A Date with Destiny: Films You Won’t Want to Miss at CIFF2020


A Date With Destiny: Films You Won’t Want to Miss at CIFF2020

Batten down the hatches to watch great movies at the 65th Cork International Film Festival! With a weekend-long, Met Eireann-certified forecast of film-watching weather, it’s the perfect chance to curl up on the couch with the best of Irish and international Film! 

Joining the CIFF2020 programme tonight is our 1920 Commemoration Gala: ‘Irish Destiny & Newsreel Cine Concert‘ at 7.30pm with a special introduction by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin. The Newsreels, played as a prologue to the film, feature a moving musical accompaniment by Cork violinist Brendan Garde.

Please join us at 6pm this evening for the live announcement of the 65th Cork International Film Festival Feature Film Awards. Streaming live across our social media channels and website corkfilmfest.org, tune in to hear the announcement of the Youth Jury Award, the Award for Cinematic Documentary and the The Spirit of the Festival Award. The winning titles will be available to watch until the end of the Festival. You can also now watch a special programme of the ‘CIFF2020 Award Winning Shorts‘.

Due to popular demand we have released a limited number of additional tickets for Irish fiction films  ‘The Bright Side‘, Ruth Meehan’s poignant dark comedy directed, with “understanding, jagged wit and warmth” (Screen Daily) and ‘Wildfire‘ the debut feature from Cathy Brady “a raw domestic drama set against the backdrop of an Irish border town community” (Screen Daily).

Music documentary ‘Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan‘ and Family Gala ‘Wolfwalkers‘ are now Sold Out but the CIFF2020 programme has many more gems to offer! Music and documentary aficionados can enjoy ‘Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story‘ and ‘Paris is Burning‘; and young film fans can choose from the full Family Programme including ‘H is for Happiness‘ and ‘My Brother Chases Dinosaurs‘.

Ticket capacities are limited for all films and selling fast!
Visit corkfilmfest.org or download the CIFF2020 App to pick your films and book your tickets this weekend. Read on for our highlights…

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Classic Film

Presented in Association with Cork City Council and the Irish Film Institute
1920 Commemoration Gala: ‘Irish Destiny

Made soon after the events it depicted, ‘Irish Destiny‘ was the first indigenous fiction film dealing with the War of Independence in Ireland. Denis O’Hara (Paddy Dunne Cullinan) joins the IRA after witnessing British aggression in the village of Clonmore. He is shot, wounded and imprisoned, but escapes from the Curragh Camp in time to save fiancée Moira (Frances MacNamara) from the clutches of villainous poitín distillers. The drama is seamlessly punctuated with newsreel footage depicting real events such as the sacking of Cork in December 1920 and the burning of Dublin’s Customs House in May 1921.

A 35mm print of the film was restored and repatriated from the US by the IFI in the early 1990s. World-renowned composer, the late Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, created an orchestral score which breathed new life into this silent film. This is a work of majesty which elevates our understanding of the forging of the modern Irish state.

Newsreel Cine Concert: a short selection of British and Irish newsreels relating to Cork in the 1920 period – including the funeral of the Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney (October 1920) and the burning of Cork (December 1920) – will be shown with musical accompaniment by Cork violinist Brendan Garde, as a prologue to the film.

Introduced by
An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin
Councillor Joe Kavanagh, Ardmhéara Chorcaí, The Lord Mayor of Cork
7.30pm Sat 14 – Sunday 15 November
In a small town at the end of the Second World War, Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski), a member of the Polish resistance, is ordered to kill a communist party official, but his first attempt fails. This famous drama by Andrzej Wajda – one of Poland’s most important filmmakers – was an international hit and premiered in Ireland at Cork International Film Festival in 1960. Cybulski was nicknamed ‘the Polish James Dean’ for his stunning performance as the conflicted hero.
Online until Sunday 15 November
Introduced by Academy®Award-winning producer Lord David Puttnam
The influence of ‘Paris is Burning‘ is vast. A portrait of Harlem NYC’s 80s drag-ball scene, where its young African American and Latinx participants would compete fiercely, parading the ballroom floors like catwalk models, ‘voguing’, and flamboyantly celebrating an LGBTQ culture that at the time was never visible in the media. Jennie Livingston’s documentary is just as important now as it was when it won at Sundance in 1991, the same year that it played Cork, and it is still a joy to behold.

Online until Sun 15 November
Introduced by Director Jennie Livingston

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In a gripping portrait of courage, director Abigail E. Disney follows Reverend Rob Schenck, an anti-abortion Evangelical activist, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Along the way, he meets Lucy McBath, the mother of an unarmed teenager whose murder in Florida has cast a spotlight on “Stand Your Ground” laws. The film follows these unlikely allies (Lucy is pro-choice) through their trials of conscience as they attempt to make others consider the growing toll of gun violence in America.

Online until Sun 15 November

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An intimate in-conversation between director Abigail E. Disney and CIFF Festival Director & CEO Fiona Clark is available to view on our Film Industry PortalClick Here to book a free ticket.

CIFF Recommends

Director of Programming Anna Kopecká gives highlights from each member of the CIFF programming team in 60 seconds!

From the Short Film Award-Winners selected from Don O’Mahony’s shorts programme to Roisín Geraghty’s political documentary picks ‘The 8th‘, ‘The Sheriff‘ and ‘Vivos‘ to musical documentary champion Si Edwards’ selection ‘Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story‘ plus international fiction gems ‘La Fortaleza‘ and ‘The Trouble With Being Born‘.

View Full Programme

International Fiction Highlights

Maddy the Model is an intimate and caring portrait of Madeline Stuart, the world’s first professional supermodel with Down’s syndrome. An endlessly cheerful protagonist, Maddy’s unbridled joy is matched only by her mother’s enthusiastic support in her battle for inclusion and a place in the fashion industry. Their experiences were documented by director Jane Magnusson for four years, resulting in this extraordinary film, which is a testament to the power and critical value of diverse storytelling on screen.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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Behind the lovely facades of the German colony Villa Baviera in Chile lies a traumatic past. Formerly known as Colonia Dignidad, this seemingly peaceful place was a site of systematic child abuse, medical experiments and deadly violence. Now its 120 remaining inhabitants, which include both victims and perpetrators, find themselves struggling to deal with the past in different ways. This harrowing but beautifully filmed documentary thoroughly deserved the Politiken:Danish:Dox Award at CPH:DOX.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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Bad Tales
When a heatwave hits the suburbs of Rome with all its power, parents and their kids are bathed in sweat, frustration, lost hopes and ambitions, and violence – verbal and physical – lurks behind the facades of their nice suburban homes. But it’s not the parents who will lead this community towards catastrophe but the kids. The winner of Best Script at the Berlin International Film Festival, the second feature from the talented D’Innocenzo brothers offers an Italian take on Michael Haneke.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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Presented in association with the Italian Institute of Culture
Illuminate: ‘Into Dad’s Woods
Gina is 15 and admires her father Jimmy: a funny, unpredictable, extravagant man (at least in her eyes), who takes his kids to the woods in the middle of the night, but sometimes leaves them there. One day Jimmy goes too far and the fragile harmony of his family is broken. Will Gina take this chance to escape her father’s influence? Vero Cratzborn’s first feature is a touching family drama that asks important questions about the impact of parents’ mental health issues on their children. Followed by a post-screening panel discussion about the effects of mental health challenges within families.
Online until Sunday 15 November
Book NowPresented in association with the French Embassy in Ireland.Cork International Film Festival’s Illuminate film and mental health programme is proudly supported by ESB Energy for Generations Fund and the HSE.

Industry Sessions in Focus

This year CIFF’s acclaimed film industry training days are available for filmmakers worldwide to attend on our dedicated Industry Portal. Sessions are free but ticketed, participants must sign up for each session separately.


Presented in partnership with Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland
Supported by Screen Skills Ireland
Doc Day Session 6

Keynote: Abigail Disney

An intimate in-conversation between documentary producer, philanthropist and activist Abigail Disney and CIFF Festival Director & CEO Fiona Clark for Doc Day, in which Disney speaks about her career in film, (including ‘The Armor of Light’ and ‘The 8th‘, both screening in CIFF2020), her advocacy work, and her philanthropic pursuits in the film world and beyond.

Available online until Sunday 15 November

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Please Vote For Us!

CIFF has entered The Irish Business Design Challenge 2020 which invites Irish businesses of all sectors to share the challenges they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 and the solutions they have designed to resolve them – our DIGITAL FESTIVAL PLATFORM & APP!

To vote for us, please click the button below and fill out your details on the voting form on the right hand side of the page. The deadline for voting is Sunday 15 November.

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