Galway Film Fleadh!


The Galway Film Fleadh is Ireland’s leading film festival. It is an academy award qualifying event and has been running for 24 years.  A few months ago, I got three badges to go to it for the work I do on their youth council. This year, almost two hundred films were screened in the form of features, documentaries, shorts, short-shorts and even one minute shorts. Most of these screenings run out of Galway’s Town Hall Theatre in Courthouse Square. Other screenings take place right beside it in the mobile cinema where screenings such as ‘the 30 minute film festival’ run. 

Our day started out driving to the town hall theatre. Without a print-out Google map, it was very apparent that we wouldn’t find it on our first attempt; and wasn’t long before we were outside the building of Galway’s Fire Brigade asking for directions. Luckily, the guy we asked so happened to be Keith Walsh, the director of ‘Apples of the Golan’ a feature documentary showing at the Fleadh. 

Keith was walking there so we gave him a lift and he showed us how to get there. When we arrived we went to the first screening and got our badges. The standard there was brilliant and all of the competition films were made by Irish filmmakers. Probably one of the best things about going to films at a festival is that you see actors and directors afterwards, in the cinema or at a cafe nearby.

These were some of my favourite films:

Spare Change
“A homeless man is in desperate need of change, but what are his intentions?”

Director: Jordan Ballantine. Producers: Jordan Ballantine, Patrick Murphy.

I wasn’t sure initially about this film as I thought the start was a bit longish, but it has a humorous twist at the end that I’m not going to give away. **** 4.5 stars.

The Court Astronomer
This is a story of a Bishop’s cunning plot to murder a lowly, quiet astronomer who might just be smarter than him.”

Director: Alex Fegan.

This was probably my favourite film of drama programme 1. I was a bit apprehensive about it at the start, as I thought it was a bit dodgy making a period film. I felt it fell down in its at-times overwhelming score, but It developed into a very engaging and clever story with a great conclusion**** 4.5 stars. 
“Rhinos tells the story of young couple, Ingrid and Thomas, thrown together by circumstance, who despite a language barrier learn more about each other than they thought possible over the course of a few eventful hours.” 

Director: Shimmy Marcus. Producers: Shimmy Marcus, Ciara Gillan.

This was probably my favourite of the screening. It ticked a lot of boxes that a great film should have; an interesting unpredictable plot, engaging natural actors, humour, drama, simplicity but also nice shots. I really liked this film and it was pure entertainment. **** 4.5 stars. 

The nation held its breath 
“Ireland v. Romania, 1990. Gerry’s TV breaks. His only hope is Mr Levey, an eccentric man who makes Gerry work for the privilege of viewing the match in his home.” 

Director: Emmet Vincent. Producer: Andrew O’Leary.

This was probably the funniest film of both programmes. It had two well-cast actors who led us down a hilarious plot as the lead character Gerry(actor) has to literally dance, answer trivia and write poetry to see the Ireland v Romania match after his TV breaks. It had a setting that gave it great Irish cultural authenticity. **** 4 stars

Happy family 

Dylan is a nine-year-old boy living with his mother, Rachel. When she brings her new man, Olu, into the house, Dylan takes matters into his own hands to get rid of this new intruder and claim back his house.”

Director: Hugh Noonan. Producer: Laurence Snashall.

I thought this was a very funny and thought provoking film. It had a great cast which included Robert Donnelly, who was also in one of the earlier shorts of the day, the court astronomer. Apart from some shaky walking backwards shots at the start it was very well made and was very well produced. I liked the characterisation and the cast seemed very real. **** 4 stars.

The Galway Film Fleadh also runs a festival for called ‘The Junior Film Fleadh’ every November, where young people can have their short films screened in the town hall theatre. First prize in this category is getting automatically selected into the main Fleadh the following July. For more information on this you can for an entry form.

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Craic in the box – An interview with Ardal O’Hanlon

An Interview with Ardal O’Hanlon

Last February one of my favourite comedians (John Colleary from The Savage Eye) was coming to the comedy club at The Model Sligo. I knew that young people had always interviewed visiting artists at The Model. I noticed that even though Ireland’s top comedians regularly come to the comedy club no one ever seemed to interview them – even the local newspapers. I made a few phone-calls and The Model said they’d let us interview him if he agreed. John luckily remembered us from when we had a walk-on part in one of The Savage Eye’s sketches last November, so it wasn’t too hard getting the interview. Since then we’ve been interviewing all of the comics who come to the local comedy club. Our most recent was Ardal O’Hanlon.

Ardal is an award winning comedian, actor and writer from Carrickmacross in Monaghan. He is probably best known by the public for when once-upon-a-time he played the role of Dougal McGuire in the cult Irish Sitcom ‘Father Ted.’ Since then (for the last fifteen or so years) he has led a hugely successful career as a stand-up and done lots of other acting jobs including on ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Skins’.

David and I were to interview him after the show so we went to his show first. I would put him up there as one of the best comedians I have ever seen and his material is honest to God brilliant.

Interviewing him was great – he’s a really nice guy. Owing to summer exams I had to put off editing it until quite recently but it’s up on the ‘Craic in the box’ YouTube channel along with all our other interviews. The next interview I’ll be putting up will be the first interview we ever got which was our one with John Colleary.

Check out the video for the interview!

The Model

Ardal’s Website

Our YouTube

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Coca-Cola Cinemagic International Film & Television Festival for Young People

A couple of weeks ago I saw a notice on the Facebook about how the Coca-Cola Cinemagic International Film & Television Festival for Young People were looking for a jury of young people to judge films aimed at teenage audiences. As far as I know, they have done this every year the festival has been running. Cinemagic started more than 21 years ago in Belfast and now runs festivals in Dublin, Los Angeles and New York. Its patrons include saorise Ronan(the actress) and Dermot o Lear.( X-Factor “your Saturday night starts right here!”) You had to write a letter to them to apply. It seemed to me like a good idea and my brother David and I were delighted when we found out we had gotten onto it.

We arrived in Dublin about three hours early so we decided to embark on a no-where-in-particular tour about the city centre. The judging was going down in one of the function rooms at FilmBase in Dublin which is a super cool building in the Temple Bar, big windows, a trendy cafe, I could go on.

There was five jury members altogether which included us, newly befriended Cian from Cork and two other judges who were from Dublin.

The films we saw were from all over the world. We had to score them, write reviews, try look half sophisticated in the cafe drinking from mugs devoid of handles(optional)  – tiresome work I must say, but it was good fun.
My favourite film was one from new Zealand and David’s was a gang film which was from that part of the world too.

On leaving the judging we decided we’d go to the train station with newly befriended Cian from Cork seeing as David and I had no recollection of how we found the Temple Bar, or how to get back. After about ten minutes the luas pulled up at Huston and we realized that we were in the wrong station and how the Cork to Dublin train does not go through Connolly. We said goodbye to Cian from Cork and jumped on the luas going the opposite way in the hope it might go to Connolly. It did. We got there more or less just on time for the train. Fun day!
Cinemagic runs festivals in Ireland and America too. Their Northern Ireland festival is on this summer so I hope we can go to that for more film jury related antics. Check out the links I’ve spammed at the bottom. The might be of some interest.

Watch this space for an interview with John Colleary from The Savage Eye I recorded last February

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Hello world!

So this is my first post. This is my new blog under the Pseudonym The Robotic Caterpillar. Sometimes I make films,sometimes I watch them and sometimes I go to events. I started to think; What if I made a blog about films and going to events?

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