Ireland’s Galway Film Fleadh launched its 25th edition last night (July 9) with a screening of Spanish-Irish co-production Tasting Menu [pictured].

Director Roger Gual and star Fionnula Flanagan attended the screening at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre and joined guests afterwards for an opening night party at the Galway Rowing Club. Tasting Menu is produced by Zentropa Spain and Ireland’s Subotica.

The Fleadh runs until July 14, with guests set to include Zachary Quinto, screenwriter Daniel Waters and Julien Temple, who will all take part in masterclasses. Saoirse Ronan will also attend the festival, while Hubbard Casting will deliver a casting workshop.  

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins will also attend the Fleadh to present Ronan and James Morris, former Irish Film Board chair and founding member and CEO of Windmill Lane Pictures, with Galway Hookers, the festival’s highest accolade.

Galway is renowned as a platform for new Irish talent, and local films screening in the Fleadh’s New Irish Cinema strand this year include the world premiere of the anticipated Life’s A Breeze from Kisses director Lance Daly, Stephen Brown’s John Banville adaptation The Sea, which closes the festival, Steph Green’s Run & Jump, Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s Mister John, Eoin C Macken’s Cold and Donal Foreman’s Out Of Here.

International titles screening include I Used To Be Darker, Frances Ha, Upstream Color, Far Marfa and Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy.

Meanwhile Galway’s Film Fair includes a range of industry initiatives and runs July 11-13. Its Marketplace (July 12-13) co-ordinates meetings between film-makers with projects in development and financiers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, film funds and producers. There are over 700 meetings scheduled this year.

Galway’s Real Deal conference will explore new international trends emerging in film-making. Moderated by Angus Finney, speakers will include the Irish Film Board’s chief executive James Hickey as well as the board’s project managers Rory Gilmartin, Mary Callery and Keith Potter, Treasure Entertainment’s Rebecca O’Flanagan, Eduardo Panizzo of Coffee & Cigarettes, David Shear of Shear Entertainment, Emily Best of Seed & Spark, the re:fine Group’s Anita O’Donnell and Sara Frain and Gabriel Swartland of Picturehouse UK.

“It’s a 360-degree film-making experience,” Galway director Miriam Allen said of the Fleadh’s appeal. “You have the screenings on one hand, then you have the seminars, the debates, the interaction with the audience through the Q&A sessions. You then also have the marketplace and the masterclasses. Really if you wanted to learn anything about film Galway is the place where it can happen… The thing we don’t do is red carpets and it works really well for us.”

The Film Fair’s Debbie McVey added: “The intimacy is amazing because Galway is so small and you’re going to be meeting everybody some way. And it’s extremely egalitarian, everyone is together.”