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Galway Film Fleadh moves online this summer

Movie lovers disappointed that the 2020 Galway Film Fleadh wouldn’t be able to take place this summer will be glad to hear that the world renowned film festival is going ahead online from July 7.

The decision to cancel the physical element of the 32nd Galway Film Fleadh was made on the basis that under the current roadmap for the Covid-19 recovery, cinemas won’t be allowed to reopen until August 10.

The Film Fleadh programme will continue to be a diverse mix of features, documentaries, animations, shorts, and interactive cinema events, albeit on a smaller scale than the physical festival.

“Moving the Fleadh online doesn’t mean replicating the event in a digital space but reimagining it to be the best online experience possible,” said Programme Director, Will Fitzgerald.

“There will be a reduced, more focused programme because we don’t want to split audience attention when we don’t have a physical event space keeping us all together.”

“We want to give every film their moment in the spotlight and make every selected film part of a united conversation.”

At a time when so many people are more isolated from one another than in recent memory, ‘Coming Together’ has been made a key them of this year’s festival.

Twelve guest curators from film festivals around Europe are contributing to the even this year.

And working with Galway 2020, the Film Fleadh will be presenting Peripheral Visions, which will see the Irish premieres of European films from France, Poland, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Canada.

The Short Film programmes for the fleadh have always been a great way to give new talent an opportunity to show what they can do.

And in recognition of the difficult circumstances that filmmakers are operating under, the deadline for short film submissions has been extended to May 22.

The Galway Film Fleadh has always been about more than just screening movies, and the much loved talks and workshops will be leveraging modern technology to go ahead.

The festival’s online edition will feature live-streamed filmmaker Q+A’s, audience participation via social media and conferencing software such as Zoom, as well as live-streamed masterclasses, panel discussions, the Fleadh’s industry meetings, and maybe even a virtual Rowing Club during social hours.

Films can be streamed via the Film Fleadh website, to audience members’ preferred devices including Smart TVs, laptops, phones and tablets.

However a further security measure, and to preserve something of the national flavour of the Galway Film Fleadh, films will be geo-locked to an Irish audience, with a limited amount of tickets sold.

While the festival’s organisers are disappointed that the cinema experience can’t take place, there is also excitement at the opportunities provided by the new format.

“For the first time, our national audience will be a truly nation-wide one. By participating online, audiences will take part in the Galway Film Fleadh from all corners of the island of Ireland”.

The Galway Film Fleadh is supported by the Arts Council, Galway 2020, Screen Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and Greasán Na Meán.

Briain Kelly
Email: news@galwaydaily.com
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