Richard Kelly

#FilmFleadh: Screenwriting Masterclass with Richard Kelly at 29th Galway Film Fleadh

American writer/director Richard Kelly will be the subject of this year’s Screenwriters Masterclass at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh. The calss will take place on Thursday, July 13th.

With his visually arresting, tonally eclectic and intellectually engaging films, writer-director Richard Kelly has created one of the most rewarding bodies of work in the industry. He has also consistently been ahead of his time.

Kelly’s first feature Donnie Darko is now one of the most beloved cult hits of the 21st century. It had a slow start after bowing at Sundance 2001. Building up a cult following, almost exclusively based on word of mouth, it went on to become a cultural touchstone for multiple generations of cinephiles. Shout “Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!” at a room full of people and you’re sure to get laughs from a wide cross-section of ages, genders and film tastes. With its mixture of suburban ennui combined with a late 80s sense of approaching catastrophe, it’s a film that in many ways set the pop-culture tone for post 9/11 America.

Kelly’s follow-up, Southland Tales, is similarly prescient. It is only now, a decade after its initial release, reaching a whole new audience of loyal fans and winning over critics who initially dismissed it. Re-watching it, it’s hard not to be struck by how on the money it was (particularly in terms of the impact of the Iraq War and the widening of the political divide in Washington) or by just how far it pushes the envelope of what we expect from cinema. In the words of New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, Southland Tales “has more ideas, visual and intellectual, in a single scene than most American independent films have in their entirety.” It’s a unique and often brilliant film that rewards multiple viewings.

Occupying a space somewhere between The Twilight Zone and a pop-culture-savvy Jean-Paul Sartre, is Kelly’s third film The Box (starring James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella) which follows up on some of Donnie Darko and Southland Tale’s themes It explores humanity’s self-interest and predilection towards greed and consumerism, in a heady sci-fi morality tale.

In addition to his own work, Kelly has worked as a writer for other directors including Tony Scott and Alex Proyas. More recently he has served as a producer on films including Bobcat Goldthwait’s dark comedy World’s Greatest Dad and the adaptation of Tucker Max’s novel I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. His production company Darko Entertainment also produced comedies such as Goldthwait’s God Bless America and Jason Bateman’s Bad Words.

With literary and cinematic influences including Terry Gilliam, Kurt Vonnegut, Phillip K. Dick, Kafka, Richard Matheson, and Peter Weir, Kelly’s screenplays have defied the boundaries of genre in a way that’s rarely seen outside of literature. The Fleadh are delighted to have him as the subject of their Screenwriting Masterclass at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

The masterclass will be moderated by Mary Kate O’Flanagan, who is an award-winning screenwriter and story consultant in the European film and television industry. She teaches story in the UK, US, and across Europe as well as in Ireland.

The masterclass costs €50 and will take place on Thursday the 13th of July from 10am – 1pm in the Radisson Hotel, Galway. For further information or to apply for a place, contact Brónagh Keys by emailing

Some scenes may be inappropriate for a young audience – viewer discretion advised.
The closing date for applications is: 1pm Friday – the 7th of July 2017.