The fifteenth Galway Film Fleadh (July 8-13) closed on a high over the weekend, with the universally shared view that it had been one of the best years for new Irish cinema at the event.
Significantly, most of the new Irish feature films were made by debuting directors each of whom had made a virtue of local authenticity.
The audience award for Best First Feature went to Intermission, directed by John Crowley and produced by Stephen Woolley, Neil Jordan and Alan Moloney for Company of Wolves. Crowley's deft handling of interlaced story lines and a large ensemble cast (which includes Colin Farrell and Colm Meaney) marks him out as a new Irish talent of considerable stature. Intermission will be released in Ireland by BVI on August 29.
Of the other new Irish feature dramas Shimmy Marcus's stoner flick Headrush, Karl Golden's romantic comedy The Honeymooners, Ian Fitzgibbon's uproariously vulgar Spin The Bottle and Liz Gill's riff on sexual orientation Goldfish Memory all met with very positive audience reaction which bodes well for their local distribution prospects.
If there were an audience award for acting it would undoubtedly have gone to Alex Reid, given the buzz about her performance in the micro-budget Honeymooners which is to be distributed this autumn by Eclipse in Ireland and Verve in the UK.
The audience award for best feature documentary went to the now multi-award winning The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, directed by Kim Bartley and Donnacha O Briain, and produced by David Power of Galway company Power Pictures.