68th Festival opened with sold-out Irish premiere screening of Poor Things
Over 200 films to screen at Ireland’s biggest and longest-running film festival
9th November 2023, Cork City: Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) officially kicked off its wide-ranging and ambitious programme tonight with the sold-out Irish premiere of Yorgos Lanthimos’ award-winning Poor Things at the Cork Opera House, with the Irish producers in attendance.
L to r: Robbie Ryan, Director of Photography, Poor Things; Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney, Element Pictures
Officially opening the Festival, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy said “This year Cork International Film Festival continues to take its viewers on a viewing journey of some of the world’s greatest films, newest releases and art house masterpieces. The Festival creates an enormous heartfelt and soul-filled experience by bringing people together. It captures people’s imagination and emotions of viewing a great film. For nearly seven decades, the film Festival has filled the City and region with everything that is good about the City – culture, arts, heritage, sense of pride, sense of place and a sense of togetherness”.
Festival Patron Lord David Puttnam welcomed the audience, including local dignitaries, filmmakers and film lovers, and was followed on stage by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, producers of Poor Things, joined by acclaimed Irish Director of Photography Robbie Ryan.
“Film festivals matter. Their purpose is to introduce new and unexpected work to each successive generation of filmgoers. Every 15 to 20 years cinema needs to find ‘new voices’, ones that speak to and illuminate the experience of a new generation of cinemagoers. And that voice needs not just to be discovered but encouraged and supported. Congratulations to the entire Cork International Film Festival team, of which I am proud to be considered a member.” said Lord David Puttnam.
The expanded 2023 Festival will screen the best in Irish and international film over 18 days across Cork city and county, running until Sunday November 26th. The programme includes several high profile World and Irish Premieres.
CIFF Director & CEO Fiona Clark welcomed the packed auditorium saying: “Along with the sense of occasion we all feel tonight, I’m more aware than ever of the responsibility we carry as custodian of this significant and long-cherished Grande Dame of film festivals. Seven decades on, we continue to champion the power of film to tell important stories that transform how we see the world. We could not be prouder to open the Festival than with Poor Things, a visionary and visually stunning film from a master magician of cinema, Yorgos Lanthimos.”
Highlights in the packed 2023 programme, featuring over 200 films across the Festival, include two World Premieres this weekend, So This Is Christmas, from award-winning Irish filmmaker Ken Wardrop screening on Friday night at The Everyman; and Irish Gala One Night In Millstreet, on Saturday 11th November, from director Andrew Gallimore, which tells the remarkable story of the World Title fight in Millstreet in the mid-’90s between honorary Corkman Steve Collins and Chris Eubank.
On Saturday 11th, the Festival will also welcome director Damian Harris, and actors Jared and Jamie Harris (sons of renowned actor Richard Harris), who will attend the international premiere of feature film Brave The Dark in The Everyman, and participate in a post-screening Q&A.
Headlining the Festival’s unique film and mental health strand, Illuminate, will be the Irish Premiere of The Eternal Memory, by Chilean director Maite Alberdi, followed by a panel discussion in the Triskel on Saturday afternoon. It’s a moving and unflinching observation of a couple – Augusto Góngora, a renowned broadcaster and journalist, and Paulina “Pauli” Urrutia who was an activist, actor and minister of state – grappling with Augusto’s slow descent with Alzheimers. It is intimate and empathic filmmaking at its best, engaging with Chile’s recent history, and not to be missed.
Cork International Film Festival has established itself as a platform for the best in short filmmaking to be showcased, and this year is no exception. Three of the Festival shorts awards – the Grand Prix Irish Short, the Grand Prix International Short and the Grand Prix Documentary Short – are Academy Award®-qualifying, ensuring that the winners in Cork will be automatically longlisted for the Oscars®. Shorts programmes will screen across the opening weekend, including the World Premiere of a selection of inspirational new Irish short films funded under the Focus and Real Short film schemes, presented by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland.
On Sunday 12th November, in Triskel, CIFF presents IFI Cork On Camera: A Focus on Flora Kerrigan. Made in 1960s Cork and preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive, these amateur films by Flora Kerrigan tackle existential subjects, from death to desire, through experimental animation and live-action filmmaking. This is a rare opportunity to see the work of Flora Kerrigan on the big screen and acknowledge the legacy of this filmmaking pioneer from Summerhill. The screening is presented by the Irish Film Institute in association with Maynooth University.
The Parallax Emerging Film Artist Exhibition, ‘Another Country’, opens in the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion tomorrow until the final day of the Festival, with free admission. This is a solo exhibition by Myfanwy Frost-Jones, the inaugural recipient of the Parallax Emerging Film Artist Bursary, established by CIFF, National Sculpture Factory, and Sample-Studios, Cork in 2022. The recipient of the 2024 Bursary will be announced during the Festival.
The Festival will also showcase premieres from acclaimed Irish filmmakers Paul Duane (All You Need Is Death), Alan Gilsenan (The Days Of Trees) and Paul Mercier (Prospect House), all of which are in competition for the CIFF Best New Irish Feature award, alongside So This Is Christmas and One Night In Millstreet, supported by the Irish Examiner. The Festival celebrates the best filmmaking talent through a number of awards across multiple categories.
The Green Screen feature for 2023 is a food sustainability documentary focused on Peruvian superstar chef, Virgilio, with a panel discussion in partnership with University College Cork (UCC). Highlighting the urgent issue of climate change and environmental concerns, and promoting actions to make positive changes in our communities, Green Screen is sponsored by the Festival’s Sustainability Partner, Future Planet, an award-winning partnership to improve climate literacy and promote activism, recognised by the Business to Arts Awards 2023.
From surrealist gastronomic adventures to exquisite French cuisine to elevating the humble pizza, audiences can feast their eyes on the Culinary Cinema strand, with special packages blending screenings of three food-themed films and Cork food experiences, including a pop-up supper at The Farmgate Café, English Market; Italian treats at NeighbourFood Apple Market; and French dining and wine-pairing at L’Atitude 51.
As the Festival approaches its landmark 70th edition in 2025, this year’s Cork Film Trail invites guests to take a wander through the streets of Cork City to explore CIFF’s rich heritage and deep connection to this vibrant and changing city over the past seven decades, drawing on the CIFF Digital Archive with accompanying walking tours, two of which will be lead by the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy.
All tickets on sale now at corkfilmfest.org and the MyCIFF app.
The 68th Cork International Film Festival will run from Thursday 9th to Sunday 26th of November, 2023. For more information and to view the full programme, and to stay up to date with the latest news and programme announcements, visit corkfilmfest.org.