Kerry Film Festival Announces Sarah Smyth As Its New Director

Kerry Film Festival (KFF) today announced that Sarah Smyth will begin working with the festival as its new Director.

“Sarah is an extraordinary person who is overwhelmingly qualified to lead the Kerry Film Festival and to serve as its Director,” said Kieran Gleeson, owner of The Classic Cinema in Listowel and board member of Kerry Film Festival. “She will succeed Jason O’ Mahony who has done so much to make Kerry Film Festival the success it is today. KFF is Ireland’s fastest growing festival, with audiences growing by 500% in the past four years. Sarah is an ideal candidate to take up the mantle and we’re convinced that she can lead KFF onwards and upwards to an ever brighter future. She has a deep rooted love of film and an enthusiasm that is infectious and KFF is absolutely thrilled to have her as Director.”

“I am truly delighted to be given this opportunity to work with Kerry Film Festival,” said Sarah Smyth. “The festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years increasing audiences exponentially across the county and offering new and exciting cinematic experiences. I look forward to working with the team and everyone involved with KFF and will strive to ensure the festival’s continued success both as a platform for Irish filmmakers and as the most enjoyable film event in the South-West.”

Kerry Film Festival brings films and filmmakers to the world’s most beautiful location, with a rich film history the delightfully scenic Kingdom of Kerry has starred in Oscar Winning classics including David Lean’s RYAN’S DAUGHTER.

The main feature of KFF is a short film competition that focuses on young filmmakers. Past KFF adjudicators have included Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne. In addition to the short film competition, 2008 saw the launch of the Maureen O’ Hara award, named after one of Ireland’s best known and best loved acting greats. The award acknowledges women that have excelled in film and recipients have included the director Rebecca Miller and Oscar winning greats Brenda Fricker and Juliette Binoche. Ms. Binoche picked up the Award in 2010 and it was presented by the great Maureen O’ Hara in person.

With screenings all over Kerry, high caliber guests and a wide variety of screenings and films KFF is Ireland’s fastest growing film festival with audiences swelling by 500% in the past four years. It’s also one of the most geographically dispersed film festival in existence, with screenings in Tralee, Listowel, Dingle, Valencia, Killarney, Sneem, Waterville, Kenmare and Caherciveen, making it the biggest little film festival in the world! KFF is absolutely delighted to have Sarah Smyth on board as its new Director.

Sarah received her Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin before studying for her Masters in Media Studies in the Dublin Institute of Technology. Sarah’s research for her Masters examined the role of film festivals as dynamic media events that directly contribute to cultural life.

Sarah has worked within the arts and film industries since 2003, beginning her career at the Dublin Fringe Festival. Since 2006 Sarah has work as part of the core team at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) in the role of Development and Marketing Manager. During her time with JDIFF Sarah has experienced every aspect of film festival management and has been integral to the successful delivery of Ireland’s foremost feature film festival.   

For more information on the Kerry Film Festival please log onto or call +353 66 712 9934.


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