Through out those ten days, and in three different venues, the Festival presented over eighty different screenings.
The festival got off to a great start with a screening of ‘Hope Gap’ starring Annette Benning, Bill Nighy and The Crown star Josh O’Connor. The writer and director of the film William Nicholson was in attendance and introduced the film to an enthusiastic audience at Brunswick Moviebowl. It was great to have a filmmaker of such calibre open the festival as William Nicholson is a twice Oscar nominated screenwriter for his work on ‘Shadowlands’ and ‘Gladiator.’
There were also plenty of opportunities for young filmmakers to get to meet the cream of the filmmaking world and ask the important questions about getting started.
At the ‘From Shorts to features’ conference participants got to listen to exclusive talks from Bafta winning and Oscar nominated screenwriter of ‘Philomena’ & ‘Stan & Ollie’ Jeff Pope, ‘Endeavour’ star Shaun Evans and film producers Kate Byers, Linn Waite and director Cathy Brady.
In fact only a few days after attending the Foyle Film Festival Kate Byers and Linn Waite were awarded the ‘Breakthrough Producer’ award at the 2019 British Independent Film Awards.
There were also a series of exclusive Q&A screenings during the festival. Vinny Cunningham held a very special screening of his quintessential documentary of The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks.’ Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt joined us for a post screening discussion of ‘Lost Lives.’ Gerard Mannix Flynn, director of documentary ‘Land Without God’ was there to introduce the film and engage in a special audience Q&A.
These weren’t the only surprise guests we had this year… we also had Santa Claus popping by for our Santa Screenings in which kids got to meet with the jolly old man, watch some Disney classics and if they were good boys and girls even get a special story.
These fun family and community events were an essential part of the festival allowing people to come together and enjoy some of their favourite films on the big screen. The cinematic breakfasts, where you could enjoy an early morning coffee, croissant and Cary Grant movie, where a real hit with the festival audiences.
This was also the first year that the Foyle Film Festival joined forces with the Buncrana Cinema and brought a series of great new films and documentaries to our close neighbours on the border. Patrons were treated to big screen showings of ‘Black 47,’ ‘Never Grow Old,’ ‘Marianne & Leonard,’ ‘Apollo 11’, ‘The Lion King’ and more.
One of the core elements of the festival is the annual Light In Motion awards which this year was celebrating 20 years of Oscar® affiliation and 10 years of BAFTA recognition. It was another really strong year with great attendance across all the screenings.
Kerry born filmmaker Shaun O’Connor’s short film ‘A White Horse’ was the winner of Best Irish Short. The award for Best Animated Short Film went to ‘Matches’ by Hungarian director Géza M. Toth who was previously nominated for an Oscar in 2007. ‘Funfair’ which was directed by Kaveh Mazaheri and produced by Soroush Saeidi was the winner of the Best International Short.
The Light in Motion awards being presented just before the screening of the closing night film, new Irish comedy drama ‘The Last Right’ with a special soundtrack by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody.
Foyle Film Festival would like to thank everyone who attended our screenings, to the many guest speakers, filmmakers and film fanatics who made the festival possible. We would especially like to thank all our patrons and sponsors; Nerve Centre, NI Screen, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Department for the communities, Brunswick Moviebowl, Buncrana Cinema and City of Derry Crystal.