Indie Cork: A festival with its own distinct personality

Mick Hannigan is at the helm of Indie Cork, the festival of independent cinema which has a strong emphasis of local talent, writes Colette Sheridan

INDIE Cork, the festival of independent cinema, has a distinct personality which allows it to co-exist with the Cork Film Festival, says its director, Mick Hannigan.

When Hannigan and his colleague Una Feely were let go by the board of the Cork Film Festival, they set up Indie Cork last year. The festival has a modest budget of €40,000, a substantial amount of which comes from Rising Sons Brewery. “We have a different programming style and a different approach,” says Hannigan.

Hannigan, who has always championed the short film, says that of the 50 Irish short films being screened at Indie Cork, including a ‘Made in Cork’ programme, only nine are dramas.

“We’re biased in favour of imaginative short films and experimental short films. The short films we’re showing include documentaries and animation. It shows that there is almost an objective need for a festival like Indie Cork. It’s providing a platform for work that would otherwise not be shown.”

Indie Cork is screening six Irish feature films, most of which are made by new directors. Among these films is Ian Ruby’s Dead Dogs which was made in Cork. “It’s raw and rough around the edges, and made with very few resources but it’s definitely worth a screening. It’s a redemptive story about a guy with a troubled past.”

New independent features from the American indie scene will be screened as well films from the UK, Germany and India. The opening film is Class Enemy directed by Rok Bicek from Slovenia. It deals with rebellion in the classroom. The closing film is Girlhood directed by Celine Sciamma from France. It’s about an oppressed girl who breaks free from her family and school to forge a new identity.

The Film Feast takes place at Triskel Christchurch, with food and wine at a showing of The Lunchbox.

This year’s festival, with screenings at the Gate Multiplex, Triskel Christchurch, the Crane Lane and the Firkin Crane (where a new ‘Dance on Film’ programme will be introduced) runs over eight days to give audiences a chance of getting to see more films rather than cramming them into four days as happened last year.

The festival is reaching out to aspiring film-makers with daily workshops at the Crane Lane in script writing, cinematography and sound.

Hannigan does not agree with film director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Calvary), who said that he doesn’t find Irish films particularly intelligent or technically strong. “There’s great writing out ther such as Lenny Abrahamson’s Garage and Gerard Barrett’s Pilgrim Hill, for example. I’m not sure what McDonagh is on about. I find fault with the type of films being done here that strive to be commercially successful. I think that is working against what is possible in a small country with a rich tradition of writing.” Hopefully, the Indie Cork festival will prove this point.


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