Film Fanatics to Flock to Fastnet

The 11th Fastnet Film Festival will run from Wednesday, May 22 to Sunday, May 26 in Schull, Co Cork.

Throughout the festival, 12 feature films will screen in 10 pop-up cinemas in the village with no movie theatre. There will also be 10 workshops and 10 seminars taking place as well as the popular event Long Island Cinema. This takes cinephiles on a 10-minute ferry ride to the close-by Long Island which houses the most isolated picturehouse in Ireland. There, film fanatics can enjoy a host of refreshments, an hour-long programme of short film and the scenic views before returning to Schull’s Colla Pier.

One major film screening at the festival is Float Like a Butterfly, written and directed by Cork native Carmel Winters. Winner of the Discovery Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Audience Award at Cork Film Festival, the drama is a powerful story of a young woman’s fight for freedom and belonging.

Living in a roadside camp in rural Ireland circa 1970, 15-year-old Frances (Hazel Doupe) wants to follow her idol Muhammad Ali by stepping into the boxing ring. At the same time, her father (Dara Devaney) returns from jail a broken man. Once Frances’ greatest ally, he finds it hard to imagine any better for his daughter. But she was born to be a champion, not a victim. The festival screening will be followed by a post-screening Q&A with many of the cast and crew. 

Another highlight of the Fastnet Film Festival is the screening of Songwriter, an intimate and personal look into the writing process of one of the world’s leading artists – Ed Sheeran. Filmed by his cousin director Murray Cummings, it details the creation of Sheeran’s third studio album Divide, giving an authentic insight into the musician’s life through never before seen home videos.  Past pupils of Schull Community College, Murray Cummings, 2nd Unit director Billy Cummings and animator William Bean will take part in a post-screening Q&A.

Acclaimed Irish writer Roddy Doyle will be a special guest at Fastnet, attending several events over the festival’s five days. He is the author of 11 novels and seven children’s books. Doyle has also written prolifically for TV, cinema and stage. His first three novels The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1990) and The Van (1991) focusing on a working-class Dublin family were each made into hugely successful iconic films.

The festival will screen his latest work Rosie. Directed by Paddy Breathnach from Doyle’s script, it is about a mother (Sarah Greene) and a father (Moe Dunford) trying to protect their family after their landlord sells their rented home and they become homeless and living in hotels. Along with Doyle, Breathnach and Dunford will attend the festival for a post-screening Q&A.

The highlight of last year’s Fastnet was the gala performance by Carl Davis on live piano, accompanying Clarence Brown’s 1925 silent film Lady Windermere’s Fan. This year, the musician will return to Schull with a new piece of music, written specially to accompany Clarence Brown’s Smouldering Fires in what has become an annual event.

Other special guests set to attend the festival include six-time Oscar nominee writer-director Jim Sheridan, two-time Oscar nominated producer Ed Guiney, and Chairman of London Film School Greg Dyke. More will be announced in the run up to the event.

This year, Fastnet received an unprecedented 469 short film submissions from over 32 countries worldwide. Alongside these national and international short film programmes, will be children’s activities such as puppet making; t-shirt painting; batik; and film animation, storytelling and drama workshops. These events for kids are free to attend.

The Fastnet Film Festival is a major showcase for cinema and has been held in high regard on a local, national and international level for several years now. In keeping with this, it will run a series of seminars, masterclasses and workshops this year covering everything from sound, screenwriting, casting, auditioning, score composition to film ethics, animation, creating content on one’s mobile, and making shorts into features.

For more information about the Fastnet Film Festival, visit its website at

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