Galway Film Fleadh 2024: Kneecap, Succession star Brian Cox and Mary Robinson documentary top bill

The Fleadh forms the summer fulcrum around which the domestic cinematic year swivels

Kneecap: Móglaí Bap, DJ Próvaí and Mo Chara had their film premiere earlier this year at Sundance Film Festival. Photograph: Paulo Nunes/New York Times

The Irish premiere of Kneecap, the already buzzy Irish hip-hop comedy, and a public interview with Brian Cox, one of Scotland’s busiest actors, are among the standout items in the programme for the upcoming 36th Galway Film Fleadh.

The catalogue boasts 94 feature films from 45 countries with 20 world premieres, seven international or European premieres and 52 Irish premieres. Established in 1989, the Fleadh, noted in particular for its focus on new Irish features, forms the summer fulcrum around which the domestic cinematic year swivels.

Kneecap, a fictionalised biopic of the eponymous Belfast rap posse, largely in the Irish language, had its world premiere earlier this year at Sundance Film Festival, where it won the audience prize in the Next section. It opens the Fleadh on Tuesday, July 9th. The event closes on Sunday, July 14th, with Mahdi Fleifel’s Cannes hit To a Land Unknown, a study of a Palestinian refugee in Athens. The day before that, the Fleadh welcomes the world premiere of Aoife Kavanagh’s Mrs Robinson, a documentary about the former Irish president and UN high commissioner Mary Robinson. Kelleher, director of One Million Dubliners, a fine film about Glasnevin Cemetery, invites her subject to talk through one of the more extraordinary Irish lives.

Amongst the Wolves will have its world premier at Galway Film Fleadh

Other world premieres include that of Dubliner Mark O’Connor’s Amongst the Wolves. Director of Cardboard Gangsters and Between the Canals – which launched the career of Barry Keoghan – O’Connor is an important figure in the recent growth of Irish cinema. Luke McQuillan, Daniel Fee and Aidan Gillen star in the tale of a homeless man “caught in a cycle of despair and survival”.


The Fleadh welcomes back previous award-winner Terry McMahon to the party. McMahon, from Mullingar, won best Irish film here with Patrick’s Day 10 years ago and now returns with a project made in Nigeria. The Kiss of Death, another world premiere, concerns a teacher faced with a dilemma when a girl collapses in his class.

Ciaran Cassidy, director of the acclaimed Jihad Jane, will be at the Fleadh with his new documentary, Housewife of the Year. The film aims to shed light on a lost era through its examination of the eponymous competition, an event that, the programme notes, “has to be seen to be believed”. Also look out for Stephan Mazurek’s Laoch: Defy the Odds, a study of Tommy McCague, Ireland’s only powerlifter with dwarfism. That film promises a moving and eccentric journey.

Eva Birthistle, hitherto an admired actor, is behind the camera for the promising Kathleen Is Here. Hazel Doupe and Clare Dunne are among the cast of a film about a young woman, just out of foster care, who returns home to take over her late mother’s home. “On an unconscious level, I was working through my own, very personal feelings about motherhood,” Birthistle told Screen International about her feature debut.

Special strands this year include The Beautiful Game, a selection of soccer-related movies for the summer that’s in it; Architecture on Film; the CineFleadh Collection, aimed at “cinephiles”; and a special focus on cinema from Palestine.

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The hottest ticket may well be that interview with Cox. Born in Dundee, the actor, recently triumphant in Succession, emerged as a titan at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. His notable films include Manhunter, Zodiac and Adaptation. The famously indiscreet Scot is sure to entertain attendees with salty opinions.

The 36th Galway Film Fleadh runs from Tuesday, July 9th, until Sunday, July 14th