The Cork Film Festival – Ireland’s oldest Film Festival – has released preliminary details of its exciting programme for its 59th Edition (7 -16 November), which launches on Tuesday 7 October, a month before its opening.

At 10:00am Wednesday 8 October, tickets become available for Festival Friends exclusively for 48 hours, with full public access starting 10:00am Friday 10 October.

In a first for the Festival, the details released early include information on features, documentaries, dramas and the Grand Prix Irish short finalists. Full details of the early release programme are available from corkfilmfest.org. The full programme launch takes place on the  Tuesday 7 October.

Commenting on the early announcement, James Mullighan, Creative Director, Cork Film Festival said: [quote]I’m so excited about the amazing films we have for Cork audiences this year – and some fresh innovations for the Festival – that I wanted to make mention of some of them now. I can’t wait to share the full programme with Cork, Irish and international audiences on Tuesday 7 October.[/quote]

He continued [quote]2014 has been a big year for movies, and we have some wonderful ones lined up. I’m especially gratified this year to have attracted some new partners to the Festival, who share my vision that the Festival is this wonderful city’s flagship cultural event. Alongside the continued and invaluable support given to us by the Arts Council Ireland, Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland, and the expansion of our relationships with Screen Training Ireland, Culture Ireland, University College Cork and St John’s College, we are proud to have secured new partnerships with the Irish Film Board, RTÉ Cork, Nash19, the Cork Institute of Technology, Cork County Council and the Port of Cork, and an even deeper engagement with our invaluable media partners.[/quote]

The first five Irish features playing in the Festival are announced. Highlights include the world premiere of comedy romance, Standby, directed by Rob and Ronan Burke, starring the IFTA-nominated Brian Gleeson (‘the Stag’) and Jessica Paré (‘Mad Men’). This charming film gives an account of Dublin airport worker Alan and standby passenger Alice whose previous romance came to a bitter end eight years ago.

Long time Irish resident – and legendary filmmaker – John Boorman’s (Deliverance, Excalibur) new feature Queen and Country has its Irish Premiere, after being chosen for the Director’s Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It stars David Thewlis, Richard E Grant, Sinéad Cusack and Pat Shortt.

Mullighan commented: [quote]there been a lot of ink spent recently discussing the quality of Irish films, and their resonance to local and international audiences. The programme of indigenous films we have in the Cork Film Festival simply and elegantly responds – this is a very good year and era for Irish filmmaking.[/quote]

Two other dramas are announced: Flight of the Conchord’s Jermaine Clement’s mockumentary vampire housemate comedy What We Do in the Shadows and the genuinely chilling Enemy from French Canadian Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Polytechnique) with a breathtakingly bravura ‘double’ performance from Jake Gyllenhaall (Donnie Darko, Source Code).

In a great year for documentaries, the Festival has secured the thrilling Björk: Biophilia Live. A concert film and more by Nick Fenton and Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, Katalin Varga) it captures the human element of Björk’s multi-disciplinary multimedia project: Biophilia. The concert depicted was recorded at Björk’s show at London’s Alexandra Palace in September 2013.

A new addition to this year’s Festival is the major international award for feature films Gradam Spiorad na Féile (Spirit of the Festival Award). This award amplifies the Cork Film Festival’s presence on the international film festival circuit, and will give the winner a platform on a global stage. The finalists have been announced on the Festival website, and include Irish filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan’s debut feature hybrid documentary Yximalloo, and Ukranian writer director Myroslav Slaboshpytskly’s radical ‘silent’ film The Tribe, exclusively in sign, with no sub-titles.

The Festival is delighted and grateful to announce that its prestigious award for Irish short filmmaking, the Grand Prix Irish, is presented for the first time by RTÉ Cork. Details of the 36 films announced – with ten from Cork – are available at corkfilmfest.org.

Contenders include David Tynan’s Rockmount, a dramatisation following the burgeoning football career of a certain eleven-year-old Cork lad named Roy who battles against complacency, with his black labrador and uncompromising attitude on the football pitch.

Another finalist is David Holmes’s I Am Here starring IFTA Best Supporting Actor winners Liam Cunningham (Hunger, Noble) and Michelle Fairley (Game Of Thrones). Filmed on location at the Crom Estate in Co. Fermanagh, the film centres upon Michael, who wakes to find himself in a startlingly strange landscape, which then becomes familiar in the most unexpected of ways.

This year’s Festival features an important new event series Illuminate that uses film and discussion to explore mental health issues, presented in partnership with Arts and Minds and the financial support of the HSE.

A key film in this series sees the return to Cork of four-time Emmy Award winning Canadian documentarian John Kastner, for a special presentation of his film Out of Mind, Out of Sight. It gives an account of four patients of Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. As with the other three events in the series, the film is then discussed by leading experts in the field; here John is joined by Professor Harry Kennedy, Clinical Director of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum and lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, and Aine Hynes, Chair of the Irish Mental Health Law Association and leading expert in Irish Mental Health law and law reform.

The full programme will be announced on Tuesday 7 October. At 10:00 Wednesday 8 October, tickets become available for Festival Friends for 48 hours, with full public access starting 10:00 Friday 10 October. The best way to guarantee access to these screenings and other key events at the Festival is to become a Festival Friend, details of which are at corkfilmfest.org/friends.

To keep up to date via social media on Twitter @CorkFilmFest or Facebook: CorkFilmFestival.

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