Cinema and films are a great way to connect with people all over the world. This year, the Galway Film Fleadh is celebrating 35 years of bringing New Irish Cinema, World Cinema and filmmakers from all across the world to Galway to celebrate the annual Fleadh together. The film festival will take place from July 11th to 16th and the screenings will either be in the Town Hall Theatre, or Pálás Cinema.
This year, the Fleadh presents 95 feature films from 43 countries. 34 of these are Irish films, with 21 World Premiers, six European Premiers, and 60 Irish Premiers. There will also be 102 short films, moderate panels, events and masterclasses on throughout the week-long event. On top of that, this year, the Fleadh is introducing new sections. ‘Defender’ provides stories of courage and resilience, ‘Artist On Film’ celebrates the works of artists across the art forms, and ‘Architecture On Film’ explores landscapes and buildings.
Other categories this year include music, romance, and different kinds of love (unexpected love, enduring love, and love through the decades). The ‘Peripheral Visions’ competition is back this year to celebrate the best in emerging talent with stories about the land, family secrets and a post-apocalyptic animation.
- Opening Film (including reception): €25.00
- Closing Film (including reception): €30.00
- Daytime Screening (before 6 pm): €10.00
- Evening Screening (6 pm onwards): €12.50
- Daytime Ticket Deal (5 screenings): €45.00
- Evening Ticket Deal (5 screenings): €57.50
The opening film this year is The Miracle Club playing on Tuesday 11th July at 7 pm in the Town Hall Theatre. Directed by Irish director Thaddeus O’Sullivan, and starring Laura Linney, Kathy Bates and Maggie Smith, The Miracle Club tells the story of three friends who live in Ballygar, Ireland, and dream of tasting freedom by winning a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes. Given this opportunity, and all for free, the friends get the chance to reflect on their lives and search for their miracles. Promising a truly joyous, uplifting, hilarious and aspirational experience, this movie empowers viewers to communicate, love and laugh, and realise that we are only as strong as those that stand by us.
A post-show discussion will be held after the film, however, tickets are limited, so if this is a film you are interested in watching, make sure to book your tickets soon.
The closing film this year is Let the Canary Sing, a documentary that chronicles Cyndi Lauper’s ascent to stardom and her impact on music. Emmy Award-nominated documentarian Alison Ellwood provides never-before-seen footage of Lauper, as well as candid interviews and untold stories that fans of the musician will greatly enjoy. Also featured are interviews from some of Lauper’s closest friends, including Boy George, Billy Porter, and Patti LaBelle. The film showcases Lauper’s activism in support for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
A post-show discussion will follow the screening like it did for the festival’s opening film.
You can buy your tickets online at www.tht.ie, and you can choose your seats at the time of booking.
When booking tickets, make sure to double-check what screen the movie will be showing on.
Plan your day with the Fleadh Categories
All of the films that will be shown throughout the week have been placed into 11 different categories to make it easier for viewers to plan their perfect day full of films and fun. These categories include New Irish Cinema, World Cinema Competition, Country of Focus: Nowhere, Peripheral Visions Competition, What the Fleadh?!, Music, Artists on Film, Generation Fleadh, New Dimensions, Defender, and Architecture. Below are some of the categories broken down, and the films (and dates and times) for the movies in those categories.
Galway Film Festival has created several interesting and unique categories that the feature films fit into. The ‘Country of Focus: Nowhere’ category features films that explore the ‘void’, where people are left with no place to be able to call home. These include the hostile world of smugglers and drug dealers and explore the unequal distribution of rights and privileges in today’s world of migration. Within this category, the Fleadh has included Along the Way (July 13th, 11 am), Girl (July 12th, 6 pm), I Must Away (July 12th, 6.15 pm), Love Without Walls (July 12th, 7 pm), and Somebody (July 14th, 1.30 pm).
The ‘What the Fleadh?!’ category presents thriller and suspense films, some of which are experimental with mysterious storylines that, as the film continues, unravel to reveal hidden secrets for the viewer. If this genre interests you, why not check out one (or more) of the films in this category? These films include A House in Jerusalem (July 15th, 2 pm), A Passing Place (July 12th, 9 pm), Apocalypse Clown (July 14th, 9.30 pm), Double-Blind (July 14th, 7 pm), Made in Dublin (July 15th, 4.30 pm), Nightman (July 14th, 10.15 pm), Ocean Deep (July 12th, 10.15 pm), Ordinary Failures (July 13th, 10.30 pm), and The Fires (July 13th, 2 pm).
The ‘Artist on Film’ focuses on the stories of artists. Through this collection of dramas and documentaries, the lives and works of a visual artist, a director, a Nobel prize-winning writer, an actor, a community theatre director, a maestro, and a street artist and activist are told. The films span a number of countries like the UK, Switzerland, the USA, Ireland, Ukraine and Australia. The films in this category include Demiurge (July 13thm 11 am), Douglas Sirk- Hope as in Despair (July 13th, 1 pm), Faulkner: The Past is Never Dead (July 14th, 11 am), Knowing the Score (July 15th, 5 pm), Much Ado About Dying (July 12th, 4 pm), The Art of Rebellion (July 13th, 8.30 pm), and Typist Artist Pirate King (July 15th, 5.30 pm).
The ‘Generation Fleadh’ introduces cinema-goers to coming-of-age stories and looks at the environment, mental health, living with a disability, the growth of photography and new media, and coping with life in crisis. After the showings of all these films, the youth jury will vote and decide on a winner of the 2023 Young Audience Award. The films in this category include Cherry (July 15th, 9 pm), Fantastic Machine (July 15th, 12 pm), Girl (July 12th, 6 pm), I Like Movies (July 12th, 4 pm), Know Your Place (July 12th, 11 pm), Listen (July 15th, 1 pm), Scrapper (July 14th, 4 pm), Solar Wind Alley (July 14th, 11 am), The Wedding Parade (July 15th, 3.30 pm), and Time To Get Away! (July 15th, 11 am).
For the full list of what films are in each category, make sure to check out the Galway Film Fleadh programme. You can also check out the trailers for the films on the website to make the difficult decision of deciding what films to watch a little bit easier.
If you’re looking to dive into some short film options, the Galway Film Fleadh has you covered. Below is a full list of the programmes on each day, and a brief description of a select few. For the full descriptions of each short film on show, make sure to check out the programme or the Galway Film Fleadh website.
- Irish Talent Show: New Shorts 1: Way out West (12 pm, 91 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- World Shorts One: Documentaries (1.30 pm, 122 minutes, Pálás Screen 3)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 2: Documentaries (10 am, 98 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 3: Fiction (12 pm, 93 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- World Shorts Two (2 pm, 102 minutes, Pálás Screen 3)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 4: Fiction (10 am, 91 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 5: fiction (12 pm, 91 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- World Shorts Three (2 pm, 91 minutes, Pálás Screen 3)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 6: Fiction (10 am, 94 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 7: Fís Éireann/ Screen Ireland World Premiere Shorts (12 pm, 102 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 8: Animation (10 am, 79 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
- Irish Talent: New Shorts 9: Documentaries (12 pm, 116 minutes, Town Hall Theatre)
On Wednesday 12th, the Irish Talent: New Shorts 1: Way Out West will be showing in the Town Hall Theatre. This will last 91 minutes. This collection of ten shorts explores works from people working in the West of Ireland, including Irish language dramas set in Connemara. The World Shorts One: Documentaries, showing in Pálás Screen 3 on Wednesday 12th at 1.30 pm and lasting 122 minutes takes a look at five documentaries celebrating cultures from a number of countries including Australia, Iceland, and the USA.
The second part of this compilation, with seven shorts, is the Irish Talent: New Shorts 2: Documentaries which will be showing on Thursday 13th at 10 am in the Town Hall Theatre and lasts 98 minutes. In this compilation, documentaries from established and emerging directors from Ireland will be on show. If you decide to attend, be aware that this programme touches on topics of suicide and violence.
On Friday, the Irish Talent: New Shorts 4: Fiction programme will be showing in the Town Hall Theatre and it will last 91 minutes. This selection explores that Sliding Doors moment where everything changes, for better or worse. This programme touches on topics of suicide and domestic abuse. On the same day, at 2 pm, the World Shorts Three concludes the world shorts section and features the world premiere of six engaging live-action dramas.
For any fans of animation, Sunday’s 10 am showing of Irish Talent: New Shorts 8: Animation promises a collection of 11 short films that honour the creative backbone of Irish filmmaking: the animation sector. Although it may appear to be, this programme is not suitable for younger audiences
Panels and Events
If you’re looking to enhance your time at the Galway Film Fleadh, why not attend one of the panel events that will be held throughout the weekend.
Black and Irish Seminar & Networking Event: (Wednesday 12th at 2 pm, The Dean Hotel) A free seminar on ‘Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism’ in film and TV.
VR Out of the Ordinary (As an nGnách): (Thursday 13th at 10 am, Ballroom, Galmont Hotel) Out of the Ordinary tells the tale of a community forced to flee their barren homeland. Sessions begin every hour, on the hour, and are subject to availability.
Panel on Neurodiversity in the Screen Industry co-sponsored by Screen Ireland and UCC Film Department (Saturday 15th at 4 pm, Veranda, Galmont Hotel) This panel will discuss the importance of neurodiversity in the screen industry, along with why it has become important now.
Short Film Panel: Why Representation Matters: (Sunday 16th at 1.30 pm, Veranda, Galmount Hotel) Among other topics, the discussion will revolve around why representation in film matters.
On Sunday, July 16th at 6 pm, the Galway Film Fleadh will present awards in the Town Hall Theatre. In the category of Feature Film Awards, there are a number of awards that will be given. These are Best Irish Film, Best Cinematography in an Irish Film, Best Marketplace Project Award, Best Irish First Feature, The Pitching Award, Bingham Ray New Talent Award, World Cinema Competition, Peripheral Visions Award, Best International Film, and Best International Documentary.
There will also be a category of awards for the short films that will be shown throughout the festival. These awards include the James Flynn Award for Best First Short Drama, Best First Short Animation Award, Best International Short Animation, Best International Short Fiction, Best International Short Documentary, and Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography in a Short Film.
Want to volunteer?
There are various roles available if you are looking to volunteer with the Galway Film Fleadh, from merchandising and photography to social media, customer service, ushering, and admin. Two shifts are available to work, the morning to late afternoon, and the evening to night.
Volunteers must be over 18 years old to work. While applications to volunteer for this year’s Fleadh are closed, keep an eye open for applications next year through the Galway Film Fleadh website.
Are you looking forward to the Galway Film Fleadh? What are you most looking forward to? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience there!