Cork International Film Festival Announces 2020 Programme


Cork International Film Festival Announces 2020 Programme – a treasure trove of films to brighten up your November!

Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) has unveiled a sensational Festival programme for their 65 th year. This year’s Festival is a blended 12 day physical- virtual event 4-15 November, featuring sought-after Irish and world premieres in addition to six show-stopping Galas, an extensive shorts programme, and special events.

The 2020 programme features 20 international fiction films, 17 inspiring documentaries and nine new Irish features, including four in world premiere. In total, 59 features and documentaries from 38 countries will be presented alongside six Gala screenings, 14 programmes of shorts, and special events in partnership with National Sculpture Factory, Irish Film Institute, aemi and UCC.

The CIFF2020 programme features luminaries of the screen and award-winning stars including Frances McDormand in her celebrated leading role in award-winner and Opening Night Gala Nomadland, (People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival; Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival), Willem Defoe in Siberia, Viggo Mortensen in Falling and Paul Mescal in Drifting. In addition, four world premieres of Irish work include Irish Gala feature The Bright Side, Documentary Gala Castro’s Spies, debut feature The Edge of Chaos, and documentary Home is a Sacrifice Zone.

Straddling the blended event and launching the Digital Festival is the 65th Anniversary Gala, new Irish feature The Racer, a fascinating sport-drama which will transport audiences instantly back in time to the Tour de France as it passed through Ireland, including Cork in 1998.

Other highlights include Family Gala, Disney•Pixar’s highly-anticipated, stunning animated film by Academy Award winner Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up), co-director Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami) Soul (cinema exclusive), which headlines a packed Family programme of three further features and Family Friendly shorts. This year’s ‘Illuminate’ film and mental health title is the touching family drama, Into Dad’s Woods, and three films for schools are available online for students.

International features by established auteurs such as Philippe Garrel (The Salt of Tears), Ai Weiwei (Vivos), veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (City Hall), and maverick Julien Temple (Crock of Gold), are joined by strong female voices including Zeina Durra (Luxor), Talya Lavie (Honeymood), Jane Magnusson (Maddy the Model) and Caru Alves de Souza (My Name is Baghdad). Irish talent is further celebrated with contemporary features Wildfire and The Castle, alongside timely documentaries, The 8th and The Sheriff.

For 65 years, CIFF has celebrated excellence in filmmaking and in 2020 the theme of solidarity is evident throughout, including the Classic strand which showcases films premiered in Cork throughout its 65 years and commemorates the events of 1920. The Festival’s acclaimed film sector training days First Take and Doc Day will be accessible online for free, and CIFF is thrilled to welcome award-winning international filmmaker, activist and philanthropist Abigail Disney as its Doc Day keynote guest.

Shorts Programme

Cork International Film Festival is one of only a handful of film festivalsinternationally to host 3 Oscar®-qualifying Awards – of the 10 Awards the Festival presents, the winners of our Grand Prix Irish, International, and Documentary Short Awards all qualify for the Oscars® longlist. See them first at Cork International Film Festival. 3,130 short film submissions were received and viewed by the Cork International Film Festival this year. Irish shorts include Drifting by Robert Higgins, Patrick McGivney, starring Paul Mescal (Normal People) and Dafhyd Flynn (Michael Inside); How to Fall in Love in a Pandemic by Michael-David McKernan; Arena by Helen Warner (2018 Grand Prix Irish Short winner); Dúirt Tú (You Said) by Shaun Dunne, Zoe Ní Riordáin; Iarscoláire (Past Pupil) by Shaun Dunne; Fallow Table by Jessica Kennedy, Megan Kennedy, Luca Truffarelli; and Afterlife by Daniel Butler.

International Shorts celebrates new international voices, as well as films that have played at such top tier festivals as Berlin, Cannes, Toronto and Venice. David by Zach Woods (selected for Cannes and stars Will Ferrell), 29 Hour Long Birthday by Mark Jenkin (Bait), 3 Logical Exits by Mahdi Fleifel, and French stop-motion felt animation Melting Heart Cake by Benoît Chieux.

Cork Solidarity Special Events

Special 2020 Festival events include the launch of the CIFF Digital Archive with University College Cork, a Cork Costume Trail featuring select pieces worn by leading actors including Cillian Murphy and Angela Lansbury, and our 65th anniversary/1920 Commemoration events in partnership with Cork City Council. Following the physical event (4-8 November), the Festival will present a full, high- quality digital programme on it’s new Digital Festival platform, to deliver the cinematic Festival experience directly to your home, from 9-15 November. Many films will include Q&As with filmmakers enabling audiences to Meet the Makers online and participate in voting for the sought-after Audience Award, from any location in the Republic of Ireland.

Full Festival programme and tickets to all digital events available now at

Registration for in-cinema events is also available at


Safety Measures

CIFF remains committed to presenting the physical part of the 2020 Festival in cinema, if Government guidelines permit. All necessary measures to protect audiences, filmmakers and staff have been implemented, including online booking with automatic dynamic seating to ensure 2m social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and venue procedures, to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for the public.


For more information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Tracey Ferguson | M: +353(86)158-4342 | E: