The very first Sky Road TV & Film Festival kicked off at Clifden Co. Galway on Friday the 5th of September, with three days of features, shorts, documentaries, workshops and pitches promised to all who came.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to head down to the festival which included highlights like a pitching session for a 25 minute documentary with €25,000 of supporting funds from TG4. There were also celebrity attendees including Jim Sheridan, who was in town to attend a screening of the 1990 classic The Field and Tommy Tiernan who stopped by for a Q&A after the world premiereof his new documentary To Tell You the Truth.
“It’s been an exhilarating and exciting first festival” said Eamonn O Cualain, Festival Chairman. “The quality and quantity of submissions for our first programme enabled us to deliver what we hope has been a unique festival experience. The support and positive feedback has been overwhelming from both the film industry and our audiences. The local goodwill and enthusiasm has been particularly reassuring and encouraging."
With a festival comes awards and the Sky Road TV & Film fest awarded movies in 9 categories. The judging panel featured a range ofindustry figures including: Jim Sheridan, Bob Quinn, Ross Whitaker, Jill Beardsworth, Paddy Hayes and journalistsTara Brady,Gavin Burke,Donald Clarke, Brogen Hayes,Nicola Timmins and Clickonline's Daniel Anderson.
Here are the results of the judging in the nine categories:
Best Short Film in association with The Irish Film Board
Winner: The Abandoning
Director: Vanessa Gildea. Producer: Se Merry Doyle
Best Short Film, First Time Director in association with The Irish Film Board
Winner: The Swing
Director: Damien Dunne. Producer: Nora Windeck
Best Feature Film
Winner: A Nightingale Falling
Director: Garret Daly/Martina McGlynn. Producer: Martina McGlynn,Gerry Burke, Garret Daly, PJ Curtis
Best Feature Documentary in association with TG4
Winner: John Sheahan - A Dubliner
Director: Maurice Sweeney. Producer: Liam McGrath/Ceoladh Sheahan
Best Short Documentary in association with RTE
Winner: Seamus Heaney - Iarscribhinn - Imeall
Director: Paschal Cassidy. Producer: Maggie Breathnach
Best Documentary Seriesin association with BAI
Winner: Ceolchuairt Iamaice
Director: Paddy Hayes. Producer: Laura Ni Cheallaigh
Best 3 minute short, New Media, filmed on a mobile or smart device
Winner: Turnaround for Little Terns
Director: Philip Bromwell
Best 1 minute short, New Media, filmed on a mobile or smart device
Director/producer: Ivor Carroll
The Spirit of the Festival Awardwas presented in recognition of afilm, television programme or event that encapsulates the spirit of the Sky Road TV & Film Festival each year.
Winner: It Came From Connemara!!
Director/Producer: Brian Reddin
The festival also gave filmmakers a chance to pitch their ideas for a 25 minute documentary to be produced in association with TG4, with a€25,000 grant as part of the deal. Fifteen original pitches were shortlisted (from over 60 total submissions)and presented on Saturday the 6th of September, with the session one of the most talked about parts of the festival schedule. And the final winner was Barry Ryan (a Clifden native) who pitched an idea about a young boy who died at the Letterfrack industrial school. He will receive an initial grant of €1,000 and will work with TG4 to make the documentary a reality in the coming months.
"The standard was excellent, very clear pitches were delivered with great passion and belief. The range of ideas was truly amazingfrom highly personal stories to historical concepts to contemporary social commentary, across a broad geographical spread. While we chose'Beyond Reach Of Our Pity' as the pitch winner we will also request a number of participants to submit their ideas for the next TG4 commissioning round on October 6th. All in all a verystimulating and exciting session."Proinsias Ni Ghrainne, Commissioning Editor, TG4
The Sky Road TV & Film Festival was a great success in its first year and we were honoured to be part of what we hope will be a brand new festival for the West of Ireland. Keep up to date with the festival on their official site.