Cork International Film Festival’s annual high calibre Industry Days provide invaluable opportunities for established and emerging filmmakers to connect, and to explore all aspects of the film industry.

Presented in partnership with Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, and supported by Screen Skills Ireland.

This year Cork International Film Festival’s acclaimed film industry training days were available to filmmakers worldwide to attend on our dedicated Industry Portal and were free of charge. CIFF was thrilled to welcome award-winning international filmmaker, activist and philanthropist Abigail Disney as its Doc Day keynote guest.

All Industry Day sessions, First Take  and Doc Day were available for catch-up on the Cork International Film Festival online platform until Monday 30 November.

All sessions were free but ticketed, participants signed up for each session separately.



Monday 9 November

First Take is a training and development platform for newly established film professionals, emerging filmmakers, film and media students, and the wider film industry, comprising case studies, presentations and panel discussions. Its intention is to promote fresh thinking amongst emerging and working filmmakers, inspiring them to be proactive in creating and promoting their own film work. Sessions focused on Irish feature film ‘The Bright Side’ (world premiering at CIFF2020), the current state of play for festival programming and film exhibition, and navigating film production in the age of Covid-19. Sessions were available for catch-up on the Cork International Film Festival online platform until Monday 30 November.



First Take: Changing the Conversation | Parents, Carers and the Irish Screen Industries

WFT chair, Dr Susan Liddy (Raising Films Ireland) in conversation with producer Ailish Bracken (Chair, Raising Films Ireland), writer/director/ producer Roisin Kearney (‘Run’; ‘Paddy’; ‘The Ferry’) and writer/producer Niall Murphy (Scannain & Raising Films Ireland).

The panel discussed the ways in which the Irish screen industries can better support parents and carers.


First Take: Programming in a Pandemic | The Changing Landscape of Film Festival Curation

Ireland’s top film festival programmers assembled to discuss the current state of play within the Irish and international film festival landscape, how their festivals are adapting to this brave new world, and the negative (and sometimes positive!) aspects of programming in a pandemic.


Esther McCarthy – Film journalist (Chair)

Will Fitzgerald – Director of Programming, Galway Film Fleadh

Gráinne Humphreys – Festival Director, Dublin International Film Festival

Anna Kopecká – Director of Programming, Cork International Film Festival


First Take: ‘In Her Own Voice’ | Women talk film (LIVE)

Presented in partnership with Women in Film & Television Ireland, this session celebrated the recent successes and accomplishments of Irish female filmmakers. It assessed the initiatives and structural changes that have occurred in the industry over the last few years with the aim of recognising, encouraging and promoting women in film.


Susan Liddy – Chair, WIFT (Chair)

Cathy Brady – Writer & Director, ‘Wildfire’

Ailbhe Keogan – Screenwriter, ‘Run & Jump’

Katie McNeice – Director, ‘In Orbit’


First Take: Production in the Age of Covid (LIVE)

Filmmakers and funders involved in the first ‘post-Covid-19 lockdown’ film shoots in Ireland conferred on their experience of prepping, managing and executing a Covid-proof production, how the filmmaking landscape has shifted, and how to action film productions in an utterly changed world.


Stephen Davenport – Inward Production Manager, Screen Ireland (Chair)

Jessie Fisk – Producer, ‘Wolf’

Ailish Bracken – Line Producer, ‘Wolf’

Celine Haddad – Project Manager, Screen Ireland


First Take: 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) discussed 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’




Tuesday 10 November

Cork International Film Festival continued to develop its focus on high-quality Irish and international documentary cinema with Doc Day, connecting emerging and established non-fiction filmmakers with industry professionals and the wider documentary sector, with the objective of helping to inform, inspire and develop opportunities within the global documentary landscape. Doc Day profiled a keynote interview with filmmaker, activist and philanthropist Abigail Disney, and explored subjects including the emotional and personal risks of non-fiction filmmaking, working with your subjects, and the interaction of art and advocacy in documentary. Sessions took place on Tuesday 10 November, and were available for catch-up on the Cork International Film Festival online platform until Monday 30 November.




Doc Day: Archival Case Study | Castro’s Spies

‘Castro’s Spies’ Co-director and editor Ollie Aslin discussed his experiences researching, collating and working with the incredibly rich archival footage exhibited within the documentary, with Shane O’Sullivan, Film lecturer at Kingston School of Art, filmmaker and archival expert.


Ollie Aslin – Co-director & Editor, ‘Castro’s Spies’

Shane O’Sullivan – Filmmaker and Senior Lecturer, Kingston School of Art


Doc Day: Make Film History | Opening up the Archives to Young Filmmakers

As cultural heritage organisations digitise their collections and increase public access, including Cork International Film Festival’s new Digital Archive, moving image portals like the IFI Player, RTÉ Archives, BFI Player and BBC iPlayer provide audiences with virtual screening rooms to view their shared audiovisual history on demand. But the creative reuse of moving image archive material remains problematic, beset by questions of copyright law, rights clearance and “fair dealing” exceptions. The Make Film History network is addressing this problem by developing a new, sustainable model for the creative reuse of archive material for non-commercial use.

Presented by the project’s key facilitators, Ciara Chambers, Head of Film and Screen Media at UCC, and Shane O’Sullivan, Filmmaking Lecturer, Kingston School of Art, this session explored the project and explained how to get involved, as well as analysing issues pertaining to copyright, ethics and the aesthetic and illustrative function of archival appropriation in a range of visual forms.


Ciara Chambers – Head of Film and Screen Media, UCC

Shane O’Sullivan – Filmmaker and Senior Lecturer, Kingston School of Art


Doc Day: Working with your Subjects (LIVE)

A cohort of seasoned documentary professionals examined their experiences working with their subjects – responsibilities towards contributors, building trust, examples of films where this has worked (and hasn’t!), and the ethics of documentary filmmaking.


Tom Burke – Director, ‘Losing Alaska’

Gary Lennon – Co-director, ‘Castro’s Spies’

Eimhear O’Neill – Producer, Fine Point Films

Eva Marie Rødbro – Director, ‘I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die’


Doc Day: Advocacy and Activism in Documentary Distribution | The 8th Case Study (LIVE)

The filmmakers behind ‘The 8th’ discussed the making of the film, their upcoming strategic social impact campaign and their experiences releasing The 8th into an almost exclusively digital world.


Sile Culley – Audience & Distribution Consultant (Chair)

Maeve O’Boyle – Co-director, ‘The 8th’

Aideen Kane – Co-director,’The 8th’

Lucy Kennedy – Co-director, ‘The 8th’


Doc Day: 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 considered their own unique set of experiences.


Abigail Disney – Filmmaker / Philanthropist (Chair)

Trevor Birney – Producer, ‘No Stone Unturned’

Alison Millar – Director, ‘Ceasefire Baby’


Doc Day 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 spoke about her career in film, her advocacy work, and her philanthropic pursuits in the film world and beyond.