The Sky Road TV & Film Festival took place last weekend (October 9th – 11th) at the Station House Theatre, in Clifden, Co Galway. The festival has quickly established itself as one of the premier festivals in the region. A successful 2015 festival closed with an awards ceremony on Sunday night.

Tristan Heanue’s debut directorial short film Today was the big winner of the festival, taking home two awards. The hard hitting drama won Best Short Film and Best Short Film, First Time Director.

On the documentary front Aoife Kelleher’s superb Glasnevin cemetary tale One Million Dubliners took home the award for Best Feature Documentary, with Paul Webster’s portrait of Paddy Smith Let Those Blues In taking Best Short Documnetary, and Cuimhní ón mBlascaod winning Best Documentary Series.

Ian Ruby’s no-budget feature Dead Dogs won Best Feature Film. The film, is a stark, heartfelt portrait of struggling families, mental illness and isolation. The film shot over 13 days in 2013. It had its world premiere at a sold out screening during the 2014 IndieCork Film Festival. This is the third film festival award for this film having already won the Best Drama Feature Film award at the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase in Texas and the Best National Feature Film prize at the Dare Media Underground Film Festival in Cork.

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Full list of winners:

Best Short Film in association with The Irish Film Board

Winner: Today

Today is a hard hitting drama about a man who wakes up one morning in his car, disorientated, with no recollection of how he ended up parked in the middle of nowhere. The harsh reality soon comes flooding back once he gathers his thoughts. Director: Tristan Heanue; Producer: Paddy Slattery

Best Short Film, First Time Director in association with The Irish Film Board

Winner: Today

Today’ is a hard hitting drama about a man who wakes up one morning in his car, disorientated, with no recollection of how he ended up parked in the middle of nowhere. The harsh reality soon comes flooding back once he gathers his thoughts. Director: Tristan Heanue; Producer: Paddy Slattery

Best Feature Film in association with the Galway County Council

Winner: Dead Dogs

Logline: What sin replaces love? Director: Ian Ruby; Producer: Rob O’Halloran

Best Feature Documentary in association with TG4

Winner: One Million Dubliners

Logline: Every plot has a story. Director: Aoife Kelleher; Producer: Rachel Lysaght

Best Short Documentary in association with RTE

Winner: Let Those Blues In

A portrait of Paddy Smith, one of Ireland’s best blues harmonica players, who used his passion for music to conquer his demons. Director: Paul Webster; Producer: Shay Casserley

Best Documentary Series in association with BAI

Winner: Cuimhní ón mBlascaod

A series features the islanders remembering the Blaskets when times were good. Director: Gerry Gregg

The Spirit of the Festival Award

The Spirit of the Festival Award was presented in recognition of a Film, Television programme or event that encapsulates the spirit of the Sky Road TV & Film Festival each year.

Winner: Next Stop – Stories from Galway’s Railways by filmmaker Paul Murphy

A series of 4 short documentaries dealing with different aspects of our railway heritage. Rather than telling our railway history these short films deal with the Heritage left behind by the railways and are very much set in the present. The first film ‘Castlegrove Station’ is the story of a man and his young family who move from Dublin back to his native Galway. ‘Fishing line’ explores one mans love of angling in the shadow of Ballynahinch Castle. ‘One day in Castletown’ is the story of a community group and there efforts to restore an iconic building while ‘Temporary Track’ deals with a little know private railway used to harvest turf.

TG4 – Pitch an idea to make a 25-minute documentary for TG4.

12 original pitches were shortlisted to pitch to commissioning editors on stage at the Festival in either the Irish or English language.

Winner: Louise Finn, from Woman’s Way magazine

Her idea:

[quote]In 2013 I joined the editorial team of Woman’s Way magazine and immediately found myself part of something much bigger than I ever imagined…

Woman’s Way magazine has been entertaining, informing and challenging the women of Ireland for the past 52 years. It’s got people talking, enraged people, helped them deal with some of life’s most difficult moments and reflected the changing attitudes and issues of the women of Ireland.

For many women picking up their Woman’s Way is like meeting an old friend.

The documentary I’m pitching would talk to some of the readers, editors, contributors and celebrities who have been involved in the making of the magazine over the past half century.

In a bigger way this would be a social history of Ireland particularly the women of Ireland. Woman’s Way’s stories are many and varied but the big story is of an Irish magazine engaging Irish women for over 50 years.[/quote]

Panel: Proinsias Ní Ghráinne – TG4, Mary Elen Ní CHualáin – TG4 and Ciarán Kissane – Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

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