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Galway Film Fleadh
07 Jun 2001 :
The Galway Film Fleadh, running from July 10 - 15, has over seventy international features, documentaries, short and animated films representing the best in contemporary world cinema will be brought to the screens of Galway’s Town Hall Theatre and Multiplex cinemas.

Opening the Fleadh this year is the premiere of John Carney’s 'On The Edge', a touching story of youthful vulnerability told with insight and humour, boasting a cast of talented newcomers and seasoned professionals including Irish actors Cillian Murphy (Disco Pigs, The Trench, Saltwater, Sunburn, Sweety Barrett) and Stephan Rea (The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire).

Les Blair’s 'H3' (formally known as ’66 Days’) is the Fleadh's closing film. Written by former hunger-striker Laurence McKeown, 'H3' is set during the hunger strikes at the Maze prison in 1981. Goran Paskaljevic will premiere his unusually-titled film 'How Harry Became a Tree', starring Colm Meaney, Cillian Murphy, Adrian Dunbar and Pat Laffan at this years Fleadh. Mel Smith’s latest feature will also premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh this year. 'High Heels and Low Lives', starring Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack, Kevin McNally and Michael Gambon, tells the story of two women who, overhearing a heist, devise a seemingly fail-safe plan to blackmail the bank-robbing gang.

The Fleadh 2001 programme includes a season of Iranian film and the festival is paying special tribute to the Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami, who is coming to Galway to present a selection of his work, including 'Close Up', 'Through the Olive Trees', 'Life Goes On' and 'Where is the Friends Home', and his most recent documentary ABC Africa which captures the plight of the thousands of children, orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Having begun his film career in 1969 with Ghaisar, Kiarostami has since collaborated on over 80 films, be it as writer, director, producer or actor. Considered by many as one of cinemas most accomplished artists, Kiarostami has flourished under Iran’s strict restrictions on free expression. Godfrey Cheshire, renowned critic and expert on Iranian cinema, argues that it is precisely these restrictions that have created a “greenhouse effect”, leading to a cinematic style “in stark contrast to the mechanistic big-budget sensibility of Hollywood”. A selection of the most sought-after recent Iranian releases will also be screened throughout the week.

In its NORDIC SEASON, the Fleadh will present films from Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, including 'Detektor', 'Ikingut', the documentary 'Seven Songs for the Tundra', 'Family Secrets', 'Jalla!Jalla!' and 'Italian For Beginners'. The Fleadh will also play host to many of the directors, writers and producers involved in these films. The Irish / Danish / German animated feature 'Help I’m a Fish' will premiere at the Fleadh and there will be a ninety minute Nordic Shorts programme. Opportunities for filmmakers to explore and discuss the possibilities for co-productions between Ireland and the Nordic States will be facilitated through MEDIA Antenna and the Galway Film Fair.

Irish films featuring in this year’s programme include Martin Duffy’s most recent film 'The Testimony of Taliesan Jones' and 'The Most Fertile Man in Ireland' by Dudi Appleton. Philip King and Nuala O’Connors feature length documentary 'Freedom Highway' will premiere during the Fleadh. Documenting the great struggles of the twentieth century through the music and song which has been associated with them, it features interviews with such musical luminaries as Tom Waits, Emilylou Harris, Pete Seeger, Elvis Costello, Bono and Jonas Gwangwa.

Other documentaries screening at the Fleadh are 'Promises' and 'Children Underground', both of which deal with the plight of children abandoned by society and forced to survive by whatever means possible. 'Promises' explores the way in which the Israeli / Palestinian conflict has both subtly and overtly shaped the lives of the children who grow up in its shadow. 'Children Underground' looks at the homeless children of Bucharest, (Romania) as they struggle daily against violence, drug abuse and hunger. On a lighter note, Greg Walloch’s 'F**K the Disabled' examines society’s often skewed perception of gay people and the disabled. Using footage of Greg’s show “White Disabled Talent”, this film also features Stephen Baldwin, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller and Deborah Yates. Politically incorrect, politically challenging and politically untouchable, Greg Walloch makes the viewer question the term ‘disabled’ as he pokes fun at religion, society, his friends and himself.

This year’s International Section will bring a wide selection of films to screens in Galway, which have had a very limited Irish release to date. These will include Ken Lonergan’s 'You Can Count on Me', and Aronofsky’s 'Requiem For A Dream' - both of which received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations – 'Yi Yi' from Taiwan’s Edward Yang, for which he was awarded the Best Director accolade at the Cannes Film Festival, and Francois Ozon’s 'Under the Sand' featuring Charlotte Rampling as a woman whose husband never returns from a swim, but who refuses to believe he is gone.

The Fleadh will also be paying a number of special tributes this year. Colm Meaney will be in Galway for the Fleadh and a retrospective of his work will be screened, including 'The Snapper', and 'Claire Dolan'. Jim Sheridan will also be making a guest appearance, as will the Swiss animation expert George Schwizgebel whose work will be featured throughout the week of the Fleadh. The Fleadh will also honour the experimental filmmaker Pat O’Neill this year. A selection of his work will be shown and he will also take part in a debate on experimental film as well as a workshop on experimental filmmaking run in conjunction with the Galway Film Centre.

As in previous years, the Galway Film Fair will provide opportunities for Irish filmmakers to meet with invited financiers from around the world. The Fair, which runs from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July, is the only one of its kind in Ireland and has helped forge valuable links for Irish producers.

Full details are available from the website: www.galwayfilmfleadh.com



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