lives. Since 2007, phenomenally high levels of crimes of sexual violence have been reported. Award-winning filmmaker Dearbhla Glynn set out to document this crisis. She presents an uncompromising and disturbing examination of the effects of the sexual violence perpetrated with impunity against women and girls in this war-torn country. The film explores the experience of the victims as well as the perspective of the perpetrators of these appalling crimes – foot soldiers, warlords and high-ranking commandants. An arresting and brutal account of how war ravages the land and its people and leaves few victors – least of all women.
Land of the Enlightened (Pieter-Jan de Pue)
Town Hall Theatre – Friday, July 8th – 14:00
A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir. Land of the Enlightened is an international co-production between Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Deargdhúil: Anatomy of Passion (Paula Kehoe)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 14:30
This new documentary explores the life, work and sensual poetic imagination of the revolutionary Irish poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi. Born in 1922, her story is set against a backdrop of a tumultuous century in Irish history in which she and her family (her father Seán MacEntee, her husband Conor Cruise O’Brien) were centrally involved. It is told from an intimate perspective through dramatic representations of a sequence of poems re-imagined and choreographed as short films intercut with her father’s home movies and the poet’s own commentary on her life and work. Featuring performance artist Maureen Fleming, and the voices of Louis de Paor, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Olwen Fouéré.
The Judas Iscariot Lunch (Teresa O Grady Peyton)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 16:00
The Judas Iscariot Lunch presents thirteen Irish ex-priests who speak candidly and frankly about the crossroads they came to with their beliefs, after being ordained and positioned as missionaries in East Asia, the Pacific and South America in the 1960s and 1970s.
Through their ‘camera confessionals’ we hear their questions and the guilt raised while bridging the gap between the theology they were taught at the seminary and what they put into practice in the real world. Their journey conveys the broader understanding of what faith is, and how it must move and change with the times, cultures and indeed their own humanity and needs.
Bobby Sands: 66 Days (Brendan J Byrne)
Town Hall Theatre – Friday, July 8th – 16:00
A cinematic portrait of the Irish Republican martyr’s epic 66-day hunger strike that grabbed the world’s attention in the early 1980’s.
A Date for Mad Mary (Darren Thornton)
Town Hall Theatre – Friday, July 8th – 18:00
Tells the story of ‘Mad’ Mary McArdle returning to Drogheda after a short spell in prison – for something she’d rather forget. Back home, everything and everyone has changed. Her best friend, Charlene, is about to get married and Mary is maid of honour. When Charlene refuses Mary a ‘plus one’ on the grounds that she probably couldn’t find a date, Mary becomes determined to prove her wrong. But her attempts at dating are a disaster and she winds up feeling more alone… until she meets Jess and everything changes.
Twice Shy (Tom Ryan)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 18:30
A modern coming-of-age drama, that centres around a young couple who set off on a road trip from Ireland to London. The young, unmarried couple take the trip as the result of an unplanned pregnancy and have some life-changing decisions to make.
The Young Offenders (Peter Foott)
Town Hall Theatre – Friday, July 8th – 20:00
Inspired by Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure of €440 million off the coast of Cork in 2007, The Young Offenders follows two Cork inner-city teenagers as they embark on a 160km road trip on stolen bikes in the hopes of finding some unrecovered bales.
Lost in France (Niall McCann)
Cinemobile – Friday, July 8th – 20:15
Explores the rise of Scotland’s independent music scene in the ’90s, led by cult label Chemikal Underground. Featuring The Delgados, Bis, Mogwai, Arab Strap, Franz Ferdinand and other seminal acts, this is an intimate film exploring friendship, creativity and music. On the journey, we revisit a defining, chaotic trip early in the musicians’ careers, re-staging a concert in Brittany that connects the characters in life (and on stage) for the first time in many years. Lost in France is an Irish-UK co-production
Born and Reared (Henrietta Norton)
Town Hall Studio – Friday, July 8th – 20:30
A moving documentary that explores contemporary Northern Ireland, through the lives of four men living in the aftermath of violent conflict; a story about reimagined identity of place and the fragility of masculinity.
A Dark Song (Liam Gavin)
Town Hall Theatre – Friday, July 8th – 22:00
A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.
Revolutions (Laura McGann)
Cinemobile – Saturday, July 9th – 12:15
Ireland’s recession pushes young people out. Surplus to requirement in the world beyond the Roller Derby track, the fast paced and aggressive Derby world becomes a haven for determined, pissed-off women in a crippled country. Young Irish women go on a high-octane Roller Derby odyssey in search of a means for self-expression, a fight to be fought, and, above all, a team that needs them. But how will responsibility and power affect the new leaders? With total access over 4 years, starting with the first-ever Irish team as they prepare for the World Cup in 2011, Revolutions follows this exciting sports arc, capturing the story as it unfolds, and observing fascinating rivalries and real character development.
History’s Future (Fiona Tan)
Town Hall Theatre – Saturday, July 9th – 14:00
Having lost his memory after a mugging, a man known only as MP (Missing Person) sets out on a journey not only in search of his memory but perhaps also for a new identity. History’s Future is produced by Cormac Fox for Irish-based Vico Films, Floor Onrust for the Dutch based FamilyAffair Films, and Benny Drechsel for Germany’s RohFilm.
It’s Not Yet Dark (Frankie Fenton)
Town Hall Theatre – Saturday, July 9th – 16:00
A feature-length documentary telling the story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a talented Irish filmmaker who is living with motor neurone disease. He was diagnosed at the age of 34, after his short film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His wife was expecting their third child and they were left shocked and reeling.
Simon refused to give up and started to work on the script for a feature film – My Name is Emily. Now, five years later, the father of five children, he is completely physically incapacitated.
Narrated by Colin Farrell, and using extracts from Simon’s best selling memoir, we follow Simon as he embarks on the direction of his first feature film through the use of the last physical attribute he has control over – his eyes.
Staid (Paul O’Brien)
Town Hall Studio – Saturday, July 9th – 16:30
Four small-town people, tied together by new and old relationships, come together to tangle, fight, sing, talk, smoke, drink, argue, laugh, leave and return — and stumble towards the reality that their lives are finally changing, whether they like it or not.
Mom & Me (Ken Wardrop)
Town Hall Theatre – Saturday, July 9th – 18:00
A portrait of what mothers mean to their sons showing a vulnerable side of American masculinity that viewers rarely see. These Oklahoma men come from all walks of life, ranging from a war veteran and a prison inmate to a cowboy preacher and a district attorney. Their mothers are just as complicated: spunky, resilient, demanding, generous, and iconoclastic. As these mothers and sons ride horses, shoot guns, and discuss their deepest feelings, Wardrop’s compassionate observation reveals the universality that underlies this most particular relationship.
The Siege of Jadotville (Richie Smith)
Town Hall Theatre – Saturday, July 9th – 20:00
A gripping true story of incredible bravery against impossible odds, The Siege of Jadotville thrillingly depicts the 1961 siege of a 150-strong Irish UN battalion under Commander Patrick Quinlan (Jamie Dornan) by 3,000 Conoglese troops led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies. Guillaume Canet plays a French commander who sought to defeat Quinlan and his men.
Moon Dogs (Philip John)
Cinemobile – Saturday, July 9th – 20:15
Follows two teenage step brothers on a road trip across Scotland & the enigmatic girl who comes between them.
Cardboard Gangsters (Mark O’Connor)
Town Hall Theatre – Saturday, July 9th – 22:00
A group of young gangsters attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.
Crash and Burn (Seán Ó Cualáin)
Cinemobile – Sunday, July 10th – 14:15
For a fleeting moment in the early ’80s Tommy Byrne was the world’s greatest driver – the motor racing equivalent of George Best and Muhammad Ali all rolled into one. Byrne was a cocky, aggressive driver from humble roots and the F1 glitterati simply didn’t like the mix. Driving was a route out from a future of toil and drudgery he saw stretching out before him.
In a little over four years Tommy Byrne went from driving a Mini Cooper in stockcar racing, to the big-time in Formula One. His rise was meteoric and his fall spectacular.
Further Beyond (Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor)
Cinemobile – Sunday, July 10th – 16:15
In their debut documentary, Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor take as their point of departure the compelling 18th-century figure Ambrose O’Higgins. They attempt to retrace his remarkable journey from Ireland to Chile. Key locations in O’Higgins’ life – a lake in Sligo, a eld in Meath, the port of Cadiz, the sea, and the edge of a snow-covered mountain in the Andes – are visited and reflected upon in the hope that something might be revealed, as if these very locations might contain clues.
However, as they speculate on the idea of place and what O’Higgins embodies, the filmmakers continually get sidetracked by a competing story of immigration and displacement. Gradually, and not without humour, these intertwining narratives uncover ideas about the transformative power of travelling, as looked at through the peculiar prism of the Irish experience.
We Are Moving – Memories of Miss Moriarty (Claire Dix)
Town Hall Studio – Sunday, July 10th – 18:30
An intimate portrait of Joan Denise Moriarty, a visionary who overcame enormous odds by doggedly following her dream of bringing ballet to every corner of Ireland. A pioneer of early 20th century Irish dance, Joan Denise Moriarty dared to create a uniquely Irish form of ballet inspired by her love of nature and Irish folklore. Her life’s work has been largely overlooked since her death.
Sanctuary (Len Collin)
Town Hall Theatre – Sunday, July 10th – 20:30
Larry and Sophie are in love. What could be more natural for them than to want to be alone, together? They bribe the feckless Tom to book them into a hotel for an afternoon’s tryst and look forward to getting to know each other, like countless couples before them. But Larry and Sophie aren’t any couple – they both have intellectual disabilities and Tom is their care worker. By attempting to be intimate, they aren’t just breaking the rules – they’re breaking the law.
While Larry and Sophie try to figure out their feelings, their future and how to use a condom, their friends from the training centre escape the not so watchful eye of Tom and go on a joyful rampage through Galway.
Click here to check out the short film programme at the Fleadh
The 28th Galway Film Fleadh runs 5 – 10 July 2016