Film Hub goes west - part two
Part two of Film Hub's write up of their trip to the 29th annual Galway Film Fleadh, which took place from 11th-16th July.
Sara’s pick The Farthest
The Farthest is an absolutely stunning documentary, directed by Emer Reynolds, which charts the progress of the Voyager programme from the launch in 1977 of Voyager 1 & 2 until now. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are examined up close, with surprises along the way, resulting in pioneering and brilliant footage of previously unexplored territory billions of miles away. The recurring theme of the ‘Golden Record’ which runs through the film, along with the interviews with the wonderfully warm, funny and passionate staff who worked on the project, makes this a total joy to watch. If you have even a passing interest in science, space, the potential of existence on other planets or just the wonder of humanity’s achievements then check this incredible story out. You’ll be beaming for days.
Hugh’s Pick Michael Inside
This is a devastating film about the life of one young man from a Dublin housing estate who although smart and full of potential ends up getting dragged into gangs and crime. If that sounds like a clichéd story, it is recast by the excellent cinematography from Tom Comerford (who also worked on Pilgrimage and The Drummer and the Keeper which screened at this year’s Fleadh) and brilliant performances from Dafhyd Flynn as Michael and our own Lalor Roddy as his long suffering grandfather lift this into another realm. The film, created by Frank Berry, was heavily researched and workshopped with former prisoners from the Irish Prison Service’s Pathways Programme so has the realistic tang of authenticity. With that authenticity comes a deep sad understanding that in many communities lives are blighted for the want of love, and the endless cycle of violence and waste continues on and on.
Susan’s pick City of Ghosts
A companion piece to Insyriated, this gripping documentary from the director of Cartel Land follows the fortunes of the citizen journalists of ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ as they show incredible bravery and sacrifice reporting the atrocities ISIS are carrying out in their home city. The film raises really interesting questions about what documentary is and also how ISIS use film as propaganda and a means of intimidation. The film is unsparing in what it shows us and it’s shocking to witness the true extent of ISIS’ evil but this is story that needs to be told and a film that needs to be seen.
Some highlights from the shorts programme
The NI made Guard, which was written and starred Bronagh Taggart, was an interestingly delivered short which hinted at a larger story. Gritty and fully conscious of its Belfast backdrop it is one to watch as a possible feature in the future.
Romora was part of the Creative England Showcase and was one of those rare shorts that delivered as fully as a feature. Characterisation, acting, script and direction all added to a brilliant depiction of the seedy, decayed life of an English seaside town.
Also part of the Creative England Showcase was The Full Story, a delightful animation charting the life of a family in a house as the remaining son gets ready to sell. Memory, divorce and laughter permeate the film, which is creatively animated and worth checking out.
Heart Overheard – This charming little short, starring and written by Bronagh Waugh and Dylan Townsend, had the audience chuckling throughout as we followed the inane, neurotic inner voice of Adel as she navigates through her journey from work to home. A simple idea, executed very well.
Wave – The director of this film, Benjamin Cleary, previously won Best Live Action Short at the Oscars in 2015 and that experience shine through in this slick, original and very funny film about a young man, Gasper Rubicon, who wakes from a coma and can only speak in a language no-one else can understand, puzzling linguistic experts from around the world. It’s an isolating place to be so his work friend helps him out in his search to find someone to communicate with. This doesn’t quite work out as planned but Gaspar finds acceptance and joy can come in other ways.
I’m In Here – A man (US writer, actor and comedian Dave Hanson) opens his door to find a family moving into his house… while he still lives there. Having not put the house on the market, the man must find a way to live there with his new roomies while accommodating their requests. A cautionary tale with a message that if you’re allergic to shrimp, don’t eat the shrimp – weird things happen.
Inbox – This heart warming tale of two individuals (Charlie Murphy and Rory Fleck Byrne), each with personal difficulties (one with agoraphobia and one with a stammer), who communicate through the letter box has depth and a gentleness which shines throughout. Funny and sharply written, this piece is 7 minutes of pure enjoyment. Just lovely.
We all had a great time at the Fleadh and will definitely be back next year.