Hollywood star Saoirse Ronan arrives in West Cork tomorrow as an estimated 7,000 film buffs are expected to flood into the scenic harbour town of Schull for the Fastnet Film Festival.
The annual event kicks off on Wednesday for a five-day run, with a packed programme featuring many high-profile writers, actors, and directors.
The festival, continuing daily through until Sunday, boasts nearly 50 separate events across 15 venues.
These include everything from the bedroom of a local ferryman on Long Island, to which film enthusiasts must travel by ferry, to a tiny three-seater cinema at the local Film Centre.
The festival will show more than 13 feature-length films, as well as 300 short film screenings and local-interest films.
Ireland’s spiralling homelessness problem, for example, is to be reflected in an award-winning film directed by Paddy Breathnach and based on a screenplay by Roddy Doyle.
Rosie tells the story of a young family who are shocked to find themselves homeless and living in hotels their landlord sells their home.
Shot in and around Dublin, the film stars Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford as the parents of four young children.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Paddy Breathnach, Roddy Doyle, and Moe Dunford.
Festival guests this year include Academy Award winning film historian Kevin Brownlow, who will screen his restored silent film Smouldering Fires, which will be accompanied by world-famous composer and conductor Carl Davis on grand piano, along with Breathnach, Carmel Winters, Moe Dunford, Sarah Greene, Jim Sheridan, Ed Guiney, and Hazel Doupe.
“The line-up this year is unprecedented with more than 50 expert guests taking part,” said Hilary McCarthy of the festival organising committee.
Over the years, the Fastnet Film Festival has carved out a strong reputation as a major showcase for Irish and International short film production, focusing on the craft of film.
The festival has received an unprecedented 469 short film submissions from over 38 countries for this week’s event.
Now in its 11th year, the festival is held in high regard on a local, national, and international level, offering a jam-packed programme featuring everything from seminars, masterclasses, and workshops covering sound, screenwriting, casting, auditioning and documentary film-making, to fringe events such as the Filmmakers’ Hub, live music, drama, and even a fun movie quiz.
Visitors can also enjoy some high-quality children’s activities including puppet making, batik, film animation workshops, storytelling, drama workshops, cinema club and t-shirt painting.