Galway Film Fleadh 2021

Galway Film Fleadh launches 33rd programme

Featuring a spectacular eleven World Premieres, forty-five new films, and over 100 short films, this year’s Galway Film Fleadh will feature powerful, moving, funny and provocative storytelling from both emerging and renowned filmmakers. 

Embracing Ireland’s ‘outdoor summer,’ the Fleadh’s mainstage this July 20th-25th will be an outdoor cinema in Father Burke Park in the historic Claddagh in the heart of Galway city. Seventeen of the festival’s 40+ feature film line-up, and three of it’s specially curated short film programmes, will screen to an audience of 200 socially-distant audience members with audio delivered via wireless headphones. All the trappings of a summer festival including music, food and audience interaction with featured artists, will be a part of this year’s special edition of Ireland’s leading film event. 

As part of its COVID preparations, festival organisers are assuring film fans that the majority of this year’s festival is still taking place online – with all films, Q+A’s, filmmaker discussions and industry events still being streamed online from the Film Fleadh website to audiences’ devices-of-choice. It is the Fleadh’s wish that those who cannot, or who aren’t yet ready for travel in the current phase of the pandemic, will enjoy the festival from the comfort of their own homes. 

The Fleadh has long been a premiere festival for Irish filmmakers and this year is no different, with over twenty new titles from across the island flying the flag for Irish cinema. Previously announced Northern Irish psychological thriller Here Before and Galway-made exposé on institutional abuse Untold Secrets will open and close the event, while each evening will see new World Premieres like:

Foscadh, an Irish language drama set in the stunning wild mountains of North Conamara, and starring Donal Ó Healaí in a delayed coming-of-age tale that will have you rooting for its hapless hero as he takes his first tentative steps into manhood. Based on the book ‘The Thing About December’ by Donal Ryan.

Other Irish language titles include the murder mystery Doineann starring Peter Coonan as a journalist who discovers his reclusive wife and child have vanished from the family’s island home and The Queen Vs. Patrick O Donnell, the true story of how a Donegal native killed a member of assassination squad The Invincibles, off the coast of South Africa in 1883. 

Who We Love (Clara Harte, Dean Quinn, Amy-Joyce Hastings, Venetia Bowe, Amy Hughes), which started life as an award winning short from writer /director Graham Cantwell and tells the tale of a girl on the cusp of becoming a young woman, who is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

Bicycle Thieves: Pumped Up, an independent feature from director Conor O’Toole described as a magical-realist action comedy. It stars Roxanna Nic Liam, Alison Spittle, Maeve Higgins, Tara Flynn and a host of Irish comedy performers and writers.

And documentaries like Pure Grit, about the male dominated world of Native American bareback horse racing and Sharmaine, a young woman determined to become a champion. And Love Yourself Today, which centres around the music of Irish singer songwriter Damien Dempsey and his fans, whose stories unravel their grief and find light in the darkness through communal art. 

Galway’s line-up also features a host of international cinema with Irish creative talent in front of, and behind, the camera. Death of a Ladies Man stars Gabriel Byrne fresh off his IFTA win for Best Actor as a carousing college professor whose life takes a series of unimaginable turns when he begins to have surreal hallucinations. A Brixton Tale is a story of class divide in London, the gentrification in Brixton, and the appropriation of street culture by the upper classes, co-directed by Dubliner Darragh Carey. And Faith & Branko is a portrait of a personal and professional marriage between two wildly-different musicians in a documentary by Cork filmmaker Catherine Harte. 

As a platform for World Cinema, Galway’s film competition Peripheral Visions focuses on first and second features, and this year’s contenders come from France, Belgium, Nigeria, Spain, Brazil and Northern Ireland. Among them are:

Beasts, a drama about modernisation and sexism on a family farm in France. Madly In Life is a comedy about dementia, told with deftness and dark humour as only Belgian cinema can do. Eyimofe is a tale of tragedy and fate told through the experiences of two Nigerians trying to better the lives of their families. El Planeta is a dark comedy exploring contemporary poverty, female desire, and the filial relationships of mothers and daughters; and in The First Death of Joana a 13 year old girl confronts the values of her community in southern Brazil, the secrets kept by the women in her family and her own nature. 

Movie lovers of all ages will be well catered for with Generation Fleadh, an expanded section of programming for young adults, young children and families, including: Ride the Wave, a thrilling surfing doc about danger, opportunity, and parental dilemma as experienced by 14-year-old Scottish champion Ben Larg, and set amongst the dangerous cold water waves at Mullaghmore in Sligo. Best Summer Ever, an irresistibly appealing high-school musical comedy featuring an integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. And Girls | Museum, a voyage through the historical art collection of the MdbK/Leipzig, guided by the insights of a group of girls, ages 7 to 19. 

The outdoor cinema programme will feature the debut of the Irish language version of the Oscar nominated Wolfwalkers, which, if you thought had a mesmerising beauty and texture before, you will have to watch again as Gaeilge. There will also be big screen presentations of animated classics. A 30 Year Anniversary Screening of the groundbreaking Beauty & the Beast and a screening to mark twenty years of Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning anime, Spirited Away

There are also dedicated sections for international documentaries, LGBT+ cinema, music docs, genre cinema, mid-length programming, as well as the festival’s Oscar Qualifying short film competition, including fifteen programmes of new short films. Two of this year’s shorts programmes, made under the aegis of Screen Ireland’s Actor as Creator scheme, will debut shorts helmed by actors given a bursary to create their own work. 

Tickets for all 45 features and 100+ shorts are available to book from This year’s Galway Film Fleadh runs from July 20th – July 25th.


New Irish Cinema

Irish Stories by Irish writers and directors.

Bicycle Thieves  (Roxanna Nic Liam, Alison Spittle, Maeve Higgins, Tara Flynn)

A pizza delivery cyclist with anger issues has her bike stolen, and resolves to hunt down the thief and get it back, before she is evicted

 Doineann (Peter Coonan, Bríd Brennan)

Discovering his reclusive wife and child have vanished from the family’s remote holiday home, Tomás must trust the island’s lone retired police woman.

Foscadh (Dónal Ó Héalai, Fionnuala Flaherty, Cillian O’Gairbhi)

When his over-cosseting parents pass away, guileless recluse John Cunliffe must navigate the choppy waters of romance and trust for the  first time.


When hikers trespass onto private land, an altercation with the landowner descends into violence.

Who We Love

Lily, a girl with a secret on the cusp of becoming a young woman, is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

Boys From County Hell (Louisa Harland, John Lynch, Fra Fee)

When a hardy gang of Irish workmen, led by naive Eugene and his gruff overbearing father Francie, awaken the ancient Irish vampire that originally inspired the novel ‘Dracula,’ they discover Bram Stoker didn’t know the half of it.

Black Medicine

A black-market doctor faces a stark choice when her ruthless employers ask her to do something beyond even her skewed moral compass.

Untold Secrets

Untold Secrets voices the experiences of Irish institution survivors and focuses on the life and upbringing of one survivor, Anne Silke.

The Story of Looking

Faced with surgery to restore his sight, filmmaker Mark Cousins embarks on a global odyssey to celebrate the human experience of visual culture.

Áine Tyrell: Irish Troubador

Irish musician and mother Áine Tyrrell performs at one of Australia’s biggest festivals and reveals her inspiring story of escaping domestic violence.

The Queen Vs. Patrick O Donnell

The true story of how a Donegal native killed James Carey, a lmember of the assassination squad The Invincibles, off the coast of South Africa in 1883

Love Yourself Today

Part documentary, part concert film, Love Yourself Today is an emotive celebration of modern spirituality and the power of music to heal. 

Ryan McMullen: Debut

Ryan McMullan: DEBUT follows up and coming singer songwriter Ryan McMullan as he prepares to release his debut album, a major staging post in any artists’ career.

Irish Talent: Behind-the-Scenes

What is an Irish film anyway? These films from all places and about all things are led by, and co-produced with, Irish creative talent.

Pure Grit

Chronicling three years in the life of a young Native American woman, Pure Grit is a thrilling and intimate tale of extreme bareback horse racing, young love and hope when all seems lost.

 A Brixton Tale

Wealthy YouTuber Leah chooses shy youth Benji as the subject of her Brixton documentary.

The desire for edgy footage leads them down a dangerous path

Faith & Branko

This intimate documentary follows the cross-cultural relationship between married musicians Faith and Branko.

 Shadows (Mia Threapleton, Lola Petticrew, Saskia Reeves)

A gripping thriller following two adolescent sisters on a journey of self-discovery as they begin to question the confined world in which they inhabit.

Death of a Ladies Man (Gabriel Byrne, Brian Gleeson)

A carousing college professor’s life takes a series of unimaginable turns when he begins to have surreal hallucinations and learns he may be dying. 

Peripheral Visions

A world cinema programme of first- & second-feature directing excellence.


Constance and her fiancé hope to one day take over, modernize and expand her father’s farm, on the verge of bankruptcy, to the large-scale farms that

Madly In Life

Alex and Noémie, both in their thirties, want a child. But their plans are upset when Alex’s mother, Suzanne, starts acting rather bizarrely.


Tragedy and fate intervene as two Nigerians try to better the lives of their families.

 El Planeta

Broke and on the edge of eviction, Leo and her mother bond over their misfortune as they scheme, bluff, and grift their way to a stylish lifestyle beyond their means

The First Death of Joana

Joana, 13, wants to find out why her great-aunt died at 70 without ever having dated anyone. 

I Don’t Wanna Dance

Joey (15) needs to decide whether to pull out of the destructive dance with his mother, or stay with her at the cost of his own happiness.

The Club of Angels

A group of friends meet a mysterious chef that may be poisoning them. Why would these men want to keep returning to the dinners?

Here Before

After new neighbours move in next door, a bereaved mother begins to question her reality in this unsettling psychological thriller.

International Documentaries

Secrets From Putumayo

1910. Roger Casement, British Consul in Brazil, investigates crimes against indigenous

communities of the Amazon, based on killings and slave labor.

Sometimes I Dream in Farsi

Pirooz Kalayeh uncovers a traumatic event with racism when he was a child and seeks to heal himself and his family through interviews, therapy, and roleplays.

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

Witness the work of community members in the Kainai First Nation as they bring hope and change through harm reduction to Blackfoot people. From director Elle-Maija Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open).

Meat the Future

The next agricultural revolution is coming to your plate. Meat made from cells, without animal slaughter, will change how we think about food.

Ride the Wave

What bigger challenge for a young surfer than one of the biggest and most dangerous cold water waves in the world at Mullaghmore, Ireland?

Generation Fleadh

Films curated for young adults, young children, and families.

Two by Two

Noah’s ark drifts on the open seas, with best friends Finny and Leah on board. But, after weeks with no land in sight, food stocks are running low. The fragile peace between carnivores and herbivores could break any second.


Chuaigh sealgaire printíseach óg agus a athair go hÉirinn chun na mactirí a bhí fánta sa tír a mharú, ach tagann athrú ar chuile rud nuair a castar cailín óg bríomhar fuinneamhach orthu de threibh mistéireach, a bhfuil sé ráite fúbh go naistríonn siad go mactírí san oiche.

Best Summer Ever

An exhilarating take on the teen musical genre with eight original songs and an integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities.

30th Anniversary Screening: Beauty & the Beast

The third film released during the Disney Renaissance period, the second Disney musical collaboration of Howard Ashman & Alan Menken (after The Little Mermaid) and the first animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning anime turns 20: when her family moves house, a 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches and spirits.

Girls | Museum

A voyage through the historical art collection of the MdbK/Leipzig, guided by the insights of a group of girls, ages 7 to 19.

Out on Film

LBGT+ films from around the world

Rebel Dykes

A rabble-rousing documentary set in 1980s post-punk London, UK, the unheard story of a community of dykes.

P.S. Burn This Letter Please

A box of letters, held in secret for nearly 60 years, ignites a 5-year exploration into a part of LGBT history that has never been told.

At the End of Evin

A transgender girl in Iran finds a rich man to pay for her gender reassignments surgery, who has an ulterior motive.

What the Fleadh?!

Sci-fi and scary films. Eerily insightful or just plain eerie?


One horrible night reveals secrets of forgotten history, of cursed lands, and a family of farmers is confronted with evil spirits.


After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister’s disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.

I’m Your Man

A playful comic-tragic tale about the questions of love, longing and what makes a human being human.


Some of the best new films under sixty minutes!

Chaotic 2020

When a Palestinian filmmaker moves to Ireland just before the pandemic, she finds that restrictions seem to follow her.

Mountrath Unlocked

When a global crisis strikes a forgotten town in the middle of Ireland, the community look into their past for answers to their future.


Daniel Psenny, journalist at Le Monde newspaper for 25 years, witnessed the bloodiest terrorist attack in France’s contemporary history from his window.

Drone Bone Jetty

In a dystopian Galway, the newest recruit at the Academy of Holodramatic Arts encounters a future of “art without artists”.

Short Films

  1. World Shorts: Programme One
  2. Irish Talent: New Shorts One: Family Shorts
  3. Irish Talent: Actors As Creators: Programme One
  4. Irish Talent: New Shorts Two: Documentaries
  5. Irish Talent: New Shorts Three: Fiction
  6. Irish Talent: Actors As Creators: Programme Two
  7. World Shorts: Programme Two
  8. Junior Film Fleadh: Disney Live-Action Launchpad Short Films
  9. Irish Talent: New Shorts Four: Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland World Premiere Shorts
  10. Animated Short Films: Programme One
  11. Irish Talent: New Shorts Five: Fiction
  12. Irish Talent: New Shorts Six: Fiction
  13. World Shorts: Programme Three
  14. Animated Short Films Two: Kid’s Programme
  15.  Irish Talent: New Shorts Seven: Documentaries