Irish short film Love is a Sting is in with a chance of Oscars® glory, after being selected as the Grand Prix Irish short film winner at the Awards Ceremony of the 60th Cork Film Festival, principally funded by the Arts Council.

Vincent Gallagher’s film will go forward to the Academy Awards® longlist in the Live Action Short Film / Animated Short Film category. The Cork Film Festival achieved the status of Academy Award® Qualifying Festival last year.

The film follows struggling writer Harold Finch, played by Séan T. Ó Meallaigh, who has an unexpected house guest in the form of Anabel – a hyper-intelligent mosquito who has literally been the fly on the wall throughout history. She is determined to communicate to Harold even if it kills her.

The €1,500 euro prize from RTÉ Cork was presented this evening (15 November) at the Triskel Christchurch by Bill Malone, Channel Controller of RTÉ2. The short will also be screened on RTÉ2 as part of the prize. RTÉ was the Festival’s new Principal Partner this year.

The 60th edition of the Cork Film Festival has drawn to a close after ten event-packed days which drew crowds from home and abroad.

Speaking at the Awards Ceremony, the Festival’s Creative Director James Mullighan said “Love is a Sting is an extraordinary film which we were proud to show at the Festival and we wish it every success on the long road to the Oscars®. This year’s Short Film programme was unprecedented in both quality and quantity and we look forward to showcasing even more Irish talent at next year’s Festival.”

He continued: “There has been a fantastic response to the special programme we created to celebrate the 60th edition of the Festival. Audiences were up by more than 25%. We had a sell-out night at the Cork Opera House for the Irish premiere of Steve Jobs. We were delighted that some niche events also enjoyed sell-out success. The beautiful Hand Gestures documentary at the National Sculpture Factory as well as Tangerine – entirely shot on an i-phone – were two of the ten events that packed out their venues.

Demand for some of the sell-out films was so high that we arranged second screenings during the week. Tangerine along with the wonderful documentaries Older Than Ireland and My Love, Don’t Cross That River, and the German feature Victoria, each played twice to enthusiastic houses.”

A highlight of the week was the Rory Gallagher documentary What’s Going On: Taste Live at the Isle of Wight Festival, which drew a huge house and a standing ovation at the Cork Opera House for the entertaining and moving Q&A session with Rory’s brother Dónal Gallagher and Hot Press founder Niall Stokes.

Other prize winners announced at the closing ceremony included Listen. The Finland/Denmark-made short film was chosen as the winner of the Grand Prix International and will also go forward to the Oscars ®longlist. Listen takes place in a Copenhagen police station where a woman wearing a burqa is filing a complaint for domestic violence but her translator is unwilling to report her story.

The Irish Jury also selected Ciarán Dooley’s The Great Wide Open as the winner of the Cork Short Film award. The ten minute film warmed up the packed Closing Night Gala audience, who came in droves to watch Todd Haynes’s acclaimed drama Carol.

The US feature Tangerine won the €1,500 prize for best feature film; Gradam Spiorad na Féile / Spirit of the Festival Award. The jury this year was chaired by Irish filmmaker Gerard Stembridge.

Sean Baker’s feature is a twisted, high-energy Christmas tale, which casts an unflinching and comical eye on LA’s sex industry and trans community.

UK / Ukranian documentary The Russian Woodpecker was selected as the winner of the inaugural Gradam na Féile do Scannáin Faisnéise / Award for Cinematic Documentary. Described as an original and terrifying look at the legacy of the Soviet Union, it was directed by Chad Gracia. This new award, which carries a €1,000 prize, was chosen by a jury chaired by Claire Aguilar, Sheffield DocFest’s Director of Programming and Industry Engagement.

The Festival also inaugurated two new music video awards this year. The Irish Music Video Award went to Bob Gallagher for Girl Band’s Paul whilst the International Music Video Award went to Eric Teidt for Simon Fagan’s Lost to the Deep.

Jonas Carpignano’s acclaimed Mediterranea – a gripping and humanising film about the refugee crisis – was chosen as the Cork nomination to the European Parliament’s LUX Film Prize.

Romanian feature film Aferim! – Radu Jude’s Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear winner – won the Youth Jury Award. Naomi Kawase’s drama An – about a 75 year old Japanese woman who starts work as an assistant in a pastry kiosk – was selected as the winner of the Audience Award, presented by the River Lee Hotel. An was screened as part of one of several new food-themed events, the sell-out Fab Food Trail.

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