The Galway Film Fleadh, via ScreenDaily, has announced the first four films that will play at their 30th annual festival, taking place from 10th – 15th July. These include the premieres of three Irish films: Ross Whitaker’s documentary Katie, David Gleeson’s drama Don’t Go, and Telegael’s stop-motion animation Captain Morten and the Spider Queen. They are joined by Matthew Holness’ British horror Possum.
Katie is Ross Whitaker’s documentary on Irish boxing champion Katie Taylor. The film follows Taylor as she recovers from losing her Olympic title in Rio 2016 and charts her comeback as she furthers her career in professional boxing. Bray native Taylor is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish sportspersons and was instrumental in getting Woman’s Boxing added to the Olympics in 2012. During her amateur career Taylor claimed 19 major medals, including an Olympic gold in London in 2012. After less than a year as a professional Katie Taylor added two World titles to the 5 she had already won in the amateur ranks by defeating Anahi Sanchez for the WBA belt before an estimated 50,000 fans at Principality Stadium in Cardiff last October, before uniting that belt with the IBF one by defeating Victoria Noelia Bustos in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York last month.
The documentary is produced by Ross Whitaker and Aideen O’Sullivan (When Ali Came To Ireland) for True Films and Venom with Andrew Freedman (His & Hers, Mom and Me) as Executive Producer with funding from the Irish Film Board / Bord Scannáin na hÉireann, RTÉ, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Wildcard Distribution. Wildcard will release it in Irish and UK cinemas this summer.
It’s always daunting and exciting to be looking forward to that first screening with an audience and particularly at the Fleadh where there is such a knowledgable crowd. The Town Hall Theatre has that bit of scary electricity during the festival and we’re just hoping people enjoy the film as much as we enjoyed making it. They’re going to see someone they might know of but have probably never fully got to know and I think meeting the real Katie and going on this quest with her will be a compelling experience.
Ross Whitaker, Director – Katie
Don’t Go is the story of a man who, following the tragic loss of his daughter, convinces himself he can bring her back if only he can hold onto her hand in a recurring dream. The script was written by Ronan Blaney (Boogaloo and Graham) and director David Gleeson. The cast is led by international stars Stephen Dorff (Blade) and Melissa George (The Slap, Grey’s Anatomy), with support from a host of Iris actors including Simon Delaney (The Conjuring 2, The Good Wife), Aoibhinn McGinnity (Poison Pen, Love/Hate), Gavin O’Connor (Charlie, The Tudors), Lalor Roddy (Michael Inside, Rebellion), Luke Griffin (Noble, Pure Mule), Charlotte Bradley (Veronica Guerin, An Bronntanas), and Laurence O’Fuarain (The Limit Of, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope).
Don’t Go marks Gleeson’s return to directing duties following Cowboys and Angels (2003) and The Front Line (2006). His new film Tolkien from Fox Searchlight and Chernin Entertainment has just been announced and will begin shooting in September in London, starring Nicholas Hoult playing the role of ‘Lord of the Rings’ writer, JRR Tolkien. Nathalie Lichtenthaeler (As If I’m Not There) produces for Wide Eye Films, with Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo as executive producers for Amasia Entertainment. Cinematography was by James Mather (Frank) with production design by Tracey O’Hanlon (Red Rock). Isobel Stephenson (Mr Selfridge, Garage) is the editor and post-production will take place at EGG post Production in Dublin. Financing comes from the Irish Film Board, Amasia Entertainment, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and Northern Ireland Screen.
As Don’t Go was shot entirely on location in Spiddal, Co Galway the Fleadh is a fitting place for its debut.
Captain Morten and the Spider Queen tells the story of a dreamy, 10-year-old boy who whiles away his days fantasizing about captaining his own ship and trying to avoid the ire of his devious and reluctant guardian: Mean Spinster Anna (Pauline McLynn). Morten’s fantasizing goes some small way to distracting him from missing his father Captain Viks (Brendan Gleeson), who is away at sea. Morten aspires to be a captain some day, just like his dad. After a chance meeting with the mysterious and inept magician Senór Cucaracha (Tommy Tiernan), Morten finds himself shrunken down and aboard the deck of his very own toy sailing ship. But Morten has company in the form of an eerily familiar insect crew led by an evil Spider-Queen. With the help of a beautiful butterfly-friend Eliza, Morten must take back control of his ship which is caught up in a threatening storm. Others in the all-star Irish cast include Ciarán Hinds, Jason Byrne, Mario Rosenstock, Michael McElhatton and Neil Delamere. The film introduces young Irish talents Cian O’Dowd and Susie Power as Morten and his friend Elisabeth.
The film is a co-production between Telegael (Ireland), Nukufilm (Estonia), Grid VFX (Belgium) and Calon (UK). The majority of the animation has been produced in Studio Telegael with a crew of more than 30 artists drawn from all over Ireland and further afield.
Possum is the feature debut of British director Matthew Holness, who will be known to Irish audiences as the creator and star of TV series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. The film stars Sean Harris as a disgraced children’s puppeteer forced to confront his dark childhood past.
Together with Possum, a hideous hand-puppet, disgraced puppeteer Philip returns to his childhood home. Staying with his cruel stepfather, Maurice, Philip soon discovers that ridding himself of Possum is no easy task. When his attempts to destroy the demonic puppet fail, Philip suspects Maurice of manipulating Possum to cause him further distress. As their relationship deteriorates, repressed memories of a traumatic childhood start to resurface. When a local child goes missing and the police suspect him of the crimes, Philip is forced to confront the nightmares of his past and discovers that the real demon lurks much closer to home.
Each year the Film Fleadh programmes nearly 100 Irish short films, across six days, including drama and documentary, live action and animation, and everything in-between. Galway is an Oscar® qualifying festival; winners of the James Horgan award for Best Irish Animation and the Tiernan McBride Award for Best Irish Short Drama will qualify for Academy Award consideration without the standard theatrical run. Galway also rewards first time directors in drama and animation, as well as the Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography in a short film. Winners through the years include Lenny Abrahamson, Kirsten Sheridan, Ken Wardrop, Rebecca Daly, as well as DOP’s Kate McCullough, Tim Fleming, and many more.
We are delighted to announce these four films that we hope will whet the appetite of our audiences for the variety of cinema screening at Galway in July.
Miriam Allen, CEO – Galway Film Fleadh
Katie, Don’t Go, Captain Morten and Possum are indicative of the exciting range of docs, dramas, animations and international cinema that will be on display at Galway in July.
William Fitzgerald, Programmer – Galway Film Fleadh
Stay tuned to Scannain for news on more Irish and international films, festival guests and special events are due to be announced in the run-up to the festival on July 10th.