IN MARCH 2010, the arrest on terror charges of a blonde, blue-eyed, American, who called herself ‘Jihad Jane’ made headlines around the world. Her story is now a major new documentary to be screened at the Galway Film Fleadh.
The 46-year-old Colleen LaRose had been radicalised in rural Pennsylvania by evening news bulletins. At the same time, another American, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, from Colorado, was arrested in Waterford.
Amid a backdrop of NSA surveillance, media hysteria and online radicalisation, Jihad Jane is a story of marriage proposals, a murder plot, and the world’s most unlikeliest terror cell. Directed by Ciaran Cassidy, it receives its world premiere at the fleadh, which runs from July 9 to 14.
European premieres at the fleadh include Blinded By The Light, a coming-of-age/comedy film set in Thatcher's Britain. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, it is based on the life of Sarfraz Manzoor, who co-wrote the script, and deals with finding his own voice and his obsession with Bruce Springsteen. It stars Hayley Atwell and Rob Brydon.
Other European premieres are American indie comedy-drama Adam, starring Margaret Qualley; and the slice-of-life drama Driveways, both produced by former Focus Features CEO, James Schamus. He will deliver the keynote address at the Fleadh Forum, the festival’s state-of-the-industry discussion platform. He will also receive the Fleadh's Galway Hooker Award for Outstanding Achievement on Sunday July 14 at the Town Hall Theatre.
Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm ), producer (Brokeback Mountain ), and former CEO of Focus Features (Dallas Buyers Club, Lost in Translation, Milk, The Pianist ). His feature directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth's Indignation, starring Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Tracy Letts, premiered at the 2016 Sundance and the Berlin film festivals. His New York based production company, Symbolic Exchange, produced Kitty Green’s acclaimed feature documentary Casting Jon Benet which had its world premiere at Sundance and launched on Netflix in 2017.
The full programme for the 2019 Galway Film Fleadh will be announced on Tuesday June 25 at the Galmont Hotel, Galway. See www.galwayfilmfleadh.com