Long and the short of film festival’s success

IndieCork is proud of its niche status and ability to foster emerging talent, writes Colette Sheridan

Long and the short of film festival’s success

NOW in its third year, IndieCork, a festival of independent film, music and media arts, sees itself as a niche festival that is all about discovering new talent and showing films that wouldn’t otherwise be seen by the viewing public.

Co-programmer Una Feely, who works alongside Mick Hannigan, says that despite the fact that there are five film festivals in Cork (including the Fastnet Short Film Festival in Schull), there is room for IndieCork.

However, with the Cork Film Festival running just over five weeks after IndieCork and the Underground Film Festival having been on recently, Feely says the timing of the event is something that could be looked at.

But she emphasises IndieCork’s distinct identity. “We’re not interested in red carpet events or big-budget films that are going to play elsewhere such as at Triskel Christchurch or the Gate Cinema. What we’re showing is an opportunity to see films that could be on the international festival circuit. We feel they deserve to be shown. We can also spot early and emerging talent.

“We’re proud to be a niche festival. We’re not looking to get any bigger. We have a personal approach in that we go out and find films ourselves, all of which we stand over.”

IndieCork had nearly 1,000 submissions this year, including films that were invited to be submitted to the festival. As well as low-budget feature films, the festival will screen a huge showcase of short films.

“Our counterpart would be Clermont Ferrand which shows short films from all over the world.”

Among the international guests attending the festival is Dr Lars Henrik Gass, director of the Oberhausen Film Festival. It is the major short film festival in Germany.

“We think it’s important to bring someone like Lars Henrik Gass to Cork because he can see Irish shorts and choose what works for his festival. This gets Irish short films on the festival circuit and the film maker has a better chance of making another film.”

One of the highlights of IndieCork is ‘Film Feast’. This year, the food-related film is a Swedish feature called Love and Lemons directed by Teresa Fabik. This contemporary story, about a woman who loses her job and her husband on the same day and quickly opens a restaurant, will be screened at the Firkin Crane. The audience will be served organic wines by Mary Pawle, and local food.

The festival has 40 different programmes including the ‘Creative Cork’ section as well as 21 music programmes at the Crane Lane.

At least 18 directors are coming to IndieCork. The festival, run on a voluntary basis, has a budget of €40,000, with the main sponsor being the Rising Sons Brewery.

IndieCork is premiering several new Irish features. “We have Red Moon Rising by Vivienne Dick which will go on to the London Film Festival after Cork,” says Hannigan. “It has original art work by Alice Maher and is a real tour de force.”

During the festival, Hannigan and Feely will launch their new film agency, The Green Ray.

“It will promote Irish shorts and independent Irish features to international festivals,” says Hannigan. “Objectively, it is needed. We have directors asking us about Irish work and we have film makers wondering what to do with their films.

“There’s a bewildering number of festivals out there. People know about the Berlin and Venice festivals but not every film is suited to them. There are other festivals that are far better suited to some of the work we’re screening. We want to be a link between Irish film makers — particularly independent film makers — and international festivals.”

www.indiecork.com. October 4-11. Venues: The Gate Cinema and Firkin Crane.

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