Galway Film Fleadh

#Fleadh17: Aithrí/Penance and The Drummer and the Keeper among 4 added to 29th Galway Film Fleadh

Two more Irish films are among the latest announced to feature at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh. Tom Collin’s historical drama Aithrí/Penance and Nick Kelly’s feature directorial debut The Drummer and the Keeper will World Premiere at the festival. They will be joined by UK productions Daphne and Starfish. The festival runs July 11th to 16th.


In Peter Coonan, who is best known for playing Fran in Love/Hate, plays Father Eoin O’ Donnell, a young firebrand priest, who uses his influence over his parishioners, and in particular, a teenage boy called Antaine, to promote violence against the British in the lead-up to the 1916 Rising. O’Donnell and Antaine meet again in Derry in 1969 where both men are forced to re-examine their shared past and the deadly events that have been set in motion as a result. Coonan is joined by Terry Byrne, Barry McGovern, Gerry McSorley, Diona Doherty, Dara Deveney, and Padraig Parkinson.

Prolific filmmaker Tom Collins holds the unprecedented distinction of being twice nominated as Ireland’s Entry for Best Foreign Language Film at The Academy Awards for his films Kings 2008 and The Gift/An Bronntanas in 2014. He has produced or directed 13 documentaries and feature films including Bogwoman, Dead Long Enough; Teenage Kicks – The Undertones and The Boys of St Columb’s. In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Life Time Achievement Award by the Directors Guild of Ireland for his “Outstanding Contribution to Irish Filmmaking”.

The film was written by Greg Ó Braonáin and Tom Collins, with Collins produces alongside Edwina Forkin (Zanzibar Films), Aithrí/Penance is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, The Irish Film Board, TG4, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The Drummer and the Keeper
The Drummer and the Keeper

Written and directed by Nick Kelly, The Drummer and the Keeper is an uplifting comedic story of an unlikely friendship between Gabriel, a 25-year-old rock’n’roll party animal with bipolar disorder who revels in rejecting society’s rules; and Christopher, an institutionalised 17-year-old goalkeeper with Asperger Syndrome who yearns to fit in.

The film stars an ensemble of young Irish actors including Dermot Murphy (Clean Break, Raw),  Charlie Kelly (The Secret Scripture, Jadotville), Adrian Hudson (Striking Out, Rebellion), and newcomer Jacob McCarthy. Established talent includes Peter Coonan (Get Up and Go, Love/Hate), Olwen Fouéré (The Survivalist, Traders) and Aoibhinn McGinnity (Moone Boy, Love/Hate).

The Drummer and the Keeper is the directorial debut of Nick Kelly, whose short film Shoe was shortlisted for an Academy Award® and is produced by Kate McColgan for Calico Pictures (From the Dark) with support from the Irish Film Board. The film shot at locations in and around Dublin for 4 weeks including the iconic Dublin rock venue Whelan’s. You’re Ugly Too and Pilgrimage cinematographer Tom Comerford acted as DoP, with editing by Derek Holland (The Belly of the Whale, Designing Ireland).

The film was made under the Catalyst Project, through which Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board selected three feature film projects to be given the opportunity to be produced and fully funded by the IFB.

Daphne is a sharp character-driven story that maps the fortunes of a young woman negotiating the tricky business of living in London, as she approaches her thirtieth birthday. Not only does Daphne’s impending birthday induce anxiety, it also comes with a family party and associated questions about her life that she would really rather avoid. So she sets out to shed her hedonistic excesses and the people she’s outgrown. She starts to search for meaning in her chaotic life of casual sexual encounters, late drunken nights and early mornings in a dead-end job.

The film is the directorial debut of Peter Mackie Burns, and has screened at a number of prestigious festivals worldwide, including SXSW, IFFR in Rotterdam, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Daphne stars Emily Beecham, Geraldine James, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Nathaniel Martello-White .

Written and directed by Bill Clark, based on a true story, Starfish follows a family that is thrown into turmoil when the husband contracts sepsis, a brutally damaging illness. Hidden deep in his blood is a rare and terrible disease, waiting to strike and destroy not just his face and limbs, but everything in life he holds dear.

Starfish world premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, before going on a worldwide tour of film festivals. Galway will be an Irish audience’s first chance to see the film, which stars Joanne Froggatt, Tom Riley, Phoebe Nicholls, and Michele Dotrice. Tom and Nic Ray will attend the Galway screening to support the film and to raise sepsis awareness.

The 29th Galway Film Fleadh reveals its full programme on June 27th at 6pm in Galway and online at The festival takes place from July 11th to 16th in the Town Hall Theatre, Galway.