The 59th edition of the Cork Film Festival, which runs 7th-16th November, was launched at the River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork, on Tuesday, 7th of October, at 6pm. This year’s Festival features an exciting line up of Galas, awards, big film and movie stars, and special events. The special live events include Pat Shortt in conversation with Jarlath Regan and Christy Moore in conversation with Philip King, both in the Cork Opera House.

At the launch the Festival’s full programme was announced with speeches by Festival Chairman Denis McSweeney, Arts Council Ireland Head of Film Fionnuala Sweeney, and Festival Creative Director James Mullighan.

Speaking at the launch, James Mullighan said: “The Cork Film Festival’s logline is ‘Films. Music. Ideas’. Of course, the main job of films is to entertain, but they are increasingly our best windows to the world, or mirrors held up to our own lives. Films inform, inspire and educate us, and that is a main way we deploy them at this Festival, which prides itself on being one of discursive exploration that generates thought provoking conversations.”

Opening the Festival is Charlie’s Country, directed by Rolf de Heer, and starring legendary Australian indigenous actor David Gulpilil, winner of the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The film is Australia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the next Academy Awards, where it will compete with Ireland’s entry An Bronntanas, by director Tom Collins.

Previously announced is the Music Film Gala, Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton’s Björk: Biophilia Live, and the Irish Gala, the world premiere of Ron and Ronan Burke’s Standby, starring Brian Gleeson (the Stag) and Jessica Paré (Mad Men) which, after playing the Cork Opera House on Saturday 8 November, opens nationwide on November 14th.

The Closing Night Gala is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, recently restored and released on a 4k digital print by the British Film Institute.

Speaking of the decision to open the Festival with Charlie’s Country, James Mullighan commented: [quote]As a proud Cork resident, but a native South Australian, I am delighted and honoured to be able to open this year’s Festival with the last in the amazing Rolf de Heer / David Gulpilil trilogy. Where 2006’s Ten Canoes dealt with ancient history, and 2002’s The Tracker with recent history, so Charlie’s Country is a contemporary take on life, a quasi-autobiographical portrait of one of Australia’s most iconic cultural figures David Gulpilil, who co-created the project with Rolf de Heer. I will be fascinated to see how this beautiful, luminous and emotionally affecting movie plays in Cork.[/quote]

A series of special events were announced, which includes:

On Sunday 9 November, in the Cork Opera House, the IFTA winning Irish actor, comedian and entertainer Pat Shortt (Killinaskully, Garage), is joined by the entertainment phenomenon Jarlath Regan for a very special one-off episode of An Irishman Abroad Live. John Boorman’s Cannes nominee, Queen and Country, will also play on Sunday 9 November at Gate Cinemas.

Also on Sunday 9 November, and again in the Cork Opera House, after an extended introduction by Christy Moore in conversation with filmmaker and presenter Philip King (The South Wind Blows, Other Voices), the Festival will screen (in its entirety) the iconic 2009 concert film Come All You Dreamers – Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott at Barrowland, Glasgow. The event is followed by a free, first come, first served, screening of Philip King’s film about Christy Moore – Christy – in the Triskel, introduced by Philip. Earlier that day, Philip King will hold an extended conversation with West Cork filmmaker Pat Collins (Silence, Living in a Coded Land), Gate Cinemas.

Fast building a reputation as a crucible of ideas exploration, the Festival this year turns its discursive attention to mental health, launching Illuminate, a four part film and discussion series, supported by the HSE, and Arts and Minds. The keynote launch event sees multiple Emmy Award winning Canadian documentary filmmaker John Kastner returns to Cork, with the follow up to his Not Criminally Responsible, Out of Mind, Out of Sight. A powerful portrait of patients and staff at the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Joining John Kastner on stage for an extended discussion are Professor Harry Kennedy Clinical Director of the Central Mental Hospital, and Aine Hynes, Chair of the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association.

The Festival has a new feature film competition, and the full line up of its ‘Gradam Spiorad na Fhéile / Spirit of the Festival Award (with a prize of €1,000) is announced. The films are: Lorenz Merz’s Cherry Pie (drama, Switzerland); Luis Lopez Carrasco’s El Futuro (drama, Spain); Joanna Coates’s Hide and Seek (drama / romance, UK); Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s Manakamana (documentary, Nepal); Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’ s The Tribe (drama, Ukraine); and Tadhg O’Sullivan and Feargal Ward’s Yximalloo (documentary, Ireland / Japan).

[quote]These six films will make for powerful and thought-provoking viewing. In effect a mini Festival in themselves, we are looking forward to taking their audience on a challenging journey, and can’t wait to see which film the jury chooses to win the first of these prizes.[/quote] Don O’Mahony, Head of Programme for the Festival

The Festival has brokered a new partnership with the Gate Cinemas, and its North Main Street complex will be the heart of the Festival’s repertory programme, with 104 presentations of feature films and feature length shorts programmes.

The Festival is packed with big film and movie stars. Highlights include: John Ridley’s All Is By My Side, with Imogen Poots and Hayley Atwell, and Outcast’s Andre Benjamin as a young Jimi Hendrix; Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, with Jake Gyllenhaal (twice!) in a chilling take on Dostoevsky’s The Double; Tommy Lee Jones’s Cannes Palme d’Or nominated epic Western The Homesman, with Hilary Swank, James Spader and Meryl Streep; Morten Tyldum’s 2014 London Film Festival Opening Gala, The Imitation Game, with Keira Knightley, Charles Dance and Benedict Cumberbatch in the biopic of the life of British mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing; Michaël R. Roskam’s The Drop, with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini, an adaptation of a story by acclaimed US crime writer Dennis Lehane; and Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children, with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner in a cross-generational comedy drama which explores how modern technologies both enhance and hinder our lives and relationships.

As befits its versatility, the Triskel Christchurch complex (with its all new, comfortable upholstery) is home to a variety of diverse programming. The seven-part late night Twisted Celluloid Series includes David Michôd’s The Rover, with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson; and two (very different) 1974 masterpieces – Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and Brian de Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise. A four part Derek Jarman retrospective with new digital prints from the BFI being seen in Cork for the first time is made up of Caravaggio, Jubilee, Sebastiane and The Tempest.

The Festival is paying to tribute to master Chilean avant-gardist Alejandro Jodorowsky. Two features will screen: the 1973 masterpiece The Holy Mountain and 2013’s Dance of Reality. In celebration, the Festival has commissioned live music from Manchester band Gnod to visuals from KHOM to create Gnodorowsky; the event will utilise Jodorowsky’s ideas and concepts created for his doomed Dune project, and seeks to imagine the soundtrack for this most famed of cinematic ‘non-projects’.

A series of live music and Festival club events also take place in the Triskel. Highlights include Eat My Noise presenting their brand new electro-acoustic choral experience Inquyre; Glocke & Aaaa and Plugd Records presenting Sir Richard Bishop; ‘Resonant Frequencies’ hosting Robert Curgenven’s ‘They Tore The Earth And, Like A Scar, It Swallowed Them’; Seti The First with visual artist Brian Kelly presenting ‘Traces Of An Empire’; and a Coltt Blog takeover of the Black Mariah entitled ‘The Insiders’.

Full details of the programme are available from corkfilmfest.org.

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