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‘Runway’ nabs Galway prize

Busiest edition to date, says fest chief

GALWAY — Ian Power’s “The Runway” snapped up the Irish feature award at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, the busiest edition of the fest to date.

The pic, which sees a West Cork community come together to help a Cuban pilot return home, was produced by Macdara Kelleher, Brendan McDonald and Bernard Michaux.

Risteard O’Domhnaill’s “The Pipe,” which was unarguably one of the buzz titles at this year’s fest, picked up best feature documentary. Pic, produced by O’Domhnaill and Rachel Lysaght, documents a local community plunged into turmoil when faced with the possibility of a gas pipeline being built in their neighborhood.

Peruvian pic “Undertow,” which won the world cinema audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, picked up best first feature. Pic is helmed by Javier Fuentes-Leon, who produced alongside Rodrigo Guerrero. Story sees a fisherman battle to reconcile his love for his deceased male lover in a conservative town.

Len Collin was awarded the fest’s pitching award for “Dumpailte.” The E3,000 ($3,770) prize will see Collin develop and expand the pitch into a full-feature script. William Collins won the award in 2007 for his pitch for “My Brothers,” which opened this year’s fest.

Winners in the shorts categories are: Tadhg O’Sullivan’s “Bow St.” won short documentary award; Padraig Mannion’s “Action Evader” won first animation award; David Quin’s “Mister Heaney — A Wee Portrait” nabbed the James Horgan Award for animation; Domhnall Gleeson’s “Noreen” took the Tiernan McBride Award for short drama, sponsored by Waveform Studios; and Patrick Finnegan’s “Hoodie” took first short drama in association with Mazars.

Filmmaker and Galway Film Fleadh co-founder Lelia Doolan was awarded the fest’s highest honor, The Galway Hooker Award. Doolan, who was interviewed by producer and former Sidney Kimmel Ent. exec Bingham Ray, recounted her extraordinary career, which has seen her hold posts in various capacities including actor, director, film producer, journalist/critic, artistic director of the Abbey Theatre and community service worker in Belfast and Belmullet.

This year’s fest, which ran from July 6-11, was by far the busiest in 22 years, according to managing director Miriam Allen, cementing the fact the international fest is becoming an increasingly significant event on the film calendar.

Attendees from across the globe attended including “The Pianist” scribe Ronald Harwood, “The Hours” helmer Stephen Daldry, thesp Brendan Gleeson, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” producer Rebecca O’Brien, Tribeca Film Festival’s Geoff Gilmore, Sundance Film Festival’s John Nein and “The Last Days of Disco” helmer Whit Stillman.

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