Roche back in saddle to launch film festival

IRISH cycling legend Stephen Roche was back in the saddle last night to power a projector at the launch of one of the country’s most exciting film festivals.

Roche, the only Irishman to win the Tour de France, helped provide the muscle for the human-powered cinema which screened clips as details of the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival in Schull were announced.

The picturesque west Cork seaside village will be transformed for four days, between May 27 to 30, to celebrate the short film.

And festival spokesperson Hilary McCarthy said they have lined up some industry legends as special guests, including David Puttnam, who produced Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire, and Sandy Lieberson, the former president of 20th Century Fox, who oversaw the production of the Empire Strikes Back and Alien.

“The Parish Hall will be transformed into an old-style cinema for the main screenings,” Ms McCarthy said.

“But films will also be screened in a camper van, a darkened horse box and a darkened bus located in the village’s car park.

“They will host different themed screenings for audiences of between 20 to 40 people. We’re really excited about that.”

An intranet network with wifi hotspots will also be set up in Schull to allow people watch screenings on their laptops, iPhones or iPads.

Industry legends and movie stars will mingle with first-time filmmakers and movie fans as interviews, workshops and screenings take place.

Ms McCarthy said she was especially delighted that Mr Lieberson has agreed to attend.

Mr Puttnam and Mr Lieberson will be interviewed by ex-director general of the BBC Greg Dyke.

Mr Lieberson acted as an agent for Sergio Leone and Peter Sellers and formed Goodtimes with Mr Puttnam in 1970, producing films such as Performance, Stardust and Jabberwocky. Lieberson left the world of independent production to become vice president of International Production, and then President of Worldwide Production at 20th Century Fox.

He supervised the production of blockbusters including Empire Strikes Back, Alien, Nosferatu, Kagamusha and Chariots of Fire, and recently moved into strategic positions in the British film industry.

Chris O’Dell, the director of photography at Parallel Films, who worked on the Inspector Morse and Poirot series, will also attend. There are also hopes that comedian and actor Steve Coogan, who created the hilarious hapless radio presenter, Alan Partridge, will also make an appearance.

Last night’s launch party was attended by actress and Tudors star Maria Doyle-Kennedy, former Irish film censor John Kelleher, and Pedro Eliud Cisneros Cuervo, the Mexican Cultural Attaché, who was accompanied by Michael and Kathleen Barry of title sponsors Corona Extra.

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