'Apocalypse Clown' Dark Comedy Director Talks Making a '$2 Million Roland Emmerich Movie — With Clowns in Ireland'

‘Apocalypse Clown’ wins top prize at Galway Film Fleadh as festival’s Industry Arm boasts biggest year

After a year in which Ireland’s major cinematic talking points arrived in the form of Martin McDonagh’s lavish tragicomedy The Banshees of Inisherin and arthouse success in the local language The quiet girlperhaps it was time for something a little sillier to take center stage.

Clown of the Apocalypse – a madcap comedy in which a troupe of failing clowns chaotically traverse Ireland after the world is plunged into anarchy following a blackout – won first prize at the 35th Galway Film Fleadh on the country’s west coast . The film, the directorial debut of George Kane and co-written by Kane with Demian Fox, Shane O’Brien and James Walmsley, was named Best Irish Film on Sunday night at an awards ceremony which took place before the closing film of the festivals, Cyndi Lauper doc Let the canary sing.

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Clown of the Apocalypse had its world premiere in Galway on July 14 and will screen at Fantasia Festival in Canada before opening on September 1 in Ireland (Wildcard Entertainment) and the UK (Vertigo Releasing).

Elsewhere, John Carlin’s drama Lie of the Earth won Best Irish Debut Feature, while The Grace Age – The Ballad of John Murray by writer/director Sarah Share was named Best Irish Documentary.

Meanwhile, Galway’s industrial arm, the Film Fair, boasted its biggest year ever, with an expanded program of events at the Galmont Hotel. For its 27th edition, the event – seen as a transatlantic bridge between Europe and the United States – has included virtual reality sessions and pitching for gaming professionals for the first time.

The Fair’s main corporate market saw approximately 700 pre-scheduled speed dating-style meetings between filmmakers with completed films or projects in development and financiers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, funds and producers from around the world. Attendees included the likes of Neon, BBC Film, Film4, StudioCanal, BFI, Bankside, Altitude, HanWay, DogWoof, Magnolia Pictures, Protagonist, WestEnd and XYZ.

Film Fleadh briefly found itself in the eye of the SAG-AFTRA strike storm last week after becoming the first festival to be hit by union action. With the strike called on the evening of July 13 local time, Matteo Modine, who had flown to the city for the world premiere of his film The Martini shot – which took place after the crucial SAG-AFTRA vote and press conference – canceled a question-and-answer session after the film, recounting The Hollywood Reporter he would have attended the screening, but simply “like a tourist going to see a film”.

The actor, who ran against SAG-AFTRA chairman Fran Drescher in the 2021 union leadership election in 2021, also posed with a banner expressing “solidarity” with the strike and issued a lengthy statement – written while was in Galway – in which he urged artists, filmmakers and industry professionals to “stick together” to create a “more just and inclusive landscape for generations to come”.