Announcing the CIFF2020 Winners of the Short Film Categories and more…

And the Award goes to…

The First of the 65th Cork International Film Festival Award Winners have been Announced! Read on for the CIFF2020 winners of the Short Film Categories including our three Academy Award®-qualifying Grand Prix Awards. These three winners will be automatically longlisted for the Oscars®. 

This year, the awards are presented live online, in two parts, streaming across our social media platforms and on our website Please join us tomorrow, Saturday 14 November, at 6pm for the announcement of the Spirit of the Festival Award, the Award for Cinematic Documentary and the Youth Jury Award. The Audience Award will be announced on Tuesday 17 November.

Joining the programme today are ‘County Lines‘ a stylish and powerful coming-of-age drama about drug trafficking in the English countryside; the World Premiere of Irish Documentary ‘Home is a Sacrifice Zone‘ at 6.30pm – an emotive and highly personal account of the controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing in Ireland; and the much anticipated music documentary ‘Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan‘ at 8.30pm.

Read on for the Short Film Award Winners, forthcoming scheduled releases, our Staff Pick of the Day, competitions and much, much more. It’s a jam-packed read for a jam-packed weekend!

Tickets are limited for all films and selling fast so visit or download the CIFF2020 App to pick your films and pre-book your tickets.

View Programme

The CIFF2020 Award Winning Short Films

European Short Film Candidate

European Film Awards 2021

Winner: Blue Fear

Directed by
Marie Jacotey & Lola Halifa-Legrand


Jury Comments:

“For the refined slipping between the different narrative dimensions, for the beautiful and sincere paintings of femininity and for having given the power of the archetype to everyday life, the EFA goes to ‘Blue Fear‘.”

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Best Cork Short

Proudly Presented by Red FM

Winner: Ballast

Directed by Jesse Gilbert

Nominees: Handfasting, Loving Ava, 4X4, Boxed Up, Tent, Tommy, Listen, Bronagh, A Christmas Drop, Red Mary Red, Hanging Over the Atlantic

Jury Comments:
“The jury agrees that ‘Ballast‘ is an ambitious, well-crafted and emotionally intelligent film made with a balanced simplicity. It successfully achieves a sense of empathy and humanity through its humble subject, keen visual storytelling and naturalistic feel. The film’s clever transition from the interior to the external and its use of striking colour make this film a memorable work. As with all the winning films the jury is excited to see holds for Jesse Gilbert and the whole Ballast team.

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Best Director: Irish Short

Supported by Screen Directors Guild Ireland

Winner: Shaun Dunne & Zoe Ní Riordáin
Dúirt Tú (You Said)


Jury Comments:

“The jury is delighted to award Shaun Dunne and Zoe Ni Riordan the award for Best Irish Director for their work on ‘Dúirt Tú‘. A uniquely powerful and engrossing short film, the jury felt it was a triumph of direction with a visual approach that was excellently suited to the material.“

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Grand Prix Documentary Short

Academy Award®-Qualifying Category

Winner: Signal 8

Directed by Simon Liu

Nominees: How to Fall in Love in a Pandemic, Please Be Seated, Iarscolaire, Listen, Hanging Over the Atlantic, Untitled Sequence of Gaps, The Truth About Your Feet, Inflorescence, 3 Logical Exits, The Oceans are the Real Continents, Bittersweet, Nocturnal, Just a Guy

Jury Comments:

“The Hong Kong of ‘SIGNAL 8‘ is a place of bustling, disjointed activity and nightly disquiet, in turns evoking dystopian sci-fi and a more serene pre-modernity. We found Simon Lui‘s vision of the city in a constant state of flux unsettling and deeply mesmerising at the same time.”

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Grand Prix International Short

Academy Award®-Qualifying Category

Winner: Sudden Light

Directed by Sophie Littman


Jury Comments:

“The Grand Prix goes to ‘Sudden Light‘. A short walk of two sisters and their dog turns into pure cinematic vision, proving once again that only cinema can expose the self-reflections, inner thoughts and deep feelings that we all have, desperately searching for a way to share them with others.”

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Grand Prix Irish Short

Academy Award®-Qualifying Category

Proudly Presented by RTÉ

Winner: Flicker

Directed by
Luke Daly & Nathan Fagan


Jury Comments:

“The jury were unanimous in our decision to award ‘Flicker‘ the Grand Prix for its excellence in filmmaking across the board. From the expert handling of the subject matter of masculinity and its fragility, to the naturalistic performances from its actors and the flair and composure of the direction.”

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Watch the CIFF2020 Award Winners

To celebrate the announcement of the first of the #CIFF2020 awards we have created a special package featuring all of the 65th Cork International Film Festival Award-Winning Shorts in one programme.

The first 65 tickets are FREE so click the red button to book!
Online until Sunday 15 November

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Schedule Releases: Friday 13 – Sunday 15 November

Home is a Sacrifice Zone‘ is an emotive and highly personal account of the controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing in Ireland. Told from the first-hand perspective of filmmaker and environmental activist Johnny Gogan, the film spotlights the campaign undertaken by one small Irish community against powerful interests, the Trojan work (and righteous anger) of the wider anti-fracking movement, and the battle which led to the government’s recent decision to make Ireland the first country to ban the use of fracked gas.
World Premiere
Followed by a Q&A with Johnny Gogan and Friends of the Earth
6.30pm Friday 13 – Sunday 15 November
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 Councillor Joe Kavanagh, Ardmhéara Chorcaí, The Lord Mayor of Cork
Presented in Association with Cork City Council and the Irish Film Institute
7.30pm Sat 14 – Sunday 15 November
Family Gala ‘Wolfwalkers

Young Robyn accompanies her father, the hunter, to Ireland, where he arrives with one special task, to wipe out the last big wolf pack that is scaring the good citizens of Kilkenny. While exploring the forbidden forest outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a girl, the free-spirited Mebh, who declares she can transform herself into a wolf. As people no longer believe in the magic and existence of wolfwalkers, Robyn is faced with the hard task of convincing her father to help the wolves find a safe place where they can live, instead of killing them. The newest Irish delight by the creators of ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea’. Be fierce, be wild, be free and join the pack!
Age Recommendation 5+

3pm Sunday 15 November

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CIFF Team Pick of the Day!

Senior Programmer Don O’Mahony recommends the ‘Family Friendly Shorts‘ Programme. A fun-packed collection of short films for young audiences and the young at heart.

Online until Sunday 15 November

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International Documentaries

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets‘ is an intriguing hybrid, melding an authentic environment with a constructed reality. Set in Las Vegas dive bar The Roaring Twenties – an unglamorous, yet accurate microcosm of America’s forgotten fringes – it acts as quiet voyeur to its marginalised patrons. As they drunkenly move in unison, the film captures the full spectrum of their emotions, creating an elegant and empathetic portrait of a complicated community whilst pushing the verité documentary form and blurring the lines of fact and fiction.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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Betty lives with her big family in the suburbs of Colorado Springs. She is a young mother of two and, like so many others in the American West, struggles below the poverty line every day. This poetic feature debut by Eva Marie Rødbro – a strong new voice in Danish documentary cinema – is a delicate, compassionate portrait of a young girl who hasn’t been dealt the best cards but is trying not to lose hope.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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How does the world appear from a non-human perspective? Is it possible in cinema to tell a story without humans at its centre? This meditative, experimental film, shot in Antarctica, tested the physical and mental limits of the crew. The director has said that she had to think the unthinkable, even stop being human, in order to be able to make this movie. Join us on a journey into a world that does not belong to us, if you dare!

Online until Sunday 15 November
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In 2008, with the world still marvelling at the recently launched iPhone, the eccentric Dr Florian ‘Doc’ Kaps decides that he will save the world’s only remaining Polaroid factory from being demolished. Although the venture is initially unsuccessful, this is only the beginning of the ever-determined Doc’s adventures into the heart of analogue, away from what The New York Times called ‘The Tyranny of Convenience’. This fascinating profile, directed by Jens Meurer, was shot on 35mm Kodak film, retaining its analogue aesthetic throughout.
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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In September 2014, a convoy of Mexican students was brutally attacked by police and unidentified masked assailants. Six people were killed and forty-three were abducted and never heard from again. ‘Vivos‘is a mournful ode to the victims, and a perceptive study of the psychological effects on the families left behind, methodically bringing to life the memory of each and every victim through empathetic renderings and reflections, stunning photography, and director Ai Weiwei’s introspective and highly creative signature style.
Online until Sunday 15 November
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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

First Take Session 5

Case Study in low budget feature production | The Bright Side

The director and producer of Irish feature film ‘The Bright Side‘ (World Premiering at CIFF2020) discuss the process of bringing this wonderful debut feature into the world, the collaborative creative process, and both the positives and perils of producing a low budget feature film.

Mary Kate O’Flanagan – Writer, storyteller, story consultant (Chair)
Tony Deegan – Producer, ‘The Bright Side
Ruth Meehan – Director, ‘The Bright Side

Available Online until Sunday 15 November

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Doc Day Session 5

The Emotional and Personal Risks of Documentary Filmmaking

Filmmaking can often be a difficult pursuit, and precarious career path, but documentary filmmaking in particular can often come with it’s own unique set of challenges to the personal life, and mental and emotional health of the filmmaker. A group of documentary filmmakers consider their own unique set of experiences.

Abigail Disney – Filmmaker / Philanthropist (Chair)
Trevor Birney – Producer, ‘No Stone Unturned’
Alison Millar – Director, ‘Ceasefire Baby’

Available online until Sunday 15 November

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Competition Corner


To celebrate the announcement of our Family Gala, ‘Wolfwalkers‘, we have teamed up with CIFF2020 Classic Corporate Member, Mama Bear Foods, to offer one lucky winner the chance to win a digital pass to ‘Wolfwalkers‘ and a hamper of Mama Bear Foods goodies.


To enter simply email with the answer to the question below by midday on Saturday 14 November.


Question: What is the name of the little girl in ‘Wolfwalkers‘?

A. Robyn

B. Rosie

C. Ruth

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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