The 20th Galway Film Fleadh (July 8-13) will open with a screening of Fugitive Pieces, Jeremy Podeswa's drama set in Nazi-occupied Poland and adapted from the novel by Canadian poet Anne Michaels. The closing film is the unreleased Bonneville (2006), in which three women played by Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen take a road trip from Idaho to Santa Barbara.
The festival will feature a special tribute to locally-born veteran star Peter O'Toole, including a public interview and retrospective screenings. Jessica Lange will give this year's acting masterclass and Bill Pullman will attend for a screening of Surveillance.
Other masterclasses are being given by Martin Daniel (screenwriting), and Alex Gibney (directing) who won this year's Best Feature Documentary Oscar for Taxi to the Dark Side, an investigation of the Bush administration's interrogation policies in the post-9/11 world. Gibney will also take part in a public Q&A after a screening of his film.
The 20th Fleadh will premiere a significant number of new Irish features. They include Kisses, Lance Daly's tale of two youngsters looking for a happier life in contemporary Dublin; Alarm, Gerard Stembridge's contemporary thriller in which a young woman's fresh start in a rural backwater goes horribly wrong; Anton, a thriller set in 1970s Northern Ireland; A Film With Me In It, a black comedy which screened at Edinburgh; Our Wonderful Home, Ivan Kavanagh's dystopian take on the downside of the Irish 'Celtic Tiger'; Satellites & Meteors, Rick Larkin's playful romantic comedy set in the minds of two coma patients; and Vox Humana, Bob Quinn's musically-told story of a homeless percussionist.
Irish documentaries being screened include Seaview, screened in Berlin, which looks at a former Irish Butlins summer camp now used as a residential centre for asylum seekers from all corners of the globe. The world premiere of Pat Collins's Gabriel Byrne - Stories from Home promises an intimate glimpse into the life and creative impulse of one of Ireland's leading actors.
The broad theme of this year's festival is music and film, and some 70 features, 25 documentaries and 100 short films will be screened over six days. Regular festival events such as the pitching contest for writers, and the Film Fair networking event for producers and potential backers make a welcome return. There are also several sidebar events organised by local agencies to coincide with the Fleadh.
This year's Real Deal seminar 'Think Internationally or Die!', injuncting Irish producers to look to making relationships with partners overseas, will have panels on Irish co-production treaties, the global animation industry, and the interplay of the various elements that, taken together, make Hollywood.
For details visit galwayfilmfleadh.com.