Film Giant Steps follows Galway Pupils through a Challenging Year

The film ‘Giant Steps’ by Des Kilbane will premiere online on 19 February



Filming commenced in September 2019, as the pupils looked ahead to finishing primary school and transitioning to secondary level schools. What a strange and challenging year it turned out to be with the Coronavirus pandemic interrupting filming for six months. The film changed direction from the planned filming schedule, which was to culminate in their participation in the exciting Galway Community Circus ‘Wires Crossed’ project. Instead of seeing them cross the river on a spectacular high wire we revisit them in October 2020 as they settle into first year in various secondary schools across the city and find out how they coped from March 2020 when the first lockdown hit Ireland.

Head of Programme for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan commented, “Our children have had to adapt to a new way of living, a new way of life and a new way of being. This has been a really tough time for them I am so impressed with these incredible young people and how they have responded to so much change at such a crucial time in their lives, we are really grateful to them all, their parents and to Des and Frank for allowing their journey to be documented in this way, a digital time capsule that I know we will look back on in years to come as a pivotal time in all our lives.”



Speaking on the project, filmmaker Des Kilbane said “We had the opportunity to talk about how COVID has changed their lives, how they were finding life in secondary school, where they had moved from being big fish in a small pond to being little fish in a fast-flowing ocean. This made it a very different story. With 31 different nationalities, Scoil Bhríde Primary School is a microcosm of Galway, celebrating cultural diversity. The creativity in that school is evident and symbolises Galway, which is why I was excited to be a part of it.”

School Principle Frank Keane also participated in the project. “I have huge admiration for the children involved in this project. The represent our school so well. 6th class are our leaders. They lead and they lead by example. They represent all of the other children and represent the school community here with distinction. They handled this crisis with real courage. My admiration for them is huge, not just as children but as people.”

Giant Steps will be available to watch online from 19 February at and will run until 21 March.

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