New film follows Galway pupils through the challenges of 2020

'They lead by example. They represent all of the other children and represent the school community here with distinction'

A year in the life - during the most challenging year of 2020 - of the sixth class pupils of Scoil Bhríde Primary School, Shantalla, is captured in a new film, Giant Steps.

Giant Steps, directed by Des Kilbane will premiere online on Friday February 19, as part of Galway 2020 European Capital of Cultures Small Towns Big Ideas strand.

The film concentrates on everyday life for nine of the pupils, following them tending the school garden, taking a tour of City Hall to learn about the workings of the Galway City Council, and learning wire walking with Galway Community Circus.

Filming began in September 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted filming for six months. The film changed direction from the planned filming schedule which was to culminate in their participation in the Galway Community Circus ‘Wires Crossed’ project.

Instead of seeing them cross the river on a spectacular high wire we revisit them in October 2020 as they settle into first year in various secondary schools across the city and find out how they coped from March 2020 when the first lockdown hit Ireland.

'Scoil Bhríde is a microcosm of Galway'

Scoil Bhríde Primary School Shantalla

“We had the opportunity to talk about how Covid has changed their lives, how they were finding life in secondary school, where they had moved from being big fish in a small pond to being little fish in a fast-flowing ocean," said Des Kilbane. "This made it a very different story. With 31 different nationalities, Scoil Bhríde is a microcosm of Galway. The creativity in that school is evident and symbolises Galway, which is why I was excited to be a part of it.”

The principle of Scoil Bhríde, Frank Keane, said he had "huge admiration" for the children involved. "The represent our school so well," he said. "Sixth class are our leaders. They lead by example. They represent all of the other children and represent the school community here with distinction. They handled this crisis with real courage. My admiration for them is huge, not just as children but as people.”

Giant Steps will be available to watch online from 19 February at until March 21.


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