Irish film will be strongly represented at the 60th Cork Film Festival, which takes place from November 6th to 15th. The Irish Film Board will bring 11 of the films funded under their intentives to Ireland’s oldest film festival, supplementing the 10 other Irish produced or co-produced feature films and documentaries that play over the 10 days.
Here are the 21 Irish films playing at the festival, in alphabetical order:
11 Minutes (Friday – November 6th @ 8pm): Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, 11 Minutes stars Richard Dormer (Good Vibrations, ’71, Game of Thrones) in the lead role of a film director. It follows the same 11 minutes in the lives of several different characters; young and old, prosperous and destitute. Some story elements surprisingly intertwine, others follow their own intricate rhythm. Some characters are shown just as they are about to make crucial life changing decisions, others are idly passing time, caught in the midst of their day?to?day routines. What they all have in common is an enigmatic sighting of the elusive dark spot, seen in the sky earlier that day, and the tragic chain of events that will seal their fate. What really caused it? Did all of them deserve it? Could any of them avoid it? What is the fabric of life? These lingering questions constitute the film’s underlying theme.
11 Minutes stars an ensemble of other Polish actors including Agata Buzek, Beata Tyszkiewicz and Mateusz Ko?ciukiewicz. It is produced by Ewa Piaskowska of Skopia Film and co-produced by Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures. The film received funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.
After The Dance (Wednesday – November 11th @ 4.30pm): BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Daisy Asquith explores her family’s painful Irish heritage in this moving documentary about her mother’s adoption in After the Dance. Asquith’s hand-held style of shooting – where she turns her camera onto obscure, hidden and lesser-known subjects – is well known in a body of work that has seen her make over 20 films for the BBC and Channel 4. Here she focuses on her own mother, conceived to unmarried parents in Ireland and adopted by an English family, as she goes in search of her roots in West Clare.
Brand New-U (Sunday – November 8th @ 9pm): An Irish co-production, Brand New-U is a science fiction, thriller film written and directed by Simon Pummell. The film follows the 33-year-old Slater (Nieboer), who obsessively chases Nadia (Noone), the love of his life. When she suddenly disappears Slater wants to report her missing, but realizes he knows nothing about her. The only clue he has is Brand New-U, a strange organization that deals in new personalities. In an attempt to find Nadia, Slater makes a deal with the organization and takes on a new identity. But when the borders between his identities start to blur, Slater will have to confront himself.
The film stars Irish actress Nora-Jane Noone (The Magdalene Sisters) in a lead role, alongside British actor Lachlan Nieboer. The rest of the cast is made up of Irish and British actors including Nick Blood, Tony Way , Robert Wilfort, Jacinta Mulcahy, Tim Ahern, Anthony Cozens, Andrew Buckley, Tim Faraday, Sukie Smith, Clare Monnelly, Phelim Kelly, Martin Richardson, and Michelle Asante. Brand New-U is an UK, Dutch, and Irish co-production, produced by Janine Marmot of Hot Property Films in the UK, Reinier Selen of Rinkel in The Netherlands, Conor Barry and John Keville of SP Films in Ireland, in association with Illuminations Films. Funding comes from the BFI Film Fund, the Irish Film Board, the Netherlands Film Fund, and Finite Films.
Cloud of Skin (Saturday – November 7th @ 12pm): A documentary from Maximilian Le Cain. Deeply haunted by the memory of his dead lover, a man wanders through the sites of their encounters. The dead woman, a blind visionary, has transferred her perceptual powers to him as part of their undying bond. Rather than unfolding as a traditional narrative, experimental filmmaker Maximilian Le Cain’s first feature takes the form of a visually and sonically immersive fever dream. Composer Karen Power’s intense soundscapes complete this mysterious and unusual cinematic experience.
Deoch an Dorais (Name Your Poison) (Saturday – November 14th @ 12pm): The story of Michael Malloy, a.k.a. Mike the Durable and Iron Mike, is the stuff of legend. In depression era America this Donegal native survived more than 20 attempts on his life, ranging from alcohol poisoning, to food poisining, to actual poisoning, to hypothermia. All of these attempts were carried out by five acquaintances, who were attempting to commit life insurance fraud. Their eventaul success in their endeavour saw 4 executed and 1 sentenced to life imprisonment.
The documentary, from writer/director Paddy Hayes, sees former Donegal footballer Anthony Molloy embark on a journey to New York to seek out the truth on the toughest Irishman ever to grace the planet. His durability has seen his name immortalised in song, prose, and television.
Dergdhúil: Anatomy of Passion (Friday- November 13th @ 5.45pm): Paula Kehoe’s documentary, Deargdhúil, Anatomy of Passion, explores the life, work and sensual poetic imagination of Máire Mhac an tSaoi. A revolutionary Irish poet who explores the themes of love, sacrifice, sexual awakening, betrayal, the joy of motherhood, old age and the death of loved ones – set against the backdrop of a tumultuous century in Irish history.
Fading Away (Saturday – November 14th @ 8.45pm): From directors Edwina Casey, David Johnson, and Lisa Winstanley, Fading Away is the story of Ardi, the front-woman in a struggling rock band, who has a diehard belief that her music will change the world – the problem is finding enough of an audience that agrees. After a disastrous gig she goes on a drug and booze binge where she meets a surreal supernatural mentor and the encounter leads to Ardi inadvertently wishing an iconic album out of existence. Inspired by meeting the beautiful Kora, she decides to rerecord the classic album as her own, pushing her band to breaking point to do so. As she struggles with her music, band and new love, her supernatural mentor proves to be a darker force that she realised.
Fortune’s Wheel (Wednesday – November 11th @ 11.30am): A documentary based on Bill Stephens, an ordinary young man in 1950s Ireland with an extraordinary ambition: to become an international circus star. Or more specifically a lion-tamer! As you do.
The film is also a love story about Bill’s teenage marriage to his beautiful partner Mai from neighbouring East Wall. Their double act, “Jungle Capers, Bill Stephens and Lovely Partner“, was a series of death-defying feats performed with a troupe of lions and dogs. With this act they hoped to break free from the suffocating reality of Irish life in the early 1950s.
Having won The Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Irish Documentary at this year’s Dublin International Film Festival, the film enjoyed a 4 week run at the IFI, where it has broken the record for longest-running independent Irish film in the prestigious Dublin venue.
The Genius of George Boole (Saturday – November 7th @ 2pm): The huge impact of George Boole’s work on technology today is explored in this stunning new film commissioned by University College Cork. Asked at one point if he thinks Boole is important, Lord David Puttnam retorts “I guess, no George Boole, no Google, no Amazon, no Intel. That makes him pretty important”. Narrated by Oscar®-winning actor Jeremy Irons and produced by multi award-winning Oxford Film and Television, the film assembles industry leaders and academics from across the globe to explore the life and importance of one of the world’s greatest unsung heroes.
The Great Wall (Sunday – November 15th @ 6pm): Borrowing its title from Kafka’s short story about the building of the Great Wall of China, director Tadhg O’Sullivan brilliantly uses fragments of that story to overlay his mysterious and dazzling images, offering a piercing critique of the structures of power and exclusion at work inside and outside Europe and encountering those whose lives are defined by these walls – detainees in European migrant camps.
Shot in 11 countries over a year, the film journeys from the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa where the border with the EU is marked by a three-metre high barbed fence, to London and Brussels where the shimmering office buildings reflect a deeper ideological fortification.
The Hallow (Sunday – November 8th @ 9pm): Directed by Corin Hardy, the film follows a London-based conservationist who moves to Ireland with his wife and baby, to survey an area of ancient forest believed by the superstitious locals to be hallowed ground. He unwittingly disturbs a horde of terrifying beings and must fight to protect his family.
The film stars Joseph Mawle (Ripper Street), Bojana Novakovic (Edge of Darkness), Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) and Michael Smiley (The World’s End). The Hallow was produced by Occupant Entertainment and Fantastic Films. It was funded by Prescience, Altus Media, Hyperion and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.
The Legend of Longwood (Saturday – November 14th @ 10am): When 12-year-old Mickey Miller moves with her family from New York to Ireland, she soon discovers a mysterious link between herself and the 300-year-old legend of the mysterious Black Knight, who regularly haunts the sleepy Irish village of Longwood. With her new best friend in tow, Mickey sets out to redeem the knight while saving a precious herd of white horses and thwarting the evil plans of a greedy, ambitious woman – – a mighty handful even for the bravest girl!
The film comes from director Lisa Mulcahy (Red Rock,The Clinic) and is set amongst the beautiful landscapes of rural Ireland. It stars Lucy Morton, Lorcan Cranitch, Miriam Margoyles and Seán Mahon. Michael Garland produced for Grand Pictures.
Life is Sacred (Thursday- November 12th @ 4pm): This Danish/Irish co-production is directed by Andreas Dalsgaard. A film is a story about a fearless politician and his devoted followers. With an army of young people hoping for change, he uses mimes, pencils, flashmobs and superhero costumes to attack the corruption and violence in Colombia. A young woman falls in love with the movement, but to change a society penetrated by illegality, turns out to be much more difficult than she ever anticipated.
Lost in the Living (Saturday – November 7th @ 2pm): Robert Manson’s debut feature,Lost in the Living follows a young man, Oisi?n (Tadhg Murphy), a musician from Dublin, who travels to Berlin with his band, and is buzzing with the potential for adventure. He leaves behind the weight of losing his mother and an anger towards his absent father. Oisi?n meets Sabine (Aylin Tezel), a pretty young Berliner, who shows him the secret places that belong to the people who live in the city; hot parks, uninhabited stations, and lakes in the countryside where the free body culture is still active. These pleasures are thrown into chaos when Sabine reveals that she has a boyfriend and the futility of Oisi?n’s situation dawns on him. His band have left, he’s lonely, homesick, homeless and broke. He embraces the darkness, tumbles through the void and out the other side.
Lost in the Living, was made by Irish and Berlin based film-makers and by actors in Ireland and Germany during the summer of 2013, and had its world premiere at the Achtung Berlin Film Festival. The film was a hit with the festival audience, screening four times, and winning Best Director for Manson.
Monged (Friday- November 13th @ 3.30pm): Based on the award-winning play by Gary Duggan, with a script by Duggan and Barry Dignam, the Filmbase MSc programme’s production of Monged was filmed in 18 days earlier this year. Set in almost two dozen Dublin City locations, the film features a stellar cast of talented Irish actors, including Graham Earley, IFTA nominee John Connors, Rex Ryan, Joe Rooney, Aoibhin Garrihy, Claire Dunne, and Alicja Ayres.
Monged is the comic story of the three most unlikely trio of friends who navigate Dublin’s nightlife over one weekend – avoiding angry girlfriends, angry parents and a psychotic drug dealer while trying to offload a new drug called “Flippers” in order to settle a debt.
Moscow Never Sleeps (Monday – November 9th @ 6.45pm): Johnny O’Reilly’s Irish/Russian co-production Moscow Never Sleeps is a multi-threaded-narrative set on Moscow city Day, the Russian capital’s holiday, and follows the lives of three people, a troubled businessman, a Soviet film star who has become an abandoned pensioner, and a singer searching for her true self.
Moscow Never Sleeps is the second Russian-language feature by O’Reilly, who has lived in Moscow for two decades. His first was 2010’s The Weather Station. The film stars Leviathan lead Alexey Serebriakov, Yuri Stoyanov, and Artur Smoilaninov, as well as newcomers Rustam Akhmadeyev, Yevgenia Brik, and Anastasia Shalonko.
The film was the first Russian film to receive funding from Eurimages, a cultural support fund run by the Council of Europe. The film also received Russian private equity funding, as well as financing from the Irish Film Board, the Irish Section 481 Tax incentive, and AI Film. Moscow Never Sleeps is produced by O’Reilly, Andrey Zakharov of Russia’s Snapshot Films and Katie Holly from Blinder Films . Post-production took place at Windmill Lane.
Older Than Ireland (Sunday – November 8th @ 2pm): The film, which won Best Irish Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh, is a landmark documentary that covers a hundred years of life in Ireland as seen through the eyes of thirty centenarians. These centenarians, as the title suggests are actually older than the state in which they now live.
Director Alex Fegan, who gave us the heart-warming documentary The Irish Pub, was joined by cameraman Colm Nicell in recording the stories of men and women countrywide, ranging in age from 100 to 109. This remarkable group of centenarians, all born before 1916, are the last generation to have borne witness to Ireland’s bloody transition from a newly formed fledging republic through to its development into a mature European state. These centenarians are our living history and it is through their wit, wisdom and philosophy that the film explores the more universal themes of life.
From the oldest Irish person ever on record, 113-year-old Kathleen Snavely to Ireland’s oldest man, 108-year-old Luke Dolan audiences will meet a colourful cast of characters from all walks of life from the four corners of Ireland. Older Than Ireland is a Snackbox Films production, with funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board.
is a musical and cinematic journey into James Joyce’s creative imagination that is an imagined archive of the actual and much fabled, friendship of James Joyce and John McCormack. The renowned writer and superstar tenor first met in 1904 when Joyce still had hopes of becoming a professional singer himself. They reconnected in Paris in the 1920s and Joyce was to use his first hand knowledge of McCormack to create the character of Shaun the Post in his famously ‘unreadable’ novel Finnegans Wake. As Joyce struggled with the book for seventeen years, he portrayed himself in it as Shaun’s lowly twin brother, Shem the Penman.
Joyce’s twin obsessions of singing and literary experimentation flow through the film as his and McCormack’s encounters are reimagined in a variety of early cinematic styles, constantly interrupted by a series of films within the film which chart the exploits of Shem and Shaun. As Joyce’s eyesight fails the narrative is carried by a mix of archive recordings and imaginary radio broadcasts which give us an emotional connection to an increasingly isolated Joyce.
Shem the Penman Sings Again was funded through the Irish Film Board’s micro-budget scheme. The film stars Hugh O’Conor, Frank Prendergast, and Brian Fenton as James Joyce, and Louis Lovett as the great tenor John McCormack. It is directed by Padraig Trehy and produced by Rossa Mullin for Pooleen Productions and is written by Trehy and Peter McCarthy.
Strangerland (Saturday – November 14th @ 8.45pm): Kim Farrant’s debut feature film, the Irish/Australian co-production Strangerland, tells the story of Catherine and Matthew Parker, whose two teenage kids disappear into the remote Australian desert, and sees the couple’s relationship is pushed to the brink as they confront the mystery of their children’s fate.
The film is directed by Kim Farrant, and stars Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, Lisa Flanagan, Meyne Wyatt, and Maddison Brown. Irish writer Michael Kinirons co-wrote the script with Fiona Seres. The film was shot by Irish cinematographer PJ Dillon, with his work drawing praise at teh Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Strangerland is co-produced by Macdara Kelleher for Fastnet Films, with funding from the Irish Film Board.
Take the Boat (Saturday – November 7th @ 4.30pm): Directed by Camille Hamet and Serena Robin, this French/Irish co-production comes at a time of momentous change and debate, with people taking to the streets to campaign for abortion rights in Ireland this timely documentary looks at the stories of women and families who have been forced to leave Ireland for abortions. Take the Boat looks at the stigma and silence that surrounds the issue of abortion in Ireland and explores one of the darkest metaphors in Irish history.
Yo Cambio (I Change) (Sunday – November 8th @ 4pm): Brutal, over-crowded and violent: that is the reputation of South America’s prisons. And with good reason. “When I came here I was shaking”, one prisoner admitted. “All anyone knew about the place were the massacres. There were people who’d cut your head off without fear. It was the law of the jungle. As soon as you entered you were told: see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing”. But change is coming to El Salvador’s prisons. Slowly. How? Yo Cambio. I change.
Peadar King is a Cork-based human rights documentary film maker. For the past decade, he has highlighted human rights issues in almost fifty countries across the globe His latest book What in the World? Political Travels in Asia, Africa and The Americas (2013) recounts some of those experiences.