#Fleadh2016: The 28th Galway Film Fleadh comes to a close with awards honouring Irish cinema
The 28th Galway Film Fleadh came to an end today (July 10th) with the annual award ceremony, celebrating the best in Irish and international short and feature films that were shown over a fantastic 6 days.
The top prize of Best Irish Feature Film was awarded jointly to Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary and Peter Foott’s The Young Offenders. The pair played back-to-back on Friday night, with A Date for Mad Mary earning multiple standing ovations from an enraptured audience, and The Young Offenders earning five laughs before the title card even appeared on screen.
Thornton’s debut feature earned praise from critics and audience members alike, particularly for lead actress Seána Kerslake as the titular Mad Mary. It came as little surprise then that Kerslake was bestowed with the Bingham Ray New Talent Award for her stand-out performance.
Best Irish Feature Documentary went to Frankie Fenton’s It’s Not Yet Dark, which tells the story of the making of Simon Fitzmaurice’s My Name is Emily. Producer on both films, Katherine Kennedy, won the Bingham Ray Award last year. The film’s DoP, Kate McCullough, also picked up the award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film.
Best Human Rights Feature went to David Kinsella’s Northern Irish and North Korean-set story of sectarian divide The Wall, while Best International First Feature went to Irish/UK co-production Moon Dogs, from director Philip John.
In the Short Film categories Graham Cantwell’s Lily won the Oscar Qualifying category The Tiernan McBride Award for Best Short Drama, which will see the film join the long-list for Oscar consideration early next year. It will be joined by Vincent Gallagher’s Second to None, winner of The James Horgan Award for Best Short Animation, which is also an Oscar qualifying category.
Other short film winners included The Love Letter for Best Animated Sequence, Joining Dotsfor Best First Short Animation, Eimear Callaghan’s Groundless for Best First Short Drama, and Merging Views for Best Short Documentary.
The One Minute Film Festival, which is held by the Galway Film Centre, saw a win for Something Borrowedby Carolyn Wagner.
Legendary Irish director Jim Sheridan was also bestowed with the prestigious Galway Hooker Award for his years of work at the forefront of Irish cinema.
Commenting on the success for domestic films at the festival IFB Chief Executive James Hickey commented:
These awards are testament to the continuing excellent health of Irish film. I’m delighted that the joint winners of the Best Irish Feature are both from first time directors that we have supported. The richly deserved award for Seána Kerslake’s breakthrough performance in A Date for Mad Mary comes on the back of strong reviews from the recent Karlovy Vary Film Festival. We look forward to seeing The Young Offenders received by Irish cinema audiences this September.
Speaking about the win for his debut feature The Young Offenders, director Peter Foott said
We are beyond thrilled with being awarded Best Irish Feature at the Galway Fleadh and to be sharing the accolade with the outstanding A Date For Mad Mary. The award is the cherry on top after a fantastic festival, especially the amazingly positive reception the film got on Friday night. We’re even more excited about the film’s release in September now and can’t wait for audiences to see it.
THE BEST FIRST SHORT ANIMATION AWARD IN ASSOCIATION WITH CARTOON SALOON