I entered my new feature documentary ‘Talking to My Father’
to the Galway Film Fleadh
. I will blog later about the film but for now I will tell you it had a very nice debut at the recent Dublin Film Festival
and has been accepted to a very prestigious showing in New York in October. The film was funded by the Arts Council Reel Art
scheme and normally these films do the rounds of Irish festivals and hopefully are enjoyed and the reviews they get helps them travel beyond these shores. Therefore I was surprised when I got a simple rejection letter from the Fleadh with the usual thank you for entering etc etc.! I felt sad, bad and mad and wondered should I enquire further or just let it go. I am used to the disappointment one gets when you have a film turned down at international festivals but 9 times out of ten the Irish festival say yes as they are committed to new Irish work. I decided to email the Fleadh and ask why it was rejected? Was it not liked, bad quality, unsuitable, whatever!. I sent an email! Surprisingly I got a reply saying that the Festival curator Gar O’Brien
liked my film very much but as there was a shortage of screens available they had decided to only show premiers. I have been raising my voice over the last years in protest at Irish Film Festival competing with each other about premiers , arguing that the the local audiences they are serving should come first in their list of priorities and not be denied the chance to see new Irish work. I was also surprised when I entered the Fleadh that they had a rule that the film could not be entered into best documentary section if it had been shown at any festival before! Nonsense! If a film is the best film, so what if it has been shown before. Another festival Stranger Than Fiction
in Dublin will not screen a film if it has been screened already in Dublin! Again an example of Festivals gone mad with their quest to be unique. Anyway, back to ‘Talking to My Father’. I replied to the Fleadh that their reason for rejection was inadequate and queried as to why did they ask for entry fee if they knew they were only showing Premiers. With a few discreet enquiries I found out that my film was actually accepted for the Fleadh and scheduled to be screened but that when a certain cinema withdrew their venue they had had an emergency meeting and dropped my film and I suspect a few others, but never alerted us as to why we were rejected. I suggest that the Fleadh should have contacted the filmmakers and brought them into the problem and I for one would have been happy to screen my film in a local bar, , or even outdoors. The the Fleadh and the filmmakers would have been making a point! The Galway cinema goers would not be denied. I am disgusted at the treatment my film has received. No matter what actions people may take, I have to fight for my film regardless! The biggest insult the Fleadh threw my way was to just say it was rejected but not give any reason why until I investigated. Needless to say I am a great admirer of the this festival and have screened many films there in the past but I must say in my estimation the present guardians are losing sight of the spirit of what a Fleadh is. Over and out. Thank you for reading Sé Merry Doyle
Since this post Phoenix Magazine featured an article on the Fleadh.