On Friday, 13 July, the most important film festival in Ireland, the Galway Film Fleadh will see the premiere of the Irish-Polish co-production of Sanctuary by Norah McGettigan, starring Anne-Marie Duff, Jan Frycz and Agnieszka Żulewska.

Sanctuary is a story of Jan, who is a successful Warsaw plastic surgeon with an unsuccessful home life: he and his wife live in the same house but are estranged; his daughter left home early and has no contact with him. One day he returns from a business trip to find his wife dead in the back garden. Unable to cope with his daughter's grief and resentment and his own heartache and guilt, he uses a conference abroad as a pretext to escape. But there's no escape from memory: a young woman who reminds him of his wife brings forth emotions that he doesn't know how to deal with. A journey of one man's self-discovery, at times dream-like and strange, Sanctuary is a visual portrayal of the wounds of losing someone whom you loved but failed.

The catalogue of The Galway Film Fleadh reads: A breathtaking debut, "Sanctuary" effortlessly evokes the twin perils of heartbreak and hope that inevitably follow great loss. At once personal and profound, art-house yet everyday, Norah McGettigan has crafted an elegiac, challenging yet beautiful film that belies her status as a first-time film maker. The film will be screened at the largest festival site - the Town Hall Theatre.

The producer of Sanctuary from the Polish side is Wajda Studio, and from the Irish one - Venom company. The film was co-financed by the Irish Film Board and the Polish Film Institute. It was shot on location in Poland and Ireland. Sanctuary's script was developed in the frame of EKRAN - the Media supported programme based on creative pre-production process and run by Wajda Studio and Wajda School.

Continuing the Wajda School's mission, the Wajda Studio supports auteur film projects of debuting artists. Sanctuary is the first international co-production by the Studio, and the debut of the Irish director Norah McGettigan, known so far for her short films: "A Song for Rebecca" (Cannes 2005 selection, Cinefondation 2005 selection) and "What It's Like to Be My Mother" (San Sebastian Film Festival 2008 - Special Prize, Gdynia Polish Film Festival 2008 - Special Mention). Venom is a Dublin based production company, established in 2004 with numerous award-winning projects for domestic and international release including "His & Hers" which had its world premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2009, winning Best Irish Feature.

Best Film is going to distribute the film in Poland in autumn 2012.

screening of Sanctuary by Norah McGettigan:

Friday, 13th July at 9pm

Town Hall Theatre
Courthouse Square,
The Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland

more than a film school | more than a film studio

Wajda School has over 10 years. Was founded in Warsaw by Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Marczewski. It's based on film groups tradition and experience - method of group working and co-operation of different generations. We offer a unique combination of production and education for film professionals.

Since 2011 Wajda and Marczewski have also started the production company - Wajda Studio. We focus on development stage and support our directors with artistic supervision from the best Polish and European filmmakers. We are looking for author- driven feature, documentary and short film projects which bring up contemporary issues. We are concentrated on international cooperation and co-productions.

The main Studio's and School's mission is to search for new talents among debutants. The most interesting young directors from Poland, but also from the whole Europe, has developed and produced their films here.

In our filmography we have more than 70 documenta­ries and short fictions, more than 200 students shorts. We have had screenings and awards at the festivals such as Berli­nale, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Hot Docs, IDFA and DokLeipzig. Wajda Studio's documentary ‘Paparazzi' was nominated for European Film Awards. The Studio is also ‘Christening' by Marcin Wrona co-producer. In 2012 there will be in theatres a new Wajda Studio feature - ‘Sanctuary' by Norah McGettigan, which is co-production between Ireland and Poland.