Cause for Celebration
That this is the 55th edition of Corona Cork Film Festival is cause for celebration, Cork’s is one of the world’s oldest film festivals and has endured many changes – recessions, the closure of its original home, the Savoy cinema and of other venues, changes in technology and in cinematic styles – but the festival continues to champion imaginative short films, intelligent documentaries and exciting independent cinema.
The festival’s endurance can be attributed to many factors; the continued support of our main funder the Arts Council and other public funders; of Corona (our title sponsor) and of many other supporters. This support would have no point were it not for the fact that filmmakers across the world want to screen their films before Cork audiences. We receive over 3,000 entries each year, mostly short films but hundreds of feature films and documentaries also. It is gratifying that filmmakers are eager to secure a Cork screening and that so many travel here to present their films. To our audiences we say a sincere ‘thank you’for your continued support and for the ways in which you engage with the visiting filmmakers. It is this dynamic between audiences and filmmakers that makes Cork’s a special festival.
The establishing aim of the festival in 1956 was to bring world cinema to Ireland and “to present Irish cinema to the world”. It took decades before the latter aspiration could be achieved but we are happy that we are doing so now. In addition to the new Irish shorts, documentaries and features, we present ‘Green Shoots’ a programme of recent and exceptional Irish feature films. Cork screens more Irish films to more people than any other festival in the country. This year we have twenty Irish programmes, over four hours of Irish film are screened each day! And it is a source of local pride that two of the feature films are directed by female Cork directors, Carmel Winters (Snap) and Margaret Corkery (Eamon).
It’s always a great honour for the festival to have a significant World Premiere and we devote our Friday Gala Screening to Dreaming The Quiet Man, a profile of arguably the greatest of American directors, John Ford and his making of his classic and enduring film. We are honoured to have Mary Kate Danaher herself, Maureen O’Hara, as our Special Guest for that screening.
In recent year’s Cork Film Festival has established partnerships and good relationships with the IndieLisboa and Vila do Conde festivals in Portugal. A recent publication produced by the Irish Embassy in Lisbon states that, where Galway is considered ‘the Spanish city’, Cork may be considered ‘the Portuguese city’. It is appropriate therefore to present a tribute programme of the best short films produced in that country.
Michael Dwyer, who died earlier this year, made an enormous contribution to film culture in Ireland. From establishing a film club in his native Tralee to working with the Federation of Irish Film Societies, to his time as a film journalist with In Dublin, The Sunday Tribune and The Irish Times, Michael championed cinema. He co-founded both the Dublin Film Festival and later the Dublin International Film Festival. Michael was a good friend to Cork Film Festival, generous in his advice and in his support. He regularly attended the festival. As Michael’s partner Brian Jennings told us, “Michael loved going to Cork!”
We dedicate this year’s programme to Michael