Preview – Fingal Film Festival

Emma Roberts stars in Gia Coppola’s ‘Palo Alto’

With the Fingal Film Festival opening today, Aaron Murphy looks ahead to the festival highlights

The Fingal Film Festival has been running since 2012 and, this year, offers a really interesting array of events and screenings.

The first event on the schedule is an animation workshop led by Robert Cullen of Dublin-based animation company Boulder Media. You may remember him as the creative force behind Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, or more recently, for his work on The Amazing World Of Gumball. This is sure to be of interest to any budding animators out there and it’s a great setting for it with so many Irish animation shorts on display.

One Ocean, No Limits is set to be an unmissable screening. This Irish documentary focuses on the relationship between strangers overcoming adversity together. The camera follows a novice Irish rower in a team of six who are attempting to cross the Atlantic. This has the potential to be a really in depth study of human relations in extreme situations and how they play out, and it’s definitely worth a watch.

Palo Alto is the biggest name at the festival. This is Gia Coppola’s first directorial credit and the film stars James Franco and Emma Roberts, Quite a cast for her first film. It is advertised to be a “portrait of adolescent lust, boredom and self destruction”. Whether this is true or not, it will be interesting to see Coppola’s imagination at work in this teen drama. Unsurprisingly she is receiving more press than any other first time director would because of the fame that comes with the name “Coppola”, but it is important, as it is with all first time films, to judge the director upon their own merits and work and not that of others. The film opens the festival, and premieres in Ireland, at 9pm on Friday.

Saturday screenings will include a number of notable films; Jardin de Amapolas tells the story of a Columbian farmer and his son being forced to grow poppies after a run in with rebel forces. There will also be a screening of the Irish docudrama A Terrible Beauty/Áille An Uafáis which focuses on people on all sides of the Easter Rising and depicts the mass confusion that surrounded it. The choice to include international and Irish language films in the line up can only have been a good thing. As well as allowing a comparative aspect to enter the festival, these films lend a different cultural perspective that would have been lost had this been a purely English language festival.

There will also be a workshop that morning on Sound Design and Supervision. This will be lead by Niall Brady of Screen Scene Post Production House, whose recent credits include Frank and What Richard Did, and Steve Fanagan of Ardmore Studios, whose work includes Albert Nobbes, The Guard and Game Of Thrones.

On Sunday the award ceremony will take place, as well as the screening of the Iranian film The Corridor. All of these feature films will be played at the same time as blocks of short films and documentaries from around Ireland. If you have no interest in a feature film, it’s okay because in each block of short films there is sure to be something that catches your eye. The selection of short films are just broad enough to capture a good selection of the best upcoming filmmakers from all walks currently making films in Ireland.

Fingal Film Festival runs from 26th to the 28th of September in Movies@Swords. Tickets are sold for each event/block of films separately. Workshops €15-20, short film blocks €5-8, feature films/documentaries €10.  For more information see fingalfilmfest.com

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