THE 56th Corona Cork Film Festival was officially opened at Cork Opera House last night by arts minister Jimmy Deenihan.
Mr Deenihan said the Cork Film Festival is just the latest in a long line of film festivals he has opened in recent months. Others have included the Kerry Film Festival and the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival in Waterville.
“It’s a healthy sign for the industry that there are so many films being made here, and so many festivals to showcase them,” he said.
He recalled that his native Kerry had been a centre of the early film industry in Ireland.
“The first film with sound to be shot in Ireland was Tom Cooper’s The Dawn,” he said. “I’m delighted to see that it’s being screened at this year’s festival.”
The Dawn was shot in Killarney in 1934 and 1935 and centred on the War of Independence. Its maker, Tom Cooper, was a local garage and cinema owner. The film featured a cast of more than 250 local amateur actors.
The Dawn screens at the Gate Cinema at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Mr Deenihan also applauded the number of locally made films in this year’s festival. These include Patrick O’Shea’s Tree Keeper, Gerard Hurley’s The Pier and Conor Stanley’s Steamin’ and Dreamin’ 2: Cashback.
Michael O’Connell, the festival chairman, remarked on how much the festival had changed since its launch 56 years ago.
He commented on how appropriate the title of the opening feature, Like Crazy, was to the general madness of the festival, which will screen hundreds of features, documentaries and shorts at venues all over the city in the coming week.
Michael Barry, the managing director of the festival’s sponsors, Barry-Fitzwilton, commented on the eclectic nature of this year’s programme.
“I’m particularly intrigued by these three titles: The Baron, The Minister and the Whistleblower,” said Mr Barry.
This is the fifth year Corona has been the title sponsor, and Mr Deenihan, in his closing remarks, thanked the brewer for its support.
The festival’s director, Mick Hannigan, has expressed his delight at the quantity and quality of films being made at present, which has led to extended programmes of both the Made In Cork and Irish Shorts sections of the festival.
* Cork Film Festival runs until November 13. www.corkfilmfest.org
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