As a new monthly feature on the blog I've decided to pick the brains of various figures inside (and outside) the film industry and get their likes, dislikes and general opinions on some burning movie related questions.
First up is Maurice Galway, founder and director of the hugely successful Dingle International Festival which every March sees west Kerry transform into a focal point for incredible creative talent from within the world of film. As AD of the Dingle International Film Festival Maurice curates each festival programme along with attracting in major industry guests, which have included the likes of Laura Dern, Gabriel Bryne, Sir Alan Parker Jim Sheridan and Saoirse Ronan. He has also made a number of short experimental films, which have exhibited in Ireland, London, New York and Cannes. His feature documentary Pauline Bewick: Yellow Man Grey Man premiered on RTE 1 and broadcast on Sky Arts New Zealand.As a visual artist Maurice has exhibited in Ireland, UK, NY and China, his visual work is largely lens based but he is also known for his line drawings and installations. Maurice resides in Kerry with his wife Catherine and their 4 children.
Q1. How does film making today compare with years gone by? What are the changes for the better or what do you miss about film that seems to be lacking in modern film?
Story is king, no question and with many popcorn movies we are not getting a good story. I had the pleasure of seeing Casablanca in the cinema recently and totally loved it; it was such a good story, great script, so well performed. Nothing new there, but what I was so conscious of was the simple sets and minimal production - and that really didn’t matter, watching the film. I was simply involved and invested in the characters and loving every minute.
Having said that, I think there are some great movies being made today from all around the world. I’m constantly amazed that every year some filmmaker pushes the boat out and comes up with something new and original; proving that it is not always about the money and that actually, creativity is what we are looking for as film lovers.
Q2. What were your favourite films of the last twelve months?
Gosh there have been so many. I could go for Sami Blood, Western, Baby Driver (loved the creativity here, the cutting to the music), Good Time, The Killing of A Scared Deer (Barry Keoghan was just so good in this film), I loved Logan (I’m a big western fan) and the best animated film was The Red Turtle.
I’ll go with, Luca Guadagnino’s film, Call Me By Your Name - a film full of grace, beautiful to look at, a joy to experience and I’m a fan of the coming of age story. Song of Granite by one of Ireland’s best directors, Pat Collins is a masterpiece - stunningly shot, the film is etched in stone. The Shape of Water, I’ve always loved Guillermo del Toro and was fortunate enough to hear him talk at The Annecy International Film Festival a couple of years ago. Such a creative individual. The Shape of Water was a beautiful experience to watch, full of imagination and elements of myth. And, of course, Sally Hawkins performance was stunning.
Q3. What film has left you pleasantly suprised over the last year and also what film has monumentally disappointed?
Blade Runner 2049 was a great surprise. When I first heard they were doing a sequel to Blade Runner I thought what a crazy idea, leave it alone. But I thought Dennis Villeneuve did a great job and the film looked wonderful. I was very disappointed with Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, just didn’t do it for me and as I’ve mentioned I love a good western. I was expecting more as I thought Black Mass and Crazy Heart are excellent films.
Q4. What is the biggest obstacle in the way of the modern day film maker?
Money! Getting the finances together especially for an independent filmmaker is just so difficult. And many that seem to have the money just don’t seem to have a good script. You would think having a good script is all you need.
Q5. What is your favourite Irish films over the last year? How strong is the current crop of filmmakers in this country?
As I’ve mentioned, Song of Granite. But there have been some excellent Irish films this year and in the past few years. At Dingle IFF this year we screened some great Irish films including; Michael Inside, Black ‘47, Kissing Candice, The Silver Branch; we had the World Premiere of The Keepers of The Flame, and we opened with The Camino Voyage. As for short films, there are some amazing filmmakers here in Ireland, I’m constantly impressed by the quality of film being been made here in the short form.
Q6. What actor/actress is a favourite of yours? What actor/actress makes you want to reach for the remote?
I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Bridges, first remember seeing him in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, loved him in The Last Picture Show, Heaven’s Gate, The Big Lebowski, The Fisher King, Seabiscuit, Crazy Heart, Hell or High Water and so much more. Kristin Scott Thomas was so wonderful in The English Patient and I’ll always see her in a movie, loved her in The Horse Whisperer, Tell No One.
Q7. Desert Island Films- What are your 3 all time favourite movies and why?
Ok so this is always an impossible question and I could change my mind any day of the week but because Sergio Leone films are after being digitized and currently playing in The IFI and The BFI in London, I’ll go with 2 of his movies. I love the dollar trilogy and will pick The Good The Bad and The Ugly from this bunch - I loved this when I was a kid watching movies on VHS with my dad and have continued to love the film. I’ll go with Once Upon A Time in The West as my second if only because of the opening sequence which is one of the best directed openings ever...Introducing us to three interesting characters with only a soundscape and no dialogue over 20 mins and then just to kill them off is genius. I really hope to get to see them on the big screen while they are there. My third choice is Lawrence of Arabia, again a film that influenced me as a young man beginning to love and understand film. I have watched all of David Lean’s films and we have screened a good few at Dingle IFF: Hobson’s Choice, Brief Encounter and Ryan’s Daughter. In fact we have brought Sarah Miles to the film festival twice. Lawrence of Arabia has the most stunning locations, sweeping, majestic images with an excellent cast, a truly great story and I just thought Peter O’Toole was spellbinding.
Q8. What upcoming films are you looking forward to seeing?
I’ll be attending Cannes Film Festival in May and as ever there are some exciting films selected this year including Spike Lee’s film Blackklansman, Dogman the latest film from Matteo Garrone, his film Gomorrah is a classic, Asghar Farhadi opens the festival with Everybody Knows. Other than that I am looking forward to going to the cinema locally and seeing A Quiet Place.