'Good Vibrations' picks up fleadh prize


THE 24TH Galway Film Fleadh, the year’s most significant celebration of new Irish cinema, closed last night with a screening of James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer, a taut thriller set during the Troubles, and with the unveiling of awards for the finest films.

Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s Good Vibrations, the tale of godfather of Irish punk Terri Hooley, walked away with the audience award for best Irish feature.

Starring Richard Dormer, the film joyfully celebrates Hooley’s experiences running the legendary record shop that gives the film its title.

Mark O’Connor’s low-budget Stalker, a violent, picaresque trawl through contemporary Dublin discontents, took the runner-up prize in that race. O’Connor’s film – knowingly named after an Andrei Tarkovsky classic – follows a homeless sage as he batters his way about the capital.

This year the fleadh, jam-packed with new domestic features, found itself celebrating an apparent new wave of Irish horror. At least four of the Irish premieres could be accommodated in that genre. It was fitting, therefore, that Ciarán Foy’s superbly creepy Citadel shared the best Irish feature award.

The film concerns an agoraphobic man coping with bereavement while attempting to evade hooded demons in a forbidding Scottish housing estate. Foy has already been celebrated for eerie shorts such as Scumbot and The Faeries of Blackheath Woods.

Citadel divided the debut feature honours with Alan Brennan’s Earthbound. That picture, unveiled at a special family screening, deals with a young boy whose dying father tells him he is actually an alien with a responsibility to nurture his species while rebellion develops on the home planet.

The Bingham Ray New Talent Award, presented in association with Magnolia Pictures, was handed to Gerard Barrett’s deeply moving rural drama Pilgrim Hill.

Best Irish feature documentary went to Art Ó Briain’s Natural Grace: Irish Music and Martin Hayes, a study of the renowned fiddler and his influence on traditional music.

Seán Ó Cualáin’s Lón sa Spéir, an investigation of a famous photograph of New York steel workers lunching on a perilous girder, was the runner-up in the documentary competition.

A full list of winners can be found at the Screenwriter blog, iti.ms/MaVady