Irish short film Gridlock is in contention for an Oscar®, after being selected as the Grand Prix Irish Short winner at the Cork Film Festival 2016 Awards Ceremony on Sunday, November 20. The award was presented ahead of the Closing Gala screening of the sell-out, A United Kingdom, sponsored by Ford Ireland, at The Everyman.

Ian Hunt Duffy’s winning short will now go on the longlist for the 89th Academy Awards® in the Live Action Short Film category. Prize money of €1,500 was also presented by RTÉ, principal partner of the Cork Film Festival and sponsor of the award at the Triskel Christchurch this evening by Colm Crowley, RTÉ Cork.

Gridlock is a thriller set during a traffic jam on a narrow country road, and the desperate search by a father for his young daughter, after she goes missing from their car.

The winner of the Grand Prix International, Maria Luz Olivares Capelle’s Forest of Echoes (Austria), will also automatically qualify for the Academy Awards® longlist.

Speaking at the Awards Ceremony, Creative Director James Mullighan said: “Gridlock is a well-deserved winner, and is a worthy inclusion on the Academy Awards’® longlist. We wish it every success in its category. The quality of shorts this year was extraordinary, and highlights the depth of talent and creativity in Ireland’s film community, and cements the Cork Film Festival’s long-standing commitment to presenting and promoting short film.”

Other prize winners announced at the closing ceremony included Tatiana Huezo’s Tempestad, who won the Award for Cinematic Documentary, proudly sponsored by Ford. It follows the emotional journeys of two women victimised by corruption and injustice in Mexico.

Commending the film, Ciarán McMahon, Managing Director of Ford Ireland stated: “Documentary is an increasingly important and popular genre, that uses the power of cinema to explore some of the burning cultural and social issues of our time, and invites audiences to see the world differently, a sentiment we proudly endorse at Ford. We are delighted to be supporting the Cork Film Festival by sponsoring this award and the Closing Gala.”

The Shorts Jury, chaired by David (Dobz) O’Brien, the Programme Manager at the National Sculpture Factory, also selected Oonagh Kearney’s Oíche Nollaig na mBan, a visual response to the famous poem by Irish language poet Seán Ó Ríordáin, as the winner of the Best Cork Short, while Best Documentary Short went to Mike Hoolboom’s Scrapbook. The Best Irish Music Video went to Stevie Russell for The Coronas’ The Long Way and Best International Music Video to Steven Vander Meer for Boomerang, composed by Christopher “Bird” Jowaisas, and performed and recorded by The Absynth Quintet.

The Cork Film Festival Nomination for the 2017 European Film Academy Award was Andrea Harkin’s The Party.

The Features Jury, chaired by Associate Director of Programming at Hot Docs, Sarafina DiFelice, awarded Dark Night the Spirit of the Festival Award. Tim Sutton’s feature is a disquieting response to the mass shooting that took place in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.

The Audience Award, presented by The River Lee hotel, was won by Tiffany Hsiung’s acclaimed The Apology – following the personal journeys of three former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. The Cork Film Festival Youth Jury Award went to Ben A Williams for his debut feature The Pass. The film focuses on two young professional soccer players who share a hotel room the night before their first big game, when out of nowhere, one kisses the other.

Mr Mullighan added: “This year more than 150 richly diverse films were screened at the Festival, ranging from psychological thriller I Am Not a Serial Killer to Nate Parker’s timely American drama, The Birth of a Nation, and the powerful documentary, Dreamcatcher, by preeminent filmmaker, Kim Longinotto.”

Festival Producer Fiona Clark commented: “Audiences warmly embraced this year’s programme and we had many sold-out nights, including for Gerry Stembridge’s The Randomer; Out of Innocence, starring acclaimed Cork actress Fiona Shaw; and all four fLUX events in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.  We were delighted to present the first Doc Day in partnership with the Irish Film Board, and other highlights included a collaboration with the National Sculpture Factory, Perceptions of Vision; acclaimed RTÉ documentaries with guest speakers including Fr. Peter McVerry; and our Illuminate programme of films and discussions exploring mental health.

“We are hugely appreciative to all our funders, sponsors, partners, patrons, friends, and industry colleagues who have ensured the success of the 61st Cork Film Festival, and we are especially grateful to the large and loyal audiences who attended.”

Cork Film Festival is proudly supported by principal funder the Arts Council, along with Cork City Council, the Irish Film Board, Fáilte Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority Ireland, Screen Training Ireland and Culture Ireland. RTÉ continues to work with the Festival as principal partner, joined by generous sponsorship from Ford Ireland, The River Lee hotel, Tiger Beer, and VTSL Ireland. Media partners are RTÉ Supporting the Arts, the Irish Examiner, and Red FM.

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