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2017 Galway Film Fleadh Begins With Irish Film Front and Centre

12th Jul 2017

As the 29th Galway Film Fleadh kicks off, Irish film is set to take centrestage at the prestigious festival. This year’s line-up includes seventeen IFB-supported features and documentaries, featuring a host of world premieres. The Fleadh will host the Irish premieres of Pat Collins’ critically acclaimed Song of Granite and Brendan Muldowney’s thirteenth century Irish epic, Pilgrimage, alongside the world premieres of Tom Collins’ Aithrií/Penance, Gerard Barrett’s Limbo, Nick Kelly’s The Drummer and the Keeper, Stephen Burke’s MAZE, and Frank Berry’s Michael Inside among many others.

Already a favourite on the international festival circuit, Pat Collins’ Song of Granite received its world premiere at SXSW in Austin and recently screened Out of Competition at Karlovy Vary. Produced by Alan Maher and Jessie Fisk of Marcie Films, Song of Granite is the festival’s opening film. Portraying the life of legendary Irish sean-nós singer, Joe Heaney, the film sees the beautiful yet harsh Connemara landscape combined with the myths, fables and songs of Heaney's childhood that helped shape this complex and gifted character. 

Fresh from its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and a screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Brendan Muldowney’s highly anticipated action-thriller, Pilgrimage will receive its Irish premiere at the festival on 13 July ahead of its nationwide release the next day. The thriller, which is produced by John Keville and Conor Barry, follows a small group of monks as they undertake a treacherous pilgrimage to escort their monastery’s holiest relic to Rome. The film has already garnered vast international interest thanks to an all-star cast which includes Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal and Richard Armitage. 

Frank Berry’s Michael Inside will receive its world premiere in Galway and portrays the institutionalising impact of the prison system as it depicts Michael McCrea, a young and impressionable teenager who is sentenced to three months in prison after being caught holding a bag of drugs for his friend’s older brother. The film, which is produced by Donna Eperon, Tristan Orpen Lynch and Aoife O’Sullivan, sees Berry teaming up once again with the young actor, Dafhyd Flynn, following 2014 collaboration, I Used To Live Here.

Tom Collins’ Aithrí/Penance and Gerard Barrett’s Limbo will also both make their debut screenings at the Fleadh. Produced by Edwina Forkin alongside Collins, Aithrí/Penance stars Peter Coonan as a priest who is unequivocal about the need for violence to force Britain out of Ireland. Limbo charts twenty-four hours in the life of a young Irish mother and child as they battle homelessness while living in emergency accommodation, searching for a stable life. Barrett co-produced the film alongside Gráinne O’Sullivan of Blank Page Productions.

Nick Kelly’s The Drummer and the Keeper, which stars young Irish actors Dermot Murphy and Jacob McCarthy, is the story of an unlikely friendship between a 25-year-old rock’n’roll party animal with bipolar and a 17-year-old goalkeeper who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Produced by Kate McColgan for Calico Pictures, the film’s Galway screening will also be the world premiere.

Also receiving its world premiere at the Fleadh is Stephen Burke’s prison-break drama, MAZE, featuring Tom Vaughan Lawlor and Barry Ward. MAZE is inspired by the true events of the infamous 1983 prison breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP MAZE high security prison, which was to become the biggest prison escape in Europe since World War II. The film is produced by Jane Doolan and Brendan J. Byrne.

Among the strong selection of Irish titles at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh, the line-up will also include Aisling Walsh’s Maudie, which will screen at the Town Hall, telling the story of real-life Nova-Scotian folk artist, Maud Lewis. The film premiered at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival and also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, before receiving a an Opening Gala Screening at this year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival. Volker Schloendorff’s Return to Montauk, which had its world premiere at the 67th Berlinale and is co-written by acclaimed Irish writer, Colm Tóibín, will be the festival’s closing films. Conor Barry and John Keville of Savage Productions are on board as the Irish co-producers in the film which explores whether the past can be rewritten and a long-lost love rekindled.

For a full line-up including Irish and international titles showing at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh, please click here.  

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