Junior Film Fleadh to preview Galway produced animated film

NIKO & The Way To The Stars an award winning new CGI animated film, will receive a special preview screening as part of the Junior Galway Film Fleadh - ahead of its nationwide release on November 28.

The film will be shown in the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday November 15 at 12 noon. Niko the reindeer longs to fly and dreams of one day meeting his father who is a celebrity member of the famous Santa’s Flying Forces. With the help of Julius the flying squirrel and Wilma the singing weasel, he tries to achieve his dream.

Niko & The Way To The Stars was produced by the award winning Galway company Magma Films. It has taken both the Jury and Audience awards at children’s film festival Cinekid in Amsterdam recently - the first time a film has picked up both top awards.

The film is supported by the Irish Film Board, and the Government of Ireland Section 481 tax incentive. Niko is currently on release in Finland and enjoying the highest audience figures ever for a children’s film.

Irish based writer Marteinn Thorisson co-wrote the screen play, while young Irish actor Andrew McMahon gives the voice to Niko. Morgan Jones, Paul Tylak, Aileen Mythen, Alan Stanford and many other Irish actors feature in the film’s voice track.

Junior Galway Film Fleadh

Niko & The Way To The Stars is just one of a number of fascinating and quality films the fleadh will be screening this year. The fleadh runs from Wednesday November 12 to Friday 14 and will feature films, documentaries, animations, and short films.

Among the films to watch out for is France’s De Battre Mon Coeur S’est Arrêté (The Beat My Heart Skipped ) on Thursday November 13 at 10am.

Tom is a gangster like his father. He is hard boiled, though can be considerate. A chance encounter prompts him to take up the piano and become a concert pianist, like his mother. He senses that this might be his final opportunity to take back his life and quit crime. His piano teacher is a Chinese piano virtuoso who has recently come to live in France. Can he win the girl and go straight or will his endeavours fail?

Possibly the key film at this year’s fleadh will be the acclaimed German drama Die Welle (The Wave ), which will be screened on Wednesday November 12 at 10am.

Inspired by true events, this film is a cautionary tale in which a secondary school teacher’s unusual experiment to show his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when the movement takes on a life of its own.

As the experiment continues most students fall into line but some, seeing the parallels with Nazism, begin to get concerned.

The film is based on Morton Rhue’s novel The Wave - required reading material in many German schools - which is itself based on an experiment conducted by history teacher Ron Jones at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto in 1967. Jones served as consultant to the current production.

“The subject didn’t let go of me,” said director Dennis Gansel. “I always wondered, could that kind of thing still happen to us? In modern-day Germany, which is so liberal and enlightened, where we spend so much time talking about Nazism and the Third Reich? Would we still fall for it? That was a question I found so fascinating I wanted to look into it.”

This year’s Irish language feature is the ground-breaking Poitin (1977 ), by Bob Quinn which will be screened on Friday November 14 at 12.30pm.

The first feature film to be made entirely in the Irish language, it starred Cyril Cusack as a poitin maker in Connemara who lives with his daughter. Two local degenerates (Donal McCann and Niall Toibin ), terrorise the old man for his contraband liquor, threatening to kill him and rape his daughter, until the poitin maker outwits them and tricks them to their deaths.

The fleadh also features Up The Yangtze, a documentary about the reality of living in 21st century China (screening Thursday 13 at 2.30pm ) and Man On Wire (screening Wednesday 12 at 2pm ) which looks at Philippe Petit’s illegal high wire act across New York’s Twin Towers in 1974 and the dangerous nature of the artistic impulse.

Tickets are available from the Town Hall box office on 091 - 569777. For more information also contact the Galway Film Centre on 091 - 770748.

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