The Galway Film Fleadh, via Screendaily, has announced that William Fitzgerald has been appointed as festival programmer to follow on from Gar O’Brien, who steps down after 7 years in the role.

Fitzgerald has worked for the festival for the past 8 years in a number of roles, including programming the shorts lineup and as festival publicist. He has previous experience working with the Foyle Film Festival in Derry, the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and the Irish Screen America festival in New York. Fitzgerald holds a BA in Film and Television from GMIT and an MA in Film Studies from NUI, Galway.

The change comes at a key juncture for the Fleadh as it prepares to celebrate its 30th festival, which takes place from July 10th to 15th. The festival will also include the new Palás Cinema for the first time, with that venue opening on Merchants Road Lower in the next few weeks.

The Galway Film Fleadh is one of Ireland’s top film festivals. It is an Oscar-Qualifying festival for Shorts (Animation & Drama), and it also offers a platform for excellence in filmmaking with retrospectives, public interviews, tributes and masterclasses from some of the world’s best filmmaking talent. In the past these have included Ruth Negga, Kirsten Smith, Saoirse Ronan, John C. Reilly, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera, Fionnula Flanagan, Josh Olson,Zachary Quinto, Will Forte, Martin Sheen, Stephen Daldry, Michael Fassbender, Ronald Harwood, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Hampton, Peter O’Toole, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Robert Towne, Paul Schrader, Mira Nair, Abbas Kiarostami, Paolo Taviani, and many more.

Running alongside the festival, is the Fair, Ireland and the UK’s only film market. This unique marketplace co-ordinates pre-scheduled meetings between filmmakers and invited Film Financiers, Distributors and Major Producers, allowing new talent to be discovered and long term partnerships to be made.

One of the best and yet saddest parts of this line of work is the changing nature of the programmer role. Gar made a terrific contribution to the Fleadh and to the Irish film industry over the last seven years and I’m sad to see him go. At the same time, we are all feeling invigorated here with the changes we’re making coming up to our 30th festival, and I can’t wait to see what Will brings to the table.
Miriam Allen, Managing Director – Galway Film Fleadh

I’ve been doing the freelancer festival hop for a lot of years and returning to Galway every summer is always most exciting because it always feels like you’re starting on page one of a new journey with a lot of films and a lot of filmmakers. Galway is raw that way, the unique atmosphere of the festival and the market exposes filmmakers ambitions and passions and everyone gets caught up in it. To take over the reins from Gar, on the eve of the 30th Film Fleadh no less, is both an intimidating prospect and an incredible privilege.
William Fitzgerald, Festival Programmer – Galway Film Fleadh

Scannain is saddened to see Gar O’Brien depart his post. He has been a tireless champion of Irish and international film during his time in the post, and a very engaged partner with us. We wish him all the best for his next adventure. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Will and with the Galway Film Fleadh. We believe that the festival is in safe hands.

The Fleadh is currently accepting entries for the 2018 festival. The earlybird deadline for feature entries is Monday 26th February at 5pm. The entry fee is €30. The regular deadline is Friday 30th March at 5pm, the fee for which is €40.

To view the full list of rules and regulations and to submit a film to the Galway Film Fleadh, please visit visit the festival website.

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