Living In A Coded Land: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

living in a coded land

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Living In A Coded Land

Sun 13th July



According to director Pat Collins, “Living in a Coded Land is a poetic and imaginative film essay that makes unexpected links between events and locations, history and contemporary life. The film revolves around the notion of a sense of place and stories associated with place, reflecting on the subterranean traces of the past in the present and probing themes such as the impact of colonialism, emigration, the famine, land, housing and the place of art in society. Making extensive use of archive from RTÉ and the IFI, the film seeks to explore the more elusive layers of meaning that make up this country.”

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director: Pat Collins

Producers: Pat Collins, Sharon Whooley


Noble: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)


Sat 12th July

Town Hall Theatre


Noble, a film about the inspiring tale of one Irish woman in post-war Vietnam, will screen at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. Written and directed by Stephen Bradley, it stars Deirdre O’Kane as Christina Noble, an Irish woman whose strength and character allow her to pursue her dream and change the lives of children living in Vietnam. The Irish film has already scooped awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Boston Irish Film Festival.

Co-starring with Deirdre O’Kane are Brendan Coyle (The Raven, Downton Abbey), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Safe House), Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Z), Nhu Quynh Nguyen (Pearls of the Far East, Indochine) and Tony nominated Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inish Maan, The Guard).

Noble tells the true story of a funny, feisty and courageous Irishwoman, Christina Noble, who overcomes a harsh childhood to find her destiny on the streets of Saigon, fourteen years after the end of the war. The film captures the drama of a life that has culminated in Christina Noble helping almost a million street-children and their families in Vietnam and Mongolia.

Written and Directed by Stephen Bradley (Sweety Barrett), the award-winning NOBLE will open in cinemas across Ireland on 19 September 2014.

Vietnam. 1989. Fourteen years after the end of the war.
When the funny, feisty and courageous Irish-woman, Christina Noble, flies into Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) she leaves behind an extraordinary life story. But the best is yet to come.
Christina lands in a country “that she wouldn’t be able to show you on a map”. With a few dollars, a dream and her own hard-won abilities, she is about to change everything, for hundreds of thousands of people. 
Shifting between past and present, the film concentrates on Christina’s strength of character, as she uses music and humour to pursue a seemingly impossible dream, always following her motto that “a little insane goes a long way.”

Noble is the inspirational true story of a woman who believes that it only takes one person to make a difference. And of how she is proved right.

Co-starring with Deirdre O’Kane are Brendan Coyle (The Raven, Downton Abbey), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Safe House), Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Z), Nhu Quynh Nguyen (Pearls of the Far East, Indochine) and Tony nominated Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inish Maan, The Guard).

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director Stephen Bradley and cast will attend.


Director: Stephen Bradley

Cast: Deirdre O’Kane, Brendan Coyle, Sarah Greene, Liam Cunningham, Ruth Negga

Script: Stephen Bradley

Producer: Melanie Gore-Grimes, Stephen Bradley


Masterclasses at Galway Film Fleadh


Producers Masterclass

Roger Frappier will be the subject of this year’s Producers Masterclass.

Roger Frappier has worked extensively in many areas of film and television ranging from television commercial director to film critic to director/producer of the experimental feature documentary Le Grand Film Ordinaire, before establishing his true calling as a producer.


Screenwriters Masterclass

Josh Olson will be the subject of this year’s Screenwriters Masterclass. This year’s masterclass with Hollywood screenwriter Josh Olson will examine the film that won him accolades around the world, A History of Violence.

Taking us through the film scene by scene, Josh will provide the participants with insights into his creative process and practical advice about how to shape a story for the screen.


Acting Masterclass

Fionnula Flanagan will be delivering this year’s Actors Masterclass.

One of the few Irish actresses to make it in Hollywood, Fionnuala is the only Irish actress to play guest roles on three different Star Trek series: ‘The Next Generation’, ‘Deep Space Nine’, ‘Enterprise’.

Winner of two IFTAs and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, the acting veteran shows no signs of slowing down.


The Canal: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

The Canal

Sat 12th July

Town Hall Theatre


Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal introduces us to David, a film archivist who finds out the home he shares with his wife and son was the scene of a ghastly turn-of-the-century murder. At first he dismisses it as ancient history. That is, until the sinister history ripples into the present and casts a shadow over life as he knows it. And when a looming secret shatters his marriage, David can’t help but suspect the dark spirits of the house are somehow involved. In his drive to unveil the shadows hidden in the walls, David begins to descend into insanity, threatening the lives of everyone around him.

Through ghastly imagery and a chilling score, Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal is an Irish ghost story that will leave you with a fear of the dark and a dripping chill down your spine long after the film’s conclusion.

Kavanagh told Film Ireland that , “The film already screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April, where it got amazing reviews and was picked up for North American distribution, but I can’t wait to screen it at the Fleadh.  It’s an amazing festival and it’s always held great memories for me, and I’m sure this year and this screening will be no different.”


Director Ivan Kavanagh and actor Antonia Campbell Hughes will attend.


Director: Ivan Kavanagh

Cast: Rupert Evans, Steve Oram, Antonia Campbell Hughes, Kelly Byrne, Hannah Hoekstra, Calum Heath

Script: Ivan Kavanagh

Producer: AnneMarie Naughton



Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at


Patrick’s Day: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Patrick’s Day

Sat 12th July

Town Hall Theatre


The first film from Terry McMahon, Charlie Casanova, earned him an IFTA nomination as well as a bathtub load of controversy after it screened at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2011. The director will now return to the Galway Film Fleadh with his new film, Patrick’s Day, which tells the story of a twenty-six-year-old virgin schizophrenic whose life changes when he falls in love.

Speaking about the Galway Film Fleadh, Terry McMahon told Film Ireland, “Gar O’Brien and Miriam Allen had the courage to select Charlie Casanova before anybody had seen it. Despite the insanity of the later attacks on the film, we received a standing ovation at The Fleadh and the Best First Feature Award. Our second film Patrick’s Day is very different in content yet equally provocative in ambition so to be selected again by Gar and Miriam at this year’s Fleadh – particularly among such heavyweights – makes it a terrifying yet exciting sort of homecoming.

The schizophrenic Patrick (Moe Dunford) is warm, open and, thanks to the protective nature of his mother (Kerry Fox), no threat to himself or anyone else. But when he falls for Karen (Catherine Walker), a suicidal flight attendant, his mother enlists the help of a dysfunctional detective called Freeman (Philip Jackson) to help her tear the two apart. Patrick’s Day is a provocative and intimate look at love and mental illness.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Terry McMahon, Moe Dunford and more will attend the screening.

Director: Terry McMahon

Cast: Moe Dunford, Kerry Fox, Philip Jackson, Catherine Walker

Script: Terry McMahon

Producer: Tim Palmer

Co-Producer: Rachel Lysaght


The Light Of Day: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

the lod

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

The Light Of Day

Thu 10th July

Town Hall Theatre


The Light of Day, the mockumentary about the making of a low-budget vampire horror flick, will emerge to sink its teeth into the Galway Film Fleadh this summer. The screening will be the world premiere of a film shot on location in Dublin city by students on the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course. For further details on the course, click here. Wooden stakes at the ready, but make sure the camera’s rolling first.

Sophie Burke, one of the producers of the film, told Film Ireland what it means to screen at Galway, “We’re delighted that The Light of Day is to have its world premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh and also that we have been accepted to screen in competition. Taking part in the MSc in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase has been challenging and fulfilling, and being accepted into Galway is, firstly, a great honour but also a fantastic way to end a great year.”

The Light of Day stars Jack Hickey as Michael, the DOP on the low-budget film, The First Bite is the Deepest, who must wrestle the a hemorrhaging production from the hapless director (Aidan Lawlor). Along the way Michael must tackle other demons in the form of a desperate producer (Dermot Magennis), the writer of the source material (Lorna Larkin), peanut allergies and product placement deals. This hilarious comedy goes for the neck and gets under the skin of the struggles and stresses of low-budget filmmaking.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Cast and Crew will attend

Directors: Amy Carroll, Conor Dowling, Eoin O’Neill

Cast: Jack Hickey, Aidan Lawlor, Lorna Larkin, Dermot Magennis, Carl Shaaban, Niamh Algar

Script: Chris Brennan

Producers: Sophie Burke, Simon Connolly


One Million Dubliners: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

one million dubliners

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

One Million Dubliners

Sat 12th July

Town Hall Theatre


The feature documentary about Glasnevin Cemetery, One Million Dubliners, is to have its world premiere at the 26th annual Galway Film Fleadh next week.

Directed by Aoife Kelleher and produced by Underground Films, One Million Dubliners uses Glasnevin cemetery as a platform to explore life and death. Ireland’s largest non-denominational cemetery, it is the resting place of over 1.5 million people. In this documentary a tour guide takes us through the headstones, american tourists search for ancestors and gravediggers and musician celebrate.

One Million Dubliners reveals the often unspoken — stories of ritual, emotion, history, and the business of death.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director Aoife Kelleher and producer Rachel Lysaght will attend.

Director: Aoife Kelleher

Producer: Rachel Lysaght


Glassland: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)


Fri 11th July

Town Hall Theatre


Following the success of his debut Irish feature, Pilgrim Hill, Gerard Barrett is back with his new film, Glassland, which premieres at Galway next week. Glassland explores the grim realities of life for those pushed to the fringes of society in contemporary Ireland. Produced by Element Pictures, the film boasts a talented cast that includes Jack Reynor (What Richard Did, Transformers: Age of Extinction), Toni Collette (Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine) and Michael Smiley (A Field in England).

Director Barrett said that, “The Galway Film Fleadh gave my debut film Pilgrim Hill a platform, and it’s a privilege for me to go back and launch my second film Glassland there. Miriam and Gar played their part in launching my career and it’s a great honour to return where new filmmakers are valued and encouraged.”

Barrett will be looking to mimic the success he gained after his last outing, Pilgrim Hill, premiered at the Fleadh two years ago, winning him the Bingham Ray New Talent Award followed by the 2013 IFTA Rising Star Award.

Set in Dublin, Glassland tells the story of a young taxi driver (Reynor) who is forced to descend ever further into a criminal underworld while trying to save his mother (Collette) from a crippling alcohol addiction.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director Gerard Barrett will attend the screening. 

Director Gerard Barrett

Cast Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley, Toni Collette, Will Poulter

Script Gerard Barrett

Producers Juliette Bonass, Ed Guiney


Gold: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)


Fri 11th July

Town Hall Theatre


Gold, the feelgood comedy by IFTA-winning writer/director Niall Heery, is to screen at the 26th annual Galway Film Fleadh. Featuring performances from the likes of James Nesbit, David Wilmot, Kerry Condon and Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams, the film focuses on the hilarity of everyday life.

Gold centres around Ray (Wilmot), who resolves to seek out his estranged ex-partner (Condon) and teenage daughter (Williams) so that his dying father can see his granddaughter one last time. When he tracks them down he discovers that they now live with his former P.E. teacher, the controlling and regimented Frank (James Nesbitt).

Having previously screened at the Jameson Dublin Internation Film Festival , Gold went on to secure a North American distribution with indie distributor Synergetic back in May.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director Niall Heery and members of the cast will attend.
Director: Niall Heery
Cast: David Wilmot, James Nesbitt, Maisie Williams, Kerry Condon
Script: Niall Heery, Brendan Heery
Producers: Tristan Orpen Lynch, Aoife O’Sullivan


Poison Pen: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Poison Pen

Fri 11th July

Town Hall Theatre


Poison Pen, the first feature film script by Artemis Fowl author, Eoin Colfer, will premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The film stars Lochlann O’Mearain (The O’Briens, King Arthur) as a Man Booker-winning author who is coerced into writing for a tabloid gossip magazine. A smart and savvy romantic comedy, Poison Pen asks questions about the nature of celebrity, integrity and deception.

Sharon Cronin, one of the producers of the film, told Film Ireland, “I think Poison Pen is an intelligent film, it has a lot to say and it’s very relevant. The film has some phenomenal performances, which I think will surprise people. We are all really proud to be premiering the film at The Fleadh, Galway has such a rich history of screening the very best of Irish cinema, I think we found a really good home for the first screening.”

When PC Molloy (O’Mearain) gets blackmailed into writing for the celebrity gossip magazine, ‘Poison Pen’, he begins to fall for his new boss, April Devereaux (Aoibhinn McGinnity). Soon the spotlight is turning on Molloy and he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page. This heart-warming romantic comedy is enhanced by a talented supporting cast that includes Paul Ronan (One Hundred Mornings), Aaron Heffernan (Obama Mia!, Love/Rosie), Susan Loughnane (The Food Guide To Love, Love/Hate), Lauryn Canny (A Thousand Times Goodnight, Amber), Gemma-Leah Devereux (Get Up and Go, How to be Happy) and Mary Murray (Stalker, Love/Hate).

Poison Pen was made by students on the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course. For further details on the course, click here.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Cast and Crew will attend.

Directors: Steven Benedict, Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall
Cast: Lochlann Ó Mearáin, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Lauryn Canny, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Susan Loughnane, Paul Ronan
Script: Eoin Colfer & Graham Cantwell
Producers: Aine Coady, Sharon Cronin

IFI: Local Films for Local People Project



IFI National returns to the Fleadh on Wed 9thJuly at 1pm in Town Hall Theatre with a programme of films from the IFI Irish Film Archive which is sure to appeal to Galway audiences. This is the inaugural programme of the Local Films for Local People Project which sees collections of local-interest films being brought back to the communities in which they were made.

The Local Film for Local People Project will target 4 key cultural venues annually and will appear later in autumn and winter 2014 at: the Carnegie Arts Centre, Kenmare; Tech Amergin, Waterville and Source Arts Centre, Thurles. The presentations will be introduced by IFI staff with contributions from local historians. More venues will be identified in 2015.

Sunniva O’Flynn, IFI Head of Irish Film Programming, said ‘this initiative will create exciting programming possibilities for regional exhibitors and will create new routes through the IFI Irish Film Archive’s vast store of moving image collections. We look forward to working with local audiences and enhancing our understanding of these invaluable materials.’

The Fleadh programme, taking place on Wed 9th July at 1pm features a selection of films made in and about Galway between the 1920s and 70s. There will be musical accompaniment for a selection of the older silent films. Many of these films, documenting life, leisure and livelihoods have not been seen on screen since the time of their original release and will appeal to all interested in the culture and history of Galway.

The programme includes Come Back to Ireland, a US travelogue from 1936 featuring rare footage of the long-gone thatched cottages of the Claddagh Village; Colourful Connemara, a warmly nostalgic Irish Tourist Association film from 1943; An Irish Touchstone about the opening of the Tynagh mines in 1967; The Master (1974), Radharc’s documentary about the teacher and pupils of Cloghan Hill School near Tuam; and a selection of newsreels from the 1920s to the 1960s.         


Reefer and the Model: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Reefer and the Model

Fri 11th July



Reefer, Spider and Badger eke out a living on a dilapidated trawler, having renounced (provisionally, at least) their lawless past. The homeless and pregnant ‘Model’ — returning from London to kick a heroin habit — joins the crew and begins a hesitant relationship with Reefer. Inevitably the men’s complacent beliefs and faded ideals come in for reappraisal, but one last caper proves inevitable.


This sharp thriller sparks with vitality and wit, artfully playing its macho hero off against the innate authority of the pregnant Model, and discovers refreshing variations on the ‘underdogs against the world’ formula.


The film that inspired the existence of the Fleadh, Joe Comerford’s Reefer and The Model is a landmark of Irish cinema and is as resonant and relevant today as it was in 1988.


The film will be preceded by a screening of the short film Water Bag.


Director Joe Comerford and producer Lelia Doolan will attend the screening.


Director: Joe Comerford

Cast: Ian McElhinney, Carol Scanlan, Sean Lawlor, Ray McBride, Birdy Sweeney, Eve Watkinson

Script: Joe Comerford

Producer: Lelia Doolan


Get Up and Go: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Get Up and Go

Thu 10th July

Town Hall Theatre


The world premiere of writer/director Brendan Grant’s new feature, Get Up and Go, will take place on 10th July 2014 at the Galway Film Fleadh. Starring Killian Scott and Peter Coonan, the film takes a bohemian trip through Dublin as two 20-somethings come to terms with their failing artistic careers. Get Up and Go, the second feature written and directed by Grant, was produced by Fastnet Films and was acquired by Wildcard Distribution in June.

Speaking about the film’s premiere at Galway, Brendan Grant said, “It’s great that the film is on in Galway and that it can be our premiere too; we haven’t even had a cast and crew screening so it will be amazing to see it for the first time in front of a live audience. The Fleadh is synonymous with receptive and knowledgeable audiences and has always proved to be a great launch-pad for Irish cinema.”

When Alex (Coonan) discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant, he refuses to allow her derail his plans to leave Dublin for the bright lights of London. Meanwhile Coilin’s (Scott) carefully constructed world of hopes, dreams and expectations begins to come crumbling down around him. Set against the backdrop of famous Dublin locations, pubs, and clubs, Get Up and Go shows a youthful and vibrant Dublin, rarely seen on film.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Cast and crew will attend.

Director: Brendan Grant

Cast: Killian Scott, Peter Coonan, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Sarah Lloyd-Gregory, Sarah McCall

Script: Brendan Grant

Producers: Macdara Kelleher, Juliette Bonass (Co-Producer Felicity Oppé)


Close To Evil: Extended Cut – Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

close to evil

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Close To Evil: Extended Cut

Fri 11th July



The extended cut of the award-winning documentary, Close to Evil, will screen as part of the 26th annual Galway Film Fleadh. A ‘work in progress’ version of the film received acclaim when it screened as part of last year’s fleadh, getting a runner-up spot for Best Irish Feature Documentary. Director Gerry Gregg will now return to the Fleadh with an extended cut complete with extra footage.

Close to Evil follows Tomi Reichental, one of two surviving Holocaust victims living in Ireland, on a quest to find one of the SS guards who kept him captive. Director Gerry Gregg told Film Ireland that  “I want to sincerely thank Miriam Allen and Gar O’Brien for encouraging us to finish the film and for endorsing what we have made by screening the extended cut in Galway this year. From the outset when Miriam and Gar saw an early rough cut they supported us.

“Last year’s success at Galway greatly helped us and made life a bit easier for our champion in RTÉ Colm O’Callaghan. It was Colm, our RTÉ Executive Producer who stepped into the breach when the Film Board surprisingly declined to back the project.  It was Colm who made sure that we kept going, put us back on location when and where it mattered and oversaw a film that none of us involved could have foreseen how it would end.”

Director Gerry Gregg gives Film Ireland the background to the new extended cut of his film Close to Evil here.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at



The Stranger: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

The Stranger

Thu 10th July

Town Hall Theatre


Neal MacGregor was an English artist who died alone aged 44 in a cave on the remote island of Inishbofin. A new documentary by Neasa Ní Chianáin uses reconstructions, animation and archive material to reconstruct the story of this mysterious hermit, and will screen at the 26th annual Galway Film Fleadh.

Neasa told Film Ireland, “We are delighted to be screening the world premiere of the film in Galway in July. The Fleadh was the first festival I ever attended as a punter many moons ago, and has since remained one of my favorite festivals to attend.”

When we are gone, what do people remember of us? Neal MacGregor, an English artist, died alone, prematurely, aged forty-four, in a stone hen-house that he couldn’t stand up in, where he lived without water, electricity or heating on a remote island. The Irish-speaking islanders on the rapidly depopulating island knew little of Neal during the eight years he lived there. Who was this stranger? Was he a British spy recording IRA gun-running routes, as some islanders thought? Was he trying to take control of the island? Was he crazy, as others thought? Or was he just seeking solitude? Neal left behind volumes of beautifully illustrated notebooks and secret diaries, and this beautiful enigmatic film pulls together the jigsaw of missing pieces and sensitively paints a portrait of a man living on the edge, physically and mentally, and the insular island community he lived amongst.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Director Neasa Ní Chianáin will attend.

Director: Neasa Ní Chianáin

Cast: Edward Humm, Kloe Humm

Script: Neasa Ní Chianáin, Maria Gasol

Producer: David Rane


Darkness On The Edge Of Town: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

darkness on th eedge of twon

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Wed 9th July

Town Hall Theatre


The cast and crew of Darkness on the Edge of Town will be in Galway for the world premiere of the art house crime thriller. Shot in Kerry, it is the latest film from award-winning writer/director Patrick Ryan and has been described as a modern-day western revenge drama. The story follows Cleo, a troubled teenage sharpshooter who plots a course for revenge after her sister is found murdered in a public bathroom.

Patrick Ryan spoke to Film Ireland about the origins of the film and what it means to have it screen at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Darkness on the Edge of Town is a crime genre film with art house sensibilities. It takes the structure of a classical tragedy, emboldened with the visual overtones of a Western. It was our intent to do something different to the current trends of Irish cinema, to make something a little more leftfield and stay true to our sensibilites. Our influences on the film were wide and varied; everything from Asian cinema to Shakespeare, from Morricone to Caravggio.

Darkness is an entirely indpendent film, from blank page to festival screener, and to have the backing of the Galway Film Fleadh along with a national platform on which to showcase our film, is invaluable to us. The Fleadh has a well-maintained tradition of supporting new independent Irish cinema and we’re more than proud to join those ranks. Essentially, we’re just thrilled to show our story to an audience and thankful to the Fleadh for the opportunity”.

Ryan’s screenplay was selected for the BBC Writersroom 2012, came second in the Screenwriting Goldmine Competition, and won twice at the ENGAGE European Pitching Forum. The film stars a host of Irish talent including  Emma Eliza Regan (Love Eternal, The Shadows, Jack Taylor: Dramatist), Brain Gleeson (The Stag, How to be Happy, Love/Hate) and up-and-coming Emma Willis (The Christening).

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Cast and Crew will attend.

Director: Patrick Ryan

Cast: Emma Eliza Regan, Emma Willis, Brian Gleeson, Chris Fitzgerald, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Clodagh Downing

Script: Patrick Ryan

Producer: Lisa Mackintosh, Tommy Fitzgerald, Patrick Ryan


A Nightingale Falling: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

A nightingale falling

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

A Nightingale Falling

Wed 9th July

Town Hall Theatre


A Nightingale Falling, the Irish historical period drama set during the War of Independance, will get its world premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. Directed by Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn, it tells the story of two sisters who, against the backdrop of war-torn Ireland, take in a wounded British soldier. The lead actress, Tara Breathnach, has been nominated for the Bingham Ray New Talent Award.

Directors Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn told Film Ireland “We are thrilled to be in the Galway Film Fleadh. As an independent film, it gives us the recognition we needed to vindicate our passion for this film and to demonstrate what we’ve always believed, that this story needs to be told and seen. We can’t wait till the premiere, because there is something magical about the festival and walking up the steps of the Town Hall for our first feature will be a special moment. That’s how important a festival of this magnitude is to an indie film. Already it has brought great attention to the film, so we are very excited”.

May Collingwood (Breathnach), is forced to make critical and difficult decisions when she rescues a British soldier and must now protect herself and sister Tilly. They live in fear of the British Black and Tans, the rising IRA, their own entrapment, and ultimately the dark secrets of unrequited love unfolding from within. This is a powerful drama of lives overtaken and destroyed by the events and hardships of the period.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at

Cast and crew will attend.

Directors: Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn

Cast: Tara Breathnach, Muireann Bird, Gerard McCarthy, Brian Fortune, Elliot Moriarty, Andy Kellegher

Script: Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn, PJ Curtis

Producers: Martina McGlynn, Gerry Burke, Garret Daly, PJ Curtis


Galway Film Fleadh Kicks off with ‘Begin Again’


The Galway Film Fleadh is now in its 26th year and this year as always brings together audiences and filmmakers within an intimate environment and share a common experience – the wonder of cinema.

Showcasing the best of Irish, European and World Cinema, the festival will host a number of premieres including; Get Up and Go, where Love/Hate’s Killian Scott and Peter Coonan take us on an unforgettable 24 hours through bohemian Dublin; Gold, from director Niall Heery (Small Engine Repair) and featuring note-perfect performances from a cast that includes David Wilmot, James Nesbitt and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Wiiliams; Young Ones an Irish/US co-production that’s a mix of dystopian Western and Greek Tragedy starring Michael Shannon, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult; and I Used to Live Here, a timely and important examination of the tragic phenomenon of cluster suicides, from the director of Ballymun Lullaby.

The festival opens on Tuesday, 8th July with Begin Again from Irish director John Carney, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo and closes on Sunday, 13th July  with the highly anticipated contemporary thriller, An Bronntanas, directed by Tom Collins. A contemporary thriller set against the background of a local independent lifeboat crew working off the coast of Connemara, An Bronntanas is the first ‘Celtic Noir’ thriller of its kind as Gaeilge.


Programme Announced for Galway Film Fleadh

Galway Film Fleadh Logo


The Galway Film Fleadh has announced the programme for the 2014 edition of the festival, which takes place from Tuesday, 8th July to Sunday, 13th July.


Showcasing the best of Irish, European and World Cinema, the festival will host a number of premieres including; Get Up and Go, where Love/Hate’s Killian Scott and Peter Coonan take us on an unforgettable 24 hours through bohemian Dublin; Gold, from director Niall Heery (Small Engine Repair) and featuring note-perfect performances from a cast that includes David Wilmot, James Nesbitt and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Wiiliams; Young Ones an Irish/US co-production that’s a mix of dystopian Western and Greek Tragedy starring Michael Shannon, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult; and I Used to Live Here, a timely and important examination of the tragic phenomenon of cluster suicides, from the director of Ballmun Lullaby..

For fans of great documentaries, the festival continues to impress with insightful and world-changing titles like Brave Miss World, the empowering story of former Miss World and rape survivor Linor Abargil; Groundswell Rising, a movie about our need to pull together an defend our communities from gas drilling and its crushing infrastructure; and New Boobs, a personal and open documentary about preventative mastectomy.

The Fleadh will also showcase a wide selection of the best in new Canadian cinema, bringing some of Canada’s leading filmmaking talent to Galway. Canada has a long and proud tradition of documentary film-making and the Fleadh will screen exciting titles such as Watermark, Our Man in Tehran and Lunarcy! in addition to showcasing award-winning films such as The Auction, Maïna, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Another House and Gerontophilia from some of Canada’s best filmmaking talent.


The subject of this year’s public interview in the Town Hall Theatre is one of Ireland’s best-loved actors, Brenda Fricker, who has starred in films such as My Left Foot, The Field, Veronica Guerin and Albert Nobbs. Hosted by Arena’s Sean Rocks, Brenda will discuss her remarkable journey from soap operas Tolka Row and Casualty to becoming Ireland’s only Oscar-winning actress for her extraordinary performance as Mrs Brown in My Left Foot.


On Sunday, 13th July, the festival will close with the highly anticipated contemporary thriller, An Bronntanas, directed by Tom Collins. A contemporary thriller set against the background of a local independent lifeboat crew working off the coast of Connemara, An Bronntanas is the first ‘Celtic Noir’ thriller of its kind as Gaeilge. With a stellar cast including John Finn (Cold Case, Catch Me If You Can), Owen McDonnell, Michelle Beamish, Charlotte Bradley and Darragh Devaney, An Bronntanas is a film not to be missed at this year’s festival.


As well as its feast of films, the Fleadh plays host to masterclasses, Q+A’s, discussion panels and networking events, plus much more.

All information and ticket sales are available now at,  you can also chat to The Galway Film Fleadh on Facebook or Tweet @FilmFleadh






Galway Film Fleadh: Short Film report


Mechanic (Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon)


Laura Gaynor picks her ten favourite shorts from this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

This year I did what (I think) is known as the shorts marathon. It is an almost self-explanatory term and involves going to all the short films at the Galway Film Fleadh.

One of the reasons I like going to shorts screenings in particular is because of the range of stories told in contrast to just one type of story during a feature. Hence, value for money. However, if you’re a full-time chancer like myself, you might be able to get a free ticket. The cool thing about film festivals is that the people who worked on the film are usually in the cinema. I always find it funny when you settle into a screening and realise afterwards how the lead actor was sitting beside you the whole time. Lastly, the main reason I prefer film festivals is that people applaud after the movies. As small as this sounds, I hate when you go to a regular cinema and no one claps. It feels unnatural to watch a performance and not applaud. Applause concretes the shared experience that is watching movies in the dark. Without further ado, here are my favourite ten shorts – in no particular order:


The Beauty Of Ballybrack

The Beauty Of Ballybrack

Old Bríd McNamee turns her house into a homestay for Spanish students but when the young divas cannot be tamed, Bríd returns to her witchy ways.

Director: Megan Woods
Producer: Amber Miles

This film was a graduate piece from the National Film School. I really enjoyed last year’s grad films and made a point of checking out their website to see how many would get through this year. The short centres on an old woman living alone in Dublin. Young at heart, she fancies the postman and writes letters to herself in a bid to advance their relationship. Bríd turns her house into a homestay for Spanish students but has ulterior motives. The film was good fun and had a great sense of colour. It was bilingual and was in no uncertain terms: hilarious.




Mark is struggling with an unexpected change in his life when he meets Sara, opening his eyes to a new perspective of the world around him.

Director: Steven Daly
Producer: Oisin O’Driscoll

This was another IADT graduate film, with a clever idea to it. I liked its hook at the beginning with the secretive lead actor. It had great art direction and some nice lighting. The makers of this film left free paper cranes outside the cinema to coincide with one of the main ideas of the film. Who doesn’t like freebies?


I Can’t See You Anymore 


Having woken up from a coma after an accident, psychotherapist Aidan Clifford is forced to confront the consequences of his own actions.

Director: Michael Kinirons
Producer: Ailish Bracken

A very original short about a man who’s dealing with the fallout of a car accident. My favourite part was the conclusion of the film but also the tension created throughout the film with flashbacks. It also had a commendable score and cinematography.


The Missing Scarf

(WINNER Best Animation)


A black comedy exploring some of life’s common fears: fear of the unknown, of failure, rejection and finally death. Narrated by George Takei.

Director: Eoin Duffy
Producer: Jamie Hogan

A brilliantly abstract animation by Vancouver-based animator Eoin Duffy. I mainly liked this one because of its style, characters and script.




Alia is an Afghan-Irish girl torn between two lives. When her secret relationship with an Irish boy comes to her sister’s attention, it forces the family to make a decision that could ultimately tear it apart.

Director: Clare Dix
Producer: Nodlag Houlihan

Since most of the films seemed to centre on adults or young children, it was refreshing to see one in there that was about teenagers. I thought this short had a nice understated feel to it. Hat’s go off to the guy who played Alia’s Dad – he was fantastic.




Eoin’s life is turned upside down when an unexpected mix of regulars and strangers turn up during his shift at a local petrol station.

Director: Phillip Kelly
Producers: Dave Leahy, Liam Ryan

Starring a man who said he’d let his face be used as a tee box for a winning lotto ticket, this film easily garnered the loudest response of the Fleadh. During an impossibly boring night shift, a first-time mugger attempts an ill-prepared raid of the shop. Although he has a gun, both the shopkeeper and customer call his bluff to hilarious effect. The actors had a great sense of timing and worked from a well-written script.




In the wilds of Connemara, a mischievous boy discovers a creature from Irish folklore washed up on shore. They embark on a journey that sparks an unlikely friendship.

Director: Adam Kavanagh
Producer: BCFE

A very unusual story, but I loved it. When a Connemara boy meets a Loch-Ness-type creature, they become the best of friends. A beautifully animated short from Ballyfermot College of Further Education.


Heart And Hand 


From its humble roots in the fishing village of the Claddagh, the Claddagh ring has identified the Irishness of its wearer, both living and lost.

Director: Emma-Kate O’Reilly
Producer: Galway Film Centre

Of the short documentaries I saw in the Fleadh, I noticed how lots of them could work from really simple ideas. This film was about a man who sells Claddagh rings – but it explored it in a very interesting way.



(WINNER of Best First Short Film) 


Agus an rang á ullmhú don Chéad Comaoineach, dhiúltaíonn Rúbaí é a dhéanamh, ag maíomh gur ‘atheist’ í.

While the class are preparing for their First Holy Communion Rúbaí refuses to do it, claiming she is an ‘atheist’.

Director: Louise Ní Fhiannachta
Producer: Gemma O’Shaughnessy

The only film to take home both an award and a special mention, this was by all means the best gearscannan of the week. Much of the charm of this film stems from an engaging performance by young Doireann.



(WINNER of Best Short Drama)


A mechanic fixes up an old car and drives into the Dublin Mountains to end his life, but old age catches up with him..

Directors: Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon

Producers: Tom Sullivan, Siun O’Connor, Derek O’Connor

What seemed like an impossibly dark film at first ended up as one of the best plot twists I’ve ever seen. The film itself was very simplistic and didn’t veer from the inside of a car. This was one of the last shorts I saw during the Fleadh and definitely my favourite of the week. I was not surprised to see it take The Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama.


25th Galway Film Fleadh Awards – All the Winners


Run & Jump, which won the Best Irish Feature Award at Galway

Feature Awards:

The Best Irish Feature Award:
Winner: Run & Jump
Director : Steph Green
Producer : Tamara Anghie and Martina Niland

Second place: Life’s A Breeze
Director: Lance Daly
Producer: Macdara Kelleher

Best International Feature:
Winner: Discoverdale
Director: George Kane
Producer: James Dean and Chris Carey

Second Place: Ernest et Celestine
Director: Benjamin Renner, Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar
Producer: Didier Brumner and Stephan Roelants

The Best First Irish Feature in Association with Crowe Horwath:
Winner: Run & Jump
Director: Steph Green
Producer :Tamara Anghie and Martina Niland

Second Place: Out of Here
Director: Donal Foreman
Producer: Emmet Fleming

The Best International First Feature:
Winner: Boy Eating The Birds Food
Directed: Ektoras Lygizos

Second Place: Closed Season
Director: Franziska Schlotterer

Documentary Awards:

Best Irish Feature Documentary:
Winner: Coming Home
Director: Vico Nikci
Producer: David Collins

Second Place: Close To Evil
Director: Gerry Gregg
Producer: Gerry Gregg

Best International Feature Documentary:
Winner: Plot for Peace
Director: Carlos Agullo’ and Mandy Jacobson
Producer: Mandy Jacobson

Second Place: The Search for Emak Bakia
Director: Oskar Alegria
Producer: Oskar Alegria

The Best Human Rights Documentary in Association with Amnesty International:
Winner: Coming Home
Directed: Vicki Nikci
Producer: Viko Nikci & David Collins

Short Film Awards:

The Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama in Association with Network Ireland Television:
Winner: Mechanic
Director: Tom Sullivan and Feidhlim Cannon
Producer: Tom Sullivan, Suin O’Connor and Derek O’Connor

Special Mention: Rubai
Director: Louise Ni Fhiannachta
Producer: Gemma O’Shaughnessy

The Best First Short Drama in Association with Mazars
Winner: Rubai
Director: Louise Ni Fhiannachta
Producer: Gemma O’ Shaughnessy

Special Mention: Unfold
Director: Steven Daly
Producer: Oisin O’Driscoll

The Best Short Documentary Award in Association with Teach Solas:
Winner: The End of The Counter
Director: Laura McCann
Producer: Aisling Ahmed

Special Mention: Town
Director: Orla Murphy
Producer: Orla Murphy, Orla McHardy

The Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography in a Short Film:
Winner: D.O.P. James Mather for The Girl

Animation Awards:

The James Horgan Award for Best Animation in Association with Telegael:
Winner: The Missing Scarf
Director: Eoin Duffy
Producer: Jamie Hogan

Special Mention: Coda
Director: Alan Holly
Producer: Ciaran Deeney

Best First Animation Award in Association with Cartoon Saloon:
Winner: That’s Not Supposed to Happen
Director: Rory Kerr
Producer: IADT

Special Mention: The Ledge End of Phil (from accounting)
Director: Paul O Muiris
Producer: Pearse Cullinane

Don Quijote Prize in the Animation Short Film Category:
Winner: Coda
Directro: Alan Holly
Producer: Ciaran Deeney

Special Mention: Two Wheels Good
Director: Barry Gene Murphy
Producer: John Kelleher

Special Awards:

Galway Hooker Awards:
Saoirse Ronan
James Morris
Miriam Allen

The Bingham Ray New Talent Award in association with Magnolia Pictures:
Winner: Kelly Thornton for her portrayal of Emma in Life’s a Breeze.

30 Minute Film Festival in association with Galway Film Centre and Solid Media:
Audience Award: The Bank Holiday (Rory Walsh)
Judge’s Award: The Canon (Robert Gaynor)

The Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Award:
Winner: Jacinta Owens for her project, C-Me 2020.


‘Run & Jump’, ‘Coming Home’ and Saoirse Ronan triumph at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh Awards


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

After a week of Irish and international premieres, short films, documentaries, workshops and panels, the 25th Galway Film Fleadh came to a close with the annual awards ceremony. Taking place on Sunday 14th July before the closing film, The Sea, the awards were attended by international film stars Saoirse Ronan, Zachary Quinto, Fionnuala Flanagan and Will Forte, as well as the President of Ireland, Michael.D.Higgins.

Steph Green’s Run & Jump scooped the awards for Best Irish Feature and the Crowe Horwath Award for Best First Irish Feature. Steph Green’s feature debut after her short New Boy received an Oscar nomination, Run & Jump is an unconventional love story set in rural Ireland and stars Maxine Peake and Will Forte.

Other winners included Dead Cat Bounce’s comedy mockumentary, Discoverdale, which picked up Best International Feature. Viko Nikci’s documentary, Coming Home, which follows Angel Cordero, a man who has served 13 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, won both the Best Irish Feature Documentary Award and the Amnesty International Award for Best Human Rights Documentary.

President Higgins presented the special Galway Hooker Awards, which this year went to Miriam Allen, managing director and co-founder of the festival, James Morris, former chair of the Irish Film Board, and Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.

Click here for a list of all the winners at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh Awards.


Galway Film Fleadh: ‘Mister John’ review

Mr John 2804e

 The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

Matt Micucci finds a lot to admire in Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s Mister John, which screened at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh.

The film starts with a beautiful shot of the water, and for a while we are lost in its complex but methodical pattern. Then suddenly, we see a corpse come floating into our frame, and the mystery is introduced. Cut to Jerry, a man who after discovering his wife’s infidelity travels to Singapore to look after the business of his dead brother. Once there, he experiences an awakening of sorts and starts warming up to the idea of leaving his old life behind and becoming his brother’s alter ego.

Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s follow up to their feature film debut Helen is once again about identity swap brought on by stationary unhappiness and dissatisfaction. However, while in Helen it was seen more from a feminine perspective, Mister John is seen from a masculine one; in fact masculinity is possibly the main theme of the film, particularly a man’s own unrealistic perceptions of masculinity in its most conventional form. Here, it is shown with a perfectly balanced brashness and delicacy, in an extremely compelling fashion and with great emotional depth which is the result of a unique kind of synergy that lies at the heart of the filmmaking style of Lawlor and Molloy.

One of the main features of this style is the pace. Mister John does not exactly qualify as a ‘slow cinema’ kind of film, yet there is no denying that it flows widely unhurried. However, its unhurried approach is greatly rewarding partly thanks to the wonderful connection between filmmakers and the beauty of their Singaporean surroundings, flattered by the choice of shooting it through 35 mm film which makes all the difference especially in the way in which the light is captured and heightens the poetic charge. Furthermore, the camera movements are remarkable; while they are complex and meticulous, they do not get in the way of the action – which is something that often happens in other films that use similar cinematographic techniques. In fact, they strengthen the emotional impact of the long silences and reveal Jerry’s personal struggles in a way in which pages of lines of dialogue could never have been able to.

Of course, much of the reason why this works on screen also goes to Aidan Gillen, who delivers a magnetic performance which is perhaps the kind of performance that Helen lacked and also the kind of performance that this film needed to work in such a powerful way. Gillen’s performance also reveals a perfect connection between character and actor which is quite rare; while Jerry has his moments of bravado, sometimes the situations he finds himself in cause reactions in him that are quite degrading. For instance, when Jerry is bitten by a snake as he visits the lake in which his brother was drowned, the bite causes a reaction which gives him a permanent erection. In another scene, he goes up to Lester, a man who owed his brother money and Jerry’s antagonist of sorts, and threatens him regardless of the fact that it’s easy to see he will be overpowered by Lester, who is twice his size. These two moments in the film are direct confrontations between Jerry and his internal struggles with masculinity. However, Jerry is not an alpha male – he is quite vulnerable and troubled, often getting lost in the meanders of his mind as he is particularly affected by his relationship with his cheating wife and his emasculating problem of impotence.

Gillen’s performance in turn is flattered by the photography which follows his movements faithfully and makes good use of close ups. Moments that are particularly fascinating are those when Jerry suddenly seems to blank as life catches up to him and he is brought back to his own home and a recent fight he had with his wife. His blank expressions in these instances reveal an emotional wall he is unable to break down. These moments are also increasingly rare in today’s cinema, but extremely rewarding.

Another interesting aspect of the narrative is his relationship with his dead brother’s wife, who takes him in her house. Kim is a strong and kind woman. The death of her husband has left her troubled, yet she refuses to let it show. At some point, soon after Jerry’s arrival, she tells him that she will open the bar – the bar which she owned with her husband. Her decision to do so reveals a strength and determination, the very same which Jerry lacks and often even looks to admire. The strong bond which creates between them is something they both need.

Mister John is not just a harrowing character study. Mystery flows naturally through the film and its outbursts feel sudden and sometimes unpredictable. Whether Jerry walks through the streets of Singapore or its forests, the setting too seems to contain a sinister and menacing beauty, the kind of beauty that affects Jerry and his awakening deeply – this damned beauty takes us back to the opening shot where the beauty of the lake is suddenly affected by the floating corpse. However, while the intensity and mystery are quite intense, the film does break it up with moments of comic relief which make it more accessible and contribute to a unique kind of film where mystery, tension and comedy seem to be a natural part of life in general.

Last year, Sight and Sound had its poll of the greatest films of all time. Vertigo came out as the number one film voted by a great number of filmmakers and critics. Yet, while its influence is seen in outbursts in a number of films, Lawlor and Molloy with their Mister John seem to have been part of a restricted group of filmmakers who actually took it in their stride to make a dreamlike and hypnotic modern noir which resembles it directly. Mister John is an incredibly brave and ambitious film for today’s cinematic landscape. It is a film of astounding visual beauty and harrowing character study, one with a unique hypnotic approach to grabbing the audience’s attention and a naturally hard hitting approach at grasping an audience emotionally. Admittedly, some may feel slightly alienated by its pace and Jerry’s passivity, but then again a lot of people find it incredibly hard to sit through a Steven Seagal vehicle as well.


Interview: Richard Bolger, producer of ‘How to Be Happy’



Film Ireland caught up with Richard Bolger, one of the producers of How to Be Happy, which has its world premiere on Sunday at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh.

The comedy feature film How to Be Happy stars Brian Gleeson as Cormac, a marriage guidance counsellor who starts sleeping with his clients, and Gemma-Leah Devereux as Flor, a private detective hired to investigate his antics. The film is set to premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh on Sunday, 14th July. Due to demand a second screening has been organised. Both screenings are now sold-out.

Written by award winning writer/director, Conor Horgan (One Hundred Mornings), How to Be Happy is directed by Michael Rob Costine, Mark Gaster and Brian O’Neill. The development of the script was a collaborative effort between Conor and the students of the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course, which prepares filmmakers for the reality of writing, developing, pitching, producing, shooting, editing, posting and distributing feature films in digital formats.

Richard Bolger, one of the producers of the film, relished the experience of working on his first feature film. Cutting his teeth as a producer on the short film Death Can Wait, the course provided him with a great opportunity to step up to the world of features, embracing the challenges such a venture brings with it. “For me as a producer, moving from shorts to features means more complications, such as casting – you need people for longer; you need to get contracts sorted; you need locations and equipment for longer; so there’s all these obstacles. We were doing our film at the lower end of the budget and that makes things harder. I love it though. I like all the phone calls, the paperwork and the stress – I get an energy of that!”

Reflecting on the challenges he faced producing his first feature Richard points out that  “whereas a short film is like a sprint; a feature is very much a marathon. For most people in the class it was their first feature film and it’s trying to get across to everyone that every day is really, really important. When you can only shoot for 17 days everyone’s got to be giving it 110 per cent every day. And that’s hard when you’re working long hours, 6 days a week. It’s trying to keep everyone’s energy up. That’s tough; but the guys were fantastic – and I was lucky in that sense.”

Richard stresses how important teamwork is when coping with the complexities of putting a feature film together. “The dream is that everything runs like a Swiss clock – but that’s never gonna happen. And it’s like putting out fires to keep things running as smoothly as they can. But with everyone rowing in the same direction, everyone with the same vision, everyone with the same drive, it’s a lot easier to deal with obstacles as they present themselves and get the job done.”

The film benefits from some great casting and as well as having Gleeson on board also features the likes of Carrie Crowley, Gemma-Leah Devereux (below), Brian Fortune and Rebekah Wainwright.


“We had 3 directors working on the film [Mark Gaster, Michael Costine and Brian O’Neill] – and that was one of the things I stressed to the lads from the start – casting is so important and so much time should be dedicated to it – whenever you’re reading the script you’re asking “who is that?”. And we really punched above our weight with the actors we got. We were so blessed to have such great talent willing to get involved. You only get to do your first feature once so we aimed for the best cast we could and it was fantastic that we got practically everyone we wanted. And their performance and energy in such a short space of time was amazing to have.”

With How to Be Happy ready for its world premiere this weekend in Galway, Richard is looking forward to this year’s Fleadh and delighted that both screenings are sold out, “which is absolutely fantastic for everyone involved and it’s great to be screening at the Fleadh on the weekend. There’s such a buzz down in Galway and all the filmmakers are there as well. I was only at the Fleadh myself last year for the first time but the greatest thing about it is that you can walk up to any filmmaker and people in the film industry and chat away to them – people you would normally never get access to – and that’s a great opportunity.”


How to Be Happy screens on Sunday, 14th July in the Cinemobile at 11.00 & 12.30





Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh preview: The Sea


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

The Sea

Sunday, 14th July

Town Hall Theatre


The Sea, directed by Stephen Brown and based on the Booker prize-winning novel by John Banville, will close out the 25th Galway Film Fleadh this Sunday. Produced by Dublin-based Samson Films, Ciarán Hinds leads an impressive cast as a widower returning to the seaside resort where he spent summers as a child. The setting for the novel, Wexford, was the location for much of the principle photography.

It is director Stephen Brown’s first feature, and he has been working in TV since he made his last short, the successful The Curious, 18 years ago. Stephen spoke to Film Ireland saying that he was “honoured that The Sea will be shown at the Galway Film Fleadh and that it is recognised as an Irish film. In making it, Ireland has come to mean a lot to me. I found a poetic resonance in the way words are spoken and I found an exacting beauty in the landscape and weather which, all combined, gave me a powerful set of materials to work with. As an Englishman whose contact with Ireland feels like a delight and a beginning, I hope Galway enjoys my movie. Thank you!”

Ciarán Hinds, fresh from the successes of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, heads up a cast that includes Natascha McElhone (Californication, The Truman Show), Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist), Sinead Cusack (Eastern Promises, V for Vendetta), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter) and Ronan Keating’s daughter Missy Keating.

The Sea tells the story of Max Morden who returns to the seaside resort where he spent his childhood in search of peace after the death of his wife. After finding lodges at a boarding house run by the frosty Miss Vavasour, his trip begins to dig up ghosts from his past. His mind returns to the idyllic and eventful summer when he met the Grace family. As Max returns to memories of this unconventional family, and of his departed wife, he will also uncover a distant trauma long forgotten.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at


Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh preview: How to be Happy

how to be happy

The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

How to be Happy

Sunday, 13th July


11.00 & 12.30

How to be Happy, the new Irish comedy, will have its world premiere this Sunday at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh. The story of a relationship councillor who starts sleeping with his clients, the feature was shot on location in Dublin as part of the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production course.

Mark Gaster, who directed the film along with Michael Costine and Brian O’Neill, told Film Ireland, ‘I’m delighted that we’ve made it to Galway. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been involved with such talented, hardworking and dedicated people. The crew, cast and Filmbase had to push extremely hard to get from the initial concept of How to be Happy to a finished feature in the space of about six months. It’s great everyone’s efforts were rewarded with a showing at the Fleadh and, on top of that, not only did we sell out in twenty four hours but when the Fleadh announced a second showing it sold out even faster’.

Brian Gleeson (Love/Hate) stars as Cormac Kavanagh who, after a bad breakup, starts sleeping with his clients in a misguided attempt to reignite their passions. Things get complicated when he falls for Flor, played by Gemma-Leah Devereux (Stitches, The Tudors), a private investigator charged with investigating his affairs. Meanwhile, his cousin Al, played by Stephen Mullan, is an accountant with a marriage in crisis who tries to get Cormac back together with his ex-wife. In a twisting comedy of misunderstandings, their worlds will come crashing together before they all learn How to be Happy.


Galway Film Fleadh: ‘Here Was Cuba’ review



Here Was Cuba is a gripping examination of a moment when the world came closest to self-destruction. Matt Micucci was at the Irish premiere of  the documentary at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh.

The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis is often taught in schools as just another chapter in the Cold War. Furthermore, it’s very hard to find a film about it which is devoid of preconceptions and doesn’t take side, which is one of the elements which make Here Was Cuba, the feature documentary by John Murray and Emer Reynolds, which screened at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday, very rewarding. The film is a gripping examination of that important event in modern history, which portrays the moment when the world came closest to self-destruction in the three way nuclear battle between Kennedy’s US, Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and Castro’s Cuba.

Through great research and an exciting pace, the film is insightful and entertaining in equal measure. “We wanted to make it as exciting as we could and to evoke a kind of cold war thriller feeling,” explained Reynolds. “We thought that if we were successful the audience might suspend for a little while their knowledge of the outcome and feel the reality of the event as it unfolded on the screen. We also wanted to tap into the personal stories and this was perhaps one of the last times some of the participants would have been able to tell their story.”

Indeed, Reynolds and Murray were able to get priceless first-hand accounts of the events through some interviews of people directly involved in the conflict from all its sides. Some of them felt really intimate. The account given by the Soviet who pressed the button and killed Rudolf Anderson, the U-2 pilot who was shot down over Cuba, thus making the only casualty of the missile crisis, feels quite personal; it was his first time being interviewed. A closer look into Khrushchev is also provided by the presence of his son Nikita, whose final speech is particularly harrowing.

Reynolds gave an example of the effectiveness of the neutral approach and accuracy of the research when she talked on an incident involving Soviet nuclear submarines. “The tale in the film is often told about this heroic Russian second in command who refused to press the button when his commander had kind of lost the plot and was insisting that they launch one of their nuclear weapons. Our research revealed a more complex story which was more accidental. It’s also possible that these incidents happened in multiple subs.”

“What struck me about Castro, Kennedy and Khrushchev was they measured response as they got deeper and deeper into it,” observed Murray. “Thankfully, they came to realise what they were playing with, a basic humanity came out even though they were surrounded by very hawkish people telling them to press that button and go to war, especially in Kennedy’s case. It makes you ask yourself, what could have happened with someone with a more aggressive personality in either camp. In also makes you think of how the story parallels today, whether in the White House, the Kremlin or anywhere else.”

Some stunning photography work and clever use of music strengthen the message of the film, which is ultimately to avoid falling into a situation like the Cuban Missile Crisis again, which is why the subtitle of the film is “A Cautionary Tale”. Yet, the film doesn’t really feel patronising and even ends with a series of universal messages by some of the subjects that seem heartfelt.




Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh: Moon Man


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

Moon Man

Saturday, 13th July



Moon Man, the 2D feature animation based on Tomi Ungerer’s best-seller, takes giant steps to the Galway Film Fleadh this weekend. Ireland’s Ross Murray and Paul Young, from Cartoon Saloon (The Secret Life of Kells) produced the film along with the German director, Stephfan Schesch, and French company, Le Pacte. Irish animators who worked on the project include Fabian Erlinghauser (The Secret of Kells), Sean McCarron (Song of the Sea) and Marie Thorhauge (Old Fangs).

Catherine Hehir, Studio Manager at Cartoon Saloon, told Film Ireland, ‘We are delighted that the Galway Film Fleadh will be screening Moon Man, and the fact that author Tomi Ungerer will be there makes it a very special event’.

Ungerer, who is now based in Cork, acted as a consultant to the filmmakers and will be taking part in a Q&A with Stefano Scapolan from Cartoon Saloon after the screening.

Moon Man is a loving family tale about the man in the moon, who isn’t even aware how much children love him. When a shooting star passes by on its way to earth, he hitches a ride and crashes down on a planet ruled by a tyrannical President. Escaping the president’s soldiers, Moon Man sets off on an adventure , where he will marvel at the many wonders the Earth has to offer and realise how much children love and need him.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at


Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh: On The Box preview

Croí Trodach (A Fighting Heart)

The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

A Fighting Heart

Saturday, 13th July



Described by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as ‘ enchanting film…’, A Fighting Heart is the epic story of Johnny Kilbane, poet, politician and the longest reigning World Featherweight Champion of all time. It’s a rags-to-riches story that begins on Achill Island, from where his ancestors originated, and ends in Cleveland, Ohio, where Johnny Kilbane both entertained and served his community until his untimely death in 1957.


The film features recently discovered archive material, including rare footage of Kilbane’s World Title fight that has never been seen before.A Fighting Heart also explores the theme of Irish emigration to the US, the role of Irish workers on the construction of the Erie Canal and the links between the communities of Achill and Cleveland that still exist today.


A screening of A Fighting Heart (English-language version) will take place on Sunday 14 July at 10.00.



Evidently… John Cooper Clarke

Saturday, 13th July




Evidently… John Cooper Clarke records and celebrates the life and works of ‘punk poet’ John Cooper Clarke, looking at his life as a poet, comedian and recording artist, and revealing how he has remained a significant influence on contemporary culture over four decades. With a bevy of artists paying homage to him, from Bill Bailey to Kate Nash, Steve Coogan to Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner, plus cultural commentators Miranda Sawyer and Paul Morley, Evidently… John Cooper Clarke reveals a working poet who despite indifference from the literary establishment remains one of the UK’s most loved poets.


Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh preview: Cold


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)


Saturday, 13th July

Town Hall Theatre


Eoin Macken writes, directs and stars in a new feature, Cold, set to premiere on Saturday at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh. Partly funded through an indiegogo campaign, the film is centred around two disconnected brothers, and is partly inspired by John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

Film Ireland spoke to Eoin Macken about what it means to have his feature premiere at the Fleadh. ‘For me, having my film premiere in the main hall in Galway is an honour. Galway is my favourite film festival, and is a huge part of Irish filmmaking. Ever since I first started attending the festival I have wanted to premiere a feature I directed in the main hall, so it’s very exciting and humbling, and a testament to the talented people who trusted me on this film’.

When Jack (Eoin Macken) returns home due to the mysterious death of his father, a dark history between him and his brother, Tom (Tom Hopper), resurfaces. Events take an unexpected turn when they find a girl dumped still alive in the moors. What follows is a tragic and surreal tale of love and redemption.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at