A question of taste: Oonagh Kearney

Oonagh Kearney is a film-maker from Ballintemple in Cork. A former pupil of the Ursuline Convent in Blackrock, she also studied at the National Film and Television School in London. Her latest short film, the 24-minute Five Letters to the Stranger who will Dissect my Brain, shows as part of the ‘Best of Cork’ presentation at Cork Film Festival on Sunday, Nov 18, at the Everyman.

Best recent book you’ve read: Bluets by Maggie Nelson.

Best recent film you’ve seen: Irish fiction and documentary work is terrific at the moment — but a film that made an impact was A Season in France during IndieCork. It wasn’t particularly artful it but had an emotional power that stays with me.

Best recent show or exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I caught Please Touch on its final day at the Glucksman Gallery in UCC. Family bias aside (gallery director Fiona Kearney is my sister) I was blown away by the beauty of Anni Alber’s geometric drawings. I also listened to a blind man articulate his experiences through touch.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Sometimes when out walking, I’ll do a random search on soundcloud. Recently I happened across a track called ‘L.I.E.S’ by Tzusing. I love how this track builds, the sound of fast cars in the background, the sassy oriental trashy vibe. But I know nothing about this artist. The joys of the random surf.

First ever film that really moved you: Stand By Me. I was eleven, knocked out of some tennis tournament in Rushbrook. It was raining and I totally identified with the protagonist.

Tell us about your TV viewing: Jill Soloway (US showrunner / director) is queen. I love Transparent and I Love Dick. Family and identity drama, political and social satire. Less into crime thrillers. Though I enjoyed Killing Eve.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: Mystery Train, Lyric, Radio 4. I have yet to meet my ideal podcast. Too much talking!

Who are your three favourite film-makers: This changes. Growing up, Lynch, Loach and Kieslowski. Jonze. Now it’s probably Lucretia Martel. Ruben Östlund is a scream. Josephine Decker is setting fire to narrative conventions.

Besides your own, which film are you most looking forward to seeing in Cork Film Fest: So many. SKIN6 by Alice Maher and Aideen Barry and all the films in the experimental short program. Film in Cork winner The Shift directed by Megan Fox. Carmel Winters’ Float like a Butterfly. Treasa O’Brien’s Town of Strangers. Outside of filmmakers I know, I’m dead excited to see The Favourite.

Your best celebrity encounter: I was introduced to Steve Coogan in a bar and couldn’t think of anything to say so what I said was “I’ve ACTUALLY never seen Alan Partridge”. That went down like a lead balloon.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why: For the nostalgia buzz, LCD Soundsystem or Arcade Fire in Brixton and the party after in the London gaff: That’s how its starts... #GoodTimes #Early30s #Friends I’d love to have gone to the Bauhaus and felt that moment of modernity dawning. Any matriarchy going, there was a Minoan one in Crete, right?

Unsung hero— individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Anne Rossiter, founding member of Speaking of IMELDA. Gave her life to helping Irish women access abortions In London. Across decades, she and her husband Gautam were at the airports; picking Irish women up, feeding them, and putting them up in their house. Heroes.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree:

  • Breakfast: Abolish Direct Provision
  • Lunch: Cancel Brexit
  • Dinner: Call in the landlords. Chop off their heads.
  • Then, something sweet for dessert.

    Des O’Driscoll


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