Greener pastures

Ireland's Galway Film Fleadh celebrates 20 years

Set in the ancient coastal Irish city of Galway, the 20th annual Galway Film Fleadh, Gaelic for festival, offers an ideal combination of winding medieval streets, lively summer pubs and an eclectic weeklong program for film buffs. The organizers have put together an agenda that offers a diversity of films, events and tributes, including an evening with Galway-born Peter O'Toole.

The international features program for the July 8-13 fest includes such titles as reincarnation-themed "Om Shanti Om," 2007's musical "Gone for a Dance" and IFC Films' "Lemon Tree," the tale of a Palestinian woman who refuses to allow the destruction of her lemon tree by Israeli security forces.

"I guarantee that the films won't disappoint," festival managing director Miriam Allen said of the 2008 lineup.

The 20th fleadh also maintains its tradition as a supporter of indigenous Irish films. The event will feature the world premieres of a broad mix of Irish films, including this year's ballet drama "Our Wonderful Home," the teen romantic comedy "Summer of the Flying Saucer" and the thriller "Alarm."

Another Irish film high on the agenda is director Lance Daly's "Kisses," which follows two 10-year-olds who run away from dysfunctional families only to discover they need more than everyday luck to survive in inner-city Dublin.

On the nonfiction front, the festival will showcase a broad range of documentaries, including crime family saga "A Very British Gangster"; Magnolia's recount of Twin Towers tightrope walker Philippe Petit, "Man on Wire"; and "Note by Note," which follows a Steinway concert grand piano's journey from the manufacturing floor to a performance.

Building on the success of last year, the Galway Film Fleadh's Out on Film series will screen a selection of gay, lesbian and transgender films including 2007's "Finn's Girl," 2006's "Beautiful Daughters" and 2007's "Red Without Blue."

The festival also will pay special tribute to O'Toole and actress Jessica Lange, screening a selection of the duo's films. (partialdiff)