Irish Eye on Hollywood:
Galway Film Fleadh Crystalizes Irish Aesthetic

Jamie Dornan.
Jamie Dornan.

By Tom Deignan, Contributor
August / September 2016

The 28th annual Galway Film Fleadh, held in July, featured a diverse array of Irish films that should be trickling to American screens in the coming months. One of the most highly-anticipated screenings in Galway was director Richie Smyth’s Jadotville, a Netflix production which features Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan. As Variety recently reported, Jadotville “tells the true story of the 1961 siege of a 150-member Irish U.N. battalion under Commander Patrick Quinlan (Dornan) by 3,000 Congolese troops, led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies.” Also earning praise at the Galway fleadh was Darren Thornton’s drama A Date for Mad Mary, about a woman who returns to her home in Drogheda after a stint in prison. A Date for Mad Mary shared Best Feature honors with director Peter Foott’s The Young Offenders, a comedy set in Cork which, according to the Irish Times, “was greeted with ear-shattering hoots.” But for all of the hype surrounding the Irish film industry – spurred by the recent Oscar nominations for Room and Brooklyn – the Irish Times also noted that “the do-it-yourself aesthetic is still strong,” as evidence by other films at Galway. This was a reference to Paul O’Brien’s Staid, based on the Wexford writer-director’s own play. Staid cost just €300 Euro to produce, according to the Times. Staid has already won best foreign feature at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. O’Brien received help from an old pal, Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer, who served as Staid’s executive producer. ♦

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