Galway’s Junior Film Fleadh, the young audiences arm of the prestigious Galway Film Fleadh, moves into its new home at Pálás Galway this year. And with the move, comes a new emphasis on being a festival for everyone, while keeping the focus on young people.

The programme of cinema for the 2018 Junior Film Fleadh is much bigger than in previous years, with films running all day long from Tuesday, November 6th to Saturday, November 10th, including the Irish Premiere of comedian Bo Burnham’s highly anticipated Eighth Grade, director Crystal Moselles’ dramatic debut Skate Kitchen, and special presentations of anniversary classics like Dazed and Confused and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, both celebrating twenty-five years since their initial release.

We’ve put together a programme for everyone to come out and enjoy because what we don’t want, is for the Junior Film Fleadh to be the festival version of the kids table. We’re not going to present watered-down cinema to younger audiences while the adults enjoy all the hottest new films at the big sister Fleadh in July. Our program is youth-focused but is meant to bring generations together to share in the magic of cinema, and the themes and concerns that the films portray.
Will Fitzgerald, Programme Director – Galway Film Fleadh

This year’s Junior Film Fleadh is will present some highly anticipated new fiction films and documentaries. Skate Kitchen is the first fiction film from Crystal Moselle, who directed the critically acclaimed 2015 documentary, The WolfpackSkate Kitchen stars the members of a real life all-girl skate crew in New York, who caught the director’s attention on social media and inspired the film. Established names rounding out the cast are Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happiness, The Karate Kid) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange is The New Black).

Eighth Grade is the feature directing debut of comedian Bo Burnham, who was inspired by his own school struggles with anxiety, and cast lead actress Elsie Fisher after he noticed her on YouTube. After the film was given an unfair ‘R’ rating, free public screenings of Eighth Grade were organised in all fifty states in the U.S. by distributor A24, who were determined that young people should be able to see it.

Metal Heart

Metal Heart

Metal Heart is a new, Irish coming-of-age dramedy about twins sisters Emma and Chantal, whose sibling rivalry threatens to boil over when they’re left alone for the summer. Metal Heart is the feature directing debut of Irish actor Hugh O’Conor (Handsome Devil, Mary Shelley) and stars the Galway Film Fleadh’s 2018 Bingham Ray New Talent Awardwinner Jordanne Jones, who will both present the film and discuss with the audience after the screening.

Documentaries include Science Fair, a thrilling journey following a diverse mix of teenagers whose goal is to compete in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a highly competitive showcase of the world’s top young scientific minds. Every year, over 1,700 students from 75 countries compete at ISEF, for the coveted top prize that, as one previous winner explains, “will change your life in ways you won’t even comprehend.”

The documentary Amal embarks on a 6 year compelling journey from childhood to adulthood with a feisty teenager growing up in post-revolution Egypt. Amal enjoys playing soccer and going to protest marches with her friends, amidst constant political turmoil. Amal learns the limitations of a patriarchal society, while searching for her place, identity and sexuality in an Arab police state.

There will be a hugely enjoyable programme of classic films – to be revisited, or discovered for the first time – that contextualises the teen movie and its history. Films like Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean in his most famous and final role; George Lucas’s forerunner to Star Wars, American Graffiti (1973), and more, will all be celebrated as early examples of teenage representation in Hollywood. While Richard Linklater’s 1993 modern classic Dazed and Confused will be rolled out to celebrate 25 years since it was released with its ensemble cast of up-and-comers: Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey and Milla Jovovich. The classic film programme will run each evening at the Pálás from 8:30pm.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Speaking of 25 year anniversaries, the Junior Film Fleadh kicks off its Saturday programming with a big-screen presentation of the cult classic Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Spinning out of the success of the 90’s television series, this modern classic of animation became a sleeper hit after years of home video distribution. It will be preceded by the animated short, The Mechanical Monsters, one of seventeen Technicolor Superman films produced by Fleischer Studios in the 1940’s, which had a huge influence on future animators, including the makers of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

And what are Saturday morning cartoons without cereal? We’ll have a limited supply of your favourite breakfast cereals to give out to audience members attending our Saturday morning animation programme. Because that’s another tradition that brings different generations of kids together!
Will Fitzgerald, Programme Director – Galway Film Fleadh

The Junior Film Fleadh will continue to fulfil its education remit, with school bookings available for French, German and Spanish language films on Tuesday  – Thursday mornings, followed by Irish language and social education films playing in the afternoon. These include films like Around Here, a rural Irish coming-of-age drama, exploring themes of mental health. Around Herewill be presented by director Martin Beirne who will be on hand for discussion after the screening. And Director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) will present Shelter Me, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the take-over of Apollo House in Dublin on Christmas 2016. An insightful look at Ireland’s homelessness crisis, Sheridan produced and stars in the documentary, and will take part in a post-screening Q+A.

For the full line-up of feature films, short films and filmmaking workshops taking place as part of the 2018 Junior Film Fleadh, go to junior.galwayfilmfleadh.com. Teachers can make group bookings through the website or by calling 091 52200. Individual tickets can also be purchased via the website or on the door.

The Junior Film Fleadh takes place from November 6th– 10th at Pálás Galway.

Programme Director Will Fitzgerald gets ready for the 14th Junior Film Fleadh in Galway

Programme Director Will Fitzgerald and team get ready for the 14th Junior Film Fleadh in Galway

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