It’s a Festival of firsts as the Cork Film Festival celebrates its diamond anniversary. The glittering ten day event, which is principally funded by the Arts Council Ireland, takes place from 6 to 15 November. The 60th Edition will see four new Festival venues, an appearance by well-known British actor Simon Callow, a live performance by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Rory Gallagher’s passing and an Oscar-hopeful short movie by Irish actor Hugh O’Connor.
The event-packed Festival line-up also includes a dazzling selection of Irish and international films, entertaining family events and the return of 2014’s hugely popular mental health series ILLUMINATE.
Commenting on the exciting line-up, Cork Film Festival Creative Director James Mullighan said “The Festival may be 60, but this is a year of firsts. There will be four new venues for the Festival: the Everyman Theatre, St Luke’s Church, the Pavilion and the Ballymaloe Grainstore. The eagerly anticipated Steve Jobs biopic starring Michael Fassbender will have its Irish premiere at the Festival. While for the first time in Cork, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform the live score to David Lean’s romantic masterpiece, Brief Encounter, on the Cork Opera House stage.”
This must-see live event was developed in collaboration between RTÉ and the Festival’s creative team and promises to be one of the highlights of the ten days. RTÉ is the Festival’s newly announced Principal Partner while the Arts Council Ireland continues its long-standing work as the Festival’s primary funder.
British actor Simon Callow is set to touch down in Cork for the Festival. The renowned actor, director and author will give an extended introduction to Orson Welles’ classic F For Fake, marking the 100th anniversary of the film icon’s birth. Simon, who is best known for his hilarious turn in Four Weddings and A Funeral, will also be on hand to sign the third volume of his book on Welles’ life One Man Band.
In keeping with its sterling reputation for nurturing home-grown talent, the Festival will screen over 50 Irish Short Films, almost half of which were made in Cork. This year, the winners of the Grand Prix Irish presented by RTÉ Cork and, the winner of the Grand Prix International, will automatically progress to the Oscars® longlist for consideration for the first time ever.
One of the shorts competing for the Grand Prix Irish is a mock-doc made by Dublin actor Hugh O’Connor. Hugh’s first appearance at the Cork Film Festival was back in 1986 when, at just nine years of age, he presented his first ever film Lamb also starring Liam Neeson. Since then, Hugh’s career has gone from strength to strength with roles in films such as Chocolat and My Left Foot. He returns to the Festival this year for the screening of his hilarious short Children and Animals. There will also be a screening of Chocolat at the Farmgate Cafe as part of this year’s food themed programme.
Also making a visit to Cork is the renowned screenwriter and director Gordy Hoffman, older brother of the late Philip Seymour-Hoffman. His short film Dog Bowl will play as part of the World Shorts programme.
To mark the significant increase in the number of locally made short films, the Festival has created a feature length presentation – Home Grown: New Shorts From Cork – to take place in the Cork Opera House, before the opening night film, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Irish-Polish thriller; 11 Minutes.
This year’s Irish Gala Strangerland, starring Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes, was directed by Australian Kim Farrant and produced by Macdara Kelleher for Dublin company Fastnet Films. The Irish-Australian production tells the story of a newly arrived family to an isolated, outback Australian town and the subsequent disappearance of their children, just before a massive sand-storm hits. The film, which has been lauded for Kidman’s powerhouse performance, has also been noted for the eerie and beautiful cinematography by Kerryman P.J.Dillon, was co-written by Irishman Michael Kinirons and partly funded by the Irish Film Board.
Keeping it Irish, one of the special events of the Festival will be a discussion by Cork resident and human rights filmmaker Peadar King, at the Gate cinema ahead of a screening of his prison reform documentary Yo Cambio, about a self-governing prison in El Salvador. RTÉ broadcaster Claire Byrne will chair a panel discussion on ‘The Relevance and Future of Irish Content in the Broadcasting Media’ hosted by The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
The Cork Opera House will host a special screening of What’s Going On: Taste Live at the Isle of Wright Festival 1970 to mark the 20th anniversary of rock legend Rory Gallagher’s passing. The documentary, made by Oscar® winner Murray Lerner, will be followed by an extended fan Q&A session with Rory’s brother Donal and the founder of Hot Press magazine, Niall Stokes.
Another 60th Edition treat is the expanded hugely entertaining Family Programme. It features two rip-roaring sing-along presentations of Disney’s FROZEN at the Opera House with the Youth Choir of the Montfort Academy of the Performing Arts in association with the Cork Choral Festival and, a chance to see Disney’s THE LION KING on the big screen at the Gate cinemas in Mallow and Midleton. There will also be two Irish premieres of German film for 4 to 104 year-olds, Fiddlesticks and Irish-made live action thriller The Legend of Longwood.
This year also sees the much anticipated return of ILLUMINATE, the mental health film and discussion series supported by the HSE and Cork’s Arts and Minds. ILLUMINATE is the cornerstone of the Festival’s newly expanded IDEAS series, which this year explores the complex issues of assisted dying, the refugee crisis and abortion. Films in each series are followed by expert led discussions and debates. ILLUMINATE and IDEAS will welcome broadcasters, academics and policy makers to discuss the issues with audience.
The Festival continues its collaboration with Cork’s National Sculpture Factory, this time running a unique- to-Ireland four screen theatrical presentation of Francesco Clerici’s Berlinale award winning documentary Hand Gestures about a bronze foundry. Over at the Triskel, the Festival mounts a new late night series of risk-taking films TRISKEL LATES, and a survey of recent independent American filmmaking HELLO, AMERICANS
The Festival will come to a starry conclusion with the eagerly anticipated closing gala Carol. Directed by Todd Haynes, the sumptuous 1950s-era lesbian love story stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Patricia Highsmith.
Commenting on the official launch of the 60th Cork Film Festival, Chairman Denis McSweeney said
“On the eve of this landmark anniversary, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the dedicated and innovative Festival staff, the loyal festival goers and critics who have ensured the Festival continues to push the boundaries with films, music and ideas.”