FOR THE first time in its 32 year history, the Galway Film Fleadh will not take place in cinemas, but will take place entirely online - a response to the strange and extraordinary times we live in.
The 2020 Galway Film Fleadh will run from July 7 to 12 with 10 world premieres, 40 new features, and 10 new short film programmes. The opening night film will be The 8th, a documentary on how Ireland overturned one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws. Directed by Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, and Maeve Boyle, it focuses on some key pro-choice campaigners and how they enabled the emergence of a more liberal Irish society.As well as films there will be live streamed Q+As and In Conversation events; audience questions will be taken from social media; and panel discussions will be hosted as webinars.
The New Irish Cinema section is packed with first features, including Philip Doherty’s black comedy Redemption Of A Rogue, starring Druid actor Aaron Monaghan [pictured below] as a prodigal son who seeks salvation; The Winter Lake, directed by Phil Sheerin an d written by David Turpin, set around a macabre discovery and dark family secrets in the West of Ireland; and Dave Minogue’s Poster Boys, a semi-autobiographical comedy, following the adventures of a dysfunctional adult who agrees to mind his 10-year-old nephew for a week.
Another world premiere is actor/director Eoin Macken’s new feature Here Are The Young Men, adapted from the book by Rob Doyle, and starring Dean-Charles Chapman (1917 ), Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street ), and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, New Mutants ). There is also the Irish language period drama, Arracht, directed by Tom Sullivan, and set on the eve of The Great Famine. The Castle, Lina Luzyte’s directorial debut, is a coming-of-age drama about a Lithuanian teenager living in Dublin. It is an Irish co-production.
International filmsFleadh 2020 will see the Irish premiere of Nathalie Biancheri’s Nocturnal, starring Cosmo Jarvis (Calm With Horses ) and Lauren Coe (Call The Midwife ); The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is an atmospheric horror set in a secluded community in Canada, where a mother and daughter are suspected of witchcraft; My Darling Vivian documents the untold story of Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian Liberto.
There are also a trio of new films from Japan: the island-set drama After The Sunset; the documentary Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa; and the latest anime from director Makoto Shinkai, Weathering With You.
Documentaries to look forward to include a new work by Loïc Jourdain on the residents of Tory Island, Donegal; Henry Glassie: Fieldwork directed by former Fleadh programmer Pat Collins, about the renowned American folklorist; Tomorrow Is Saturday, exploring the cultural legacy of artist Seán Hillen; while American law enforcement is the subject of both Trevor Birney’s The Dakota Entrapment Tapes and Grace Sweeney’s The Sheriff.Softie is a Kenyan documentary portrait of famed photojournalist and activist Boniface ‘Softie’ Mwangi, while Searching for Mr Rugoff traces the legacy of art-house movie mogul Don Rugoff, as directed by his former employer: film producer and Professor at Colombia University’s film program, Ira Deutchman.
The 2020 programme features 10 short film programmes, showcasing 73 new Irish and international shorts, including 35 World Premieres. This year’s jury includes actors Michael Smiley, Fionnula Flanagan, Keith Carradine, Ruth Negga, Liam Cunningham, TG4 Commissioning Editor Laura Ní Cheallaigh, director Allison Anders, and screenwriter Kirsten Smith.
A new competitive strand called Peripheral Visions will be presented with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. This is a showcase for cinema "from the periphery". Highlights include Sympathy For The Devil, the biopic of French war correspondent Paul Marchand, as selected by the Cinemania festival in Québec; River Tales, a Nicaraguan documentary; and the existentialist drama, Kala Azar.There is a varied programme of festival offerings for younger audiences, including the European Film Academy nominated drama, My Extraordinary Summer With Tess; the US high-school documentary Pahokee, which follows three students in a small Florida town through their final year of high school; and a programme of short films curated especially for teen audiences, focusing on identity, belonging, and relationships in the digital era.
How to watch the films
All selected films will be available to rent from online.galwayfilmfleadh.com and will be viewable across multiple devices. Viewers can watch Fleadh films on television via video-casting or through an HDMI connection to their portable device. Tickets will be priced from as low as €5, but there will only be a limited number available for each film.
“This will be the most accessible the Fleadh has ever been before," said Fleadh programme director Will Fitzgerald, "but crucially, there are only as many tickets available as there are seats in the Town Hall Theatre. So book early, and book often!”