A feast of more than 70 feature films, 52 documentaries, and 100 shorts will delight movie buffs at Ireland’s oldest film festival this year.

The 61st Cork Film Festival kicked off last night with the screening of a critically acclaimed documentary about the life of bad-boy ballet star Sergei Polunin.

Directed by Academy Award-nominee Steven Cantor, the Irish premiere of Dancer opened the festival at the Gate Cinema.

Thirty-nine Irish short films will also feature throughout the festival, which runs until November 20, with more than a quarter of these from Cork.

Several feature films will debut at Irish cinemas across the festival’s opening weekend.

Certain Women starring Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams makes its Irish premiere tonight.

Taking home the award for Best Film at the recent BFI London Film Festival, Certain Women will be screened at The Everyman.

Nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, The Unknown Girl directed by the Dardenne brothers will be screened at The Triskel Christchurch this evening. Acclaimed Cork actress Fiona Shaw stars in Out of Innocence tomorrow at the Triskel Christchurch.

Out of Innocence is based on the controversial events in Kerry in the 1980s when the secret birth of a stillborn baby was linked with the brutal murder of another.

Screenings of children’s classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory will take place over the weekend, in tribute to the late Gene Wilder and in honour Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday.

There will also be a selection of family-friendly shorts in the Gate Cinema, North Main Street on Sunday.

Up-and-coming West Cork actor Clara Harte will make her debut at the festival this year, taking the lead in an award-winning short drama, playing at the Gate on Friday, November 18.

Timoleague native and graduate of the Gaiety, Ms Harte plays the lead role in Lily, a short film about the bullying of LGBT teens.

Clara Harte from Timoleague in the lead role of Lily, a short film about bullying of LGBT teens.
Clara Harte from Timoleague in the lead role of Lily, a short film about bullying of LGBT teens.

Ahead of the festival’s opening night, producer Fiona Clark said: “This year’s festival offers a diverse programme that can be savoured by all. Along with a broad selection of films, there are events such as the acclaimed Illuminate series on mental health, and debates exploring social and geopolitical issues reflected on the big screen by world-class cinema. The festival aims to entertain, excite and engage, and we hope that our audiences find much to explore and enjoy.”

The premiere of A United Kingdom starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike will end the festival, of which the Irish Examiner is a media sponsor.

Fifty-five countries are represented during the festival, with more than 15,000 people expected to attend.

For more details of all films and bookings call 021 4271711, visit the Cork Film Festival box office at 119St Patrick’s Street, Cork or see corkfilmfest.org.


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