8 Irish Film Festivals Sign Pledge for Gender Parity and Inclusion

Women in Film and Television Ireland (wft.ie) a chapter of Women in Film and Television International, has announced that to date 8 Irish Film festivals have accepted their invitation to sign up to the 5050×2020 Gender Parity and Inclusion Pledge which was launched by Cannes Festival chiefs at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

These are: Animation Dingle, Cork Film Festival, Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, GAZE LGBT Film Festival, Kerry Film Festival, Still Voices Short Film Festival and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
Founded in 2003, the Dublin International Film Festival sets the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film.

The official Irish festival signing was held yesterday at The Lighthouse Cinema with John Rice (Co-Founder & Director Animation Dingle), Aoife O’Toole (Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival), Fiona Clark (Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival), Ronan O’ Toole (Director Still Voices Short Film Festival) and Gráinne Humphreys (Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival) in attendance alongside Dr. Susan Liddy, (Chair of Women in Film & Television Ireland).


Dr Susan Liddy Chair of Women in Film and Television Ireland, Fiona Clark Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival, Aoife O’ Toole Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Grainne Humphreys Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival, John Rice Founder Animation Dingle and Ronan O Toole Director Still Voices Short Film Festival. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

It’s heartening that so many Irish film festivals have joined forces with us to formally commit to the principle of gender parity and inclusion in festivals. We warmly welcome their enthusiasm and solidarity and we hope this initiative will mark the beginning of a supportive partnership between us. We need more women in the film industry at every level. While girls’ and women’s voices are not heard and their stories are not told, our culture is the poorer for it. Film festivals are a hugely important part of any conversation about equality. They are an important link in the journey of a film and filmmaker. This is why we need greater transparency about what films are submitted, what films are selected and who is making the decisions. As with anything, information must be the starting point and we commend these festivals for agreeing to track that. This is an initiative that WFT Ireland will be building on over the coming months and we call on other festivals to join with us and embrace the challenge.
Dr. Susan Liddy, Chair – Women in Film & Television Ireland

Initiated by the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective, a charter was signed in 2018 by Cannes’ festival chiefs to work towards gender parity and inclusion.

The charter invites film festivals across the world to make the following commitment to gender parity and inclusion:

  • To compile statistics of gender of the directors of all the films submitted to selection (and when possible, to also compile statistics of the cast and crew when mentioned in the registration process).
  • To make public the gender of the members of selection committees, programmers and programming consultants.
    To make public the gender of executive boards and/or boards of directors and/or to commit to a schedule to achieve parity in these bodies.
    All Irish festival signatories have committed to giving a full update to Women in Film & Television Ireland, who will make public their progress during their respective 2020 festivals.
  • Women in Film & Television Ireland will also update the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective about the new signatories in time for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

As Ireland’s first and largest film festival, Cork Film Festival (CFF) is pleased to join WFTV in partnering with the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to pledge our commitment to the 5050×2020 Charter, alongside the first Irish signatories. CFF supports increased transparency and gender-focused change across the Irish film landscape. CFF actively advocates for equality and inclusion in our industry by creating opportunities for meaningful public and sector dialogue as part of the Festival and by monitoring gender parity across our programme, submissions, jurors, panelists, programmers, staff, Board and volunteers.

The 63rd edition of the Festival in 2018 demonstrated that the Festival is actively making steps towards achieving its gender parity commitment. For example, 42% of our Shorts Programme was directed, co-directed and/or produced by women and 72% of our award-winning films were directed, co-directed and/or produced by women, with 47% female awards jurors. While this demonstrates CFF’s commitment to achieving greater representation for women in our programme, we recognise the need to focus our collective energy on advocating for gender equality in the sector. We welcome the opportunity to participate in the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to strive for equal representation for women’s voices in film.
Fiona Clark, Producer & CEO – Cork Film Festival

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is proud to be part of the first group of signatories to the 5050×2020 Charter. The festival puts the films and filmmakers at its heart and understands the importance of nurturing new and experienced talent alike.

In 2019, of the over 100 feature length films screened at the festival, we are glad to say that 59% had women producers and 30% were produced by people of colour. However, the Festival is not complacent about its progress to date, and recognises that there is more work to be done to achieve diversity in all of its activities.

This partnership between the festival, WIFT and Cannes is another important step in proactively changing the power dynamics and creative output of the Irish film industry for the better.
Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director – Dublin International Film Festival


‘Bonsoir Luna’ Screens at Cannes Film Festival

Bonsoir Cover



Aminal Productions’ Bonsoir Luna has been selected to participate in the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival 2015.


Bonsoir Luna is an all-sung, Irish language musical that tells the story of a romance between street artist, Duke, and, Luna, who works in a shopping arcade’s coffee shop nearby. Luna’s coffee shop is run by her mother, Paula, who disapproves of Duke and his trade. Duke and Luna have kept their romance a secret, but now Duke must round up his fellow street artist friends to help him win over Paula when she nears discovering their secret and if she did, would force the two apart.


Donncha Gilmore wrote and directed the 15-minute film, which was produced by David Cullinan, PJ Moloney, and Philip Hickey for Aminal Productions with the support of The Arts Council. Federico Rea acted as Cinematographer, and Glenn Whelan, as Art Director, while Gilmore also edited the picture.


Michael-David McKernan and Hilary Bowen Walsh star as Duke and Luna, respectively, amongst a cast that also features Susie Young, Grainne Boyle, Aislinn Ní Uallacháin, Gemma Doherty, Eoghan Regan, and Garret Farrell.


The film’s music was written and arranged by Josh Reichental, with additional contributions by Stephen O’Brien. Recording of the music was carried out at Lamplight Studios, with Stephen Dunne as recording supervisor.


Luna was shot in September 2014 around Dublin, and it is hoped the inclusion in the Short Film Corner will mark the beginning of an international festival run.


The production team are currently seeking funding to create a feature-length version.




Cannes Diary 4 – Days 7-8


 Behind the Candelabra

David Neary embraces American-English, misses out on three-hours of lesbian sex and gets ripped off by Ma Nolan.

Tuesday was another beautifully sunny day in Cannes, the perfect excuse to hide from the sun in a dark room and watch things flicker on the screen that were less bright and frightening. I had missed Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, that morning, and as seems to be daily routine now everyone was talking about how great it was and its chances for the Palme d’Or. Michael Douglas, for the time being, is seen as a shoe-in for Best Actor.

Still disappointed from the film the previous night, I opted not to head into the Grande Bellezza press conference, despite my love of Sorrentino. After downing another liquid thunder-coffee at the espresso bar, I got in line (American journalists are rubbing off on me, the word ‘queued’ has started to look strange to me) for Claire Denis’ latest Les Salauds (The Bastards). There I got talking to Polish film critic Michal Oleszczyk, who sported a gloriously nerdy T-shirt with ‘Pauline Kael’ written on it in the font of an ’80s rock band logo. Cannes truly is the Mecca of film geekdom.

Controversially not in the main competition (where there are no female directors this year), Les Salauds may have a strong shot at winning Un Certain Regard. With the most vaguely plotted first 20 minutes imaginable, Denis’s film is a neo-noir that doesn’t introduce its characters, and leaves you collecting information a frustrating few beats behind the protagonist. Not a very enjoyable watch (and with some horrific sexual violence – a bit much before lunch), it all comes together for a quite startling final 10 minutes that make this a truly memorable film. Whether or not it was deserving of a spot in the main competition, it was certainly many leagues above the likes of Jimmy P.

I had planned to catch A Castle in Italy, but word was it is the weakest film in competition this year (worse than Jimmy P. and Wara No Tate), so I passed in order to catch up on writing and get some food for a change. Caught for time with another film fast approaching, I had to make the tourists’ Sophie’s Choice of grabbing food in McDonalds or Subway. I chose the latter, but I didn’t feel good about it.

Back at the Salle Debussy, I managed to squeeze my way into the press screening of Grigris, a French/Chadian coproduction, showing in the main competition. It’s perhaps the most unoriginal story imaginable; a performer in desperate need of money gets involved in illegal activities, decides to rob from his criminal bosses and has to go on the run. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before – except for Grigris himself. Playing a fictionalised interpretation of himself, dancer Soulémane Démé is a performer like no other. With an unexplained disability meaning his left leg is withered down to a slender stalk, Grigris is a human rubber band, able to bend himself in unimaginable ways as he gesticulates his flailing form with incredible skill on the dance floor. Démé’s physical performance is what makes the film work, in addition to some solid nighttime cinematography and an unexpectedly feminist ending.

Jaws was playing at the cinema on the beach, but I decided to call it a day then. Waiting for my train, an unexpected (and unwarranted) blitzkrieg of fireworks erupted over Cannes, deafening everyone for miles around. No doubt they cut into the enjoyment of Jaws a little.

The next morning I woke bright and early for another 8.30am screening. At this stage of the festival it had become embarrassingly clear that despite my expectations of drowning in movies at the festival, my batting average was only two a day. Today was going to be different, I thought, as I grabbed a petit déjeuner of a croissant and a bag of Haribo crocodiles and waited for my train.

Seated in the Grand Théâtre Lumière there was a huge amount of excitement in the air for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, his follow-up to Drive. There had been rumours slamming around Cannes the previous days that a gaggle of Danish press had seen a preview and been heartily unimpressed. Now was our chance to finally find out.

Well, yeah, they were right. Even more visually stylish than Drive, Only God Forgives also has less plot, character or purpose. A convoluted revenge tale set in Bangkok, Ryan Gosling stars as Ryan Gosling playing Ryan Gosling, a drug dealer who comes up against an unstoppable and vicious police chief who allowed Gosling’s brother to be killed in custody. Very little happens, and very little is said, other than Kristin Scott Thomas talking at length about her sons’ genitalia. It may be gorgeous to look at, but it’s very little else. As the credits rolled, rapturous applause and blistering boos rose into the air and collided like at the battle of the bands in Scott Pilgrim.

It was straight out of that into a rescreening of Behind the Candelabra for me. Soderbergh’s purposed final film is a superbly judged if straightforward drama anchored by excellent performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. It’s Rob Lowe who steals the show however in his brief appearances. American audiences with HBO can enjoy it almost straight away, as it airs on Sunday night. At the cost of new Game of Thrones, however. Surely that’s too great a price to pay…

My closest shave of Cannes 2013 thus far came shortly after as I was hanging around the American Pavilion, chatting to some staff there about how disappointing we all felt Only God Forgives had been. ‘I thought the music was great at least,’ conceded one woman of Cliff Martinez’s score, to which I agreed, but added that it sounded like leftover tracks from Drive. We moved onto another topic altogether, but only just in time, as Cliff Martinez walked into the pavilion and straight through our conversation. Being a critic at Cannes can be very dangerous sometimes. You never know who is listening, or lurking around the next corner.

My third film of the day was to be Wakolda, showing in Un Certain Regard. Seemingly a rather pretty but standard Argentinian period piece, about a family opening a hotel in 1960, it takes a turn for the disturbing when their first guest turns out to be Josef Mengele, the real-life Auschwitz physician, and he takes a creepy interest in the family’s youngest daughter and her mother’s in-utero twins. A little slow moving, it is still a solid drama with some terrific imagery, most notably a doll factory where perfect blonde plastic girls are lined up on shelves while mangled and burned defected dolls lie crumpled in a heap on the floor.

Absent for a few days, the rains came back a vengeance, bringing with them the familiar sights of dampened tuxes and umbrella salesmen all down the promenade. With time to spare to grab some food,  I checked out the Armenian kebab joint everyone had been telling me about, and was not left disappointed. If there’s anything you miss while at Cannes, it’s eating remotely healthily.

Hiking back to the Palais in the rain, I shared a knowing, damp look with Michael Cera as his entourage umbrella’d him through the town. When I got back to Salle Debussy, I realised I had made an enormous error of judgement. The three-hour La Vie d’Adèle (Blue Is the Warmest Colour) was having its press screening and with the rain and its length I had assumed there would be little demand or queue for it. I could not have been more wrong. Apparently people really like their three-hour lesbian sex dramas.

Who knew?

Rejected from my second film of the festival, I had no choice but to join some friends for drinks in a local Irish pub, the unfortunately named Ma Nolan’s, where pints were a preposterous €6.70. If it can happen at Cannes, it can happen anywhere.

No, wait, scrap that! You’d never pay €6.70 for a pint at the Galway Film Fleadh. That’s some serious bullshit right there!

Still to come, Alexander Payne, Jim Jarmusch and Roman Polanski all have new films to show, and now that everyone and their mother is hailing La Vie d’Adèle as the first true masterpiece of the festival, I suppose I’ll have to block off some time to catch that now too.

It’s all fun and games until somebody misses a film.


Check out David Neary’s previous diary entries:

Cannes Diary: Days 4-6
David Neary dons his debs tux, fumes at French teens and survives on the Cannes diet and nap regime.

Cannes Diary: Days 2-3
David Neary eavesdrops on the Danish, gets berated by a Mexican, shares a boat with Metallica and hangs out with three of a decade’s worth of celebrity crushes. It’s tough in Cannes…

Cannes Diary: Day 1
David Neary brushes shoulders with the stars and an umbrella salesman at Cannes.


Interview: Conor Barry


The 14th edition of Producers on the Move will be held during the Cannes Film Festival ( 18-21 May). Since its launch 14 years ago, Producers on the Move has brought 270 producers together over four days during Cannes and aims to lay the foundation for future collaborations at round table meetings and co-production lunches. This year 29 producers from 29 different European countries will take part in the event. Among them is Irish producer Conor Barry.

Conor graduated from the IADT in Dun Laoghaire (the National Film School). He has worked very closely with the writer/director – Brendan Muldowney over the years, producing his IFTA award-winning feature film Savage, and eight short films including Innocence and The Ten Steps. He has also produced two IFTA-nominated documentaries In Sunshine or in Shadow and Gualainn le Gualann (w/d – Andrew Gallimore). He is currently producing the feature film Love Eternal (w/d – Brendan Muldowney) with Morgan Bushe and Macdara Kelleher in Fastnet Films and is serving as the Irish co-producer on Simon Pummell’s transmedia project Brand New-U and is now in advanced development on Muldowney’s next project Pilgrimage.

Conor co-founded SP Films, an award winning Dublin-based film production company, with Brendan Muldowney, with the aim of developing and producing feature films for an international audience.

Niamh Creely caught up with Conor just before he headed off to Cannes as this year’s Irish Producer on the Move.


You must be very pleased to be selected as one of the 25 Producers on the Move at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.


Yes. Producers on the Move is obviously a great brand and it gives me a tremendous opportunity to pitch some of the projects I’m involved with and also to get to hear about the projects all those other Producers on the Move have as well.


I was reading what it entails and it sounds great –lots of networking and also getting a chance to meet Producers on the Move from previous years.


Yes, and I know for a fact that an awful lot of Producers on the Move end up working together and that is again a great opportunity to put the projects in the shop window.


How does the selection process work?


I think in each country the film board or whatever selects a particular producer, and I was lucky enough to be selected by the Irish Film Board this year.


I read that it has to be someone who has done some work on an international film already.


Love Eternal was a co-production with Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland and Japan and also we’ve just finished shooting another co-production with the UK and the Netherlands, Brand New-U, directed by Simon Pummell.


Love Eternal is based on a novel and directed by Brendan Muldowney – can you tell us a little about it? I see you’re working with Fastnet Films – how did that connection come about?


Love Eternal is a Fastnet Films project. Macdara Kelleher, the MD of Fastnet, was at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and he came across a treatment of a novel by a Japanese author Kei Ôishi called Loving The Dead. The book is quite dark but has a heart to it and he contacted both of us in relation to that. We loved the material and have been developing it since 2008.


I noticed that the Dutch production company Rinkel Film, who worked with Fastnet Films on The Other Side of Sleep, are involved with Love Eternal – is that how that connection came about?


Funnily enough the Producer on the Move in 2008 was Macdara Kelleher and Reinier Selen of Rinkel Film was the Dutch Producer on the Move in the same year  – and out of that came a project Nothing Personal, which was led by Rinkel Film, and that was the start of a relationship on several projects between Fastnet Films and Rinkel Film – Nothing Personal,  The Other Side of Sleep and Love Eternal. Coincidentally Brand New-U, which is done through SP Films – myself and Brendan’s company – our Dutch co-producer on that is Rinkel Film. So there’s connections there alright!


You also attended the EAVE 2010 European Producers Workshop and the ACE Producers Network as well – so you’ve been using all these opportunities that have arisen.


Totally. In this day and age your natural networks are probably the most important thing. You just can’t finance a film through one country or through one partner;  you need multiple partners – and EAVE 2010 and ACE and, to a certain extent hopefully Producers on the Move allow producers to be able to engage with talent in each other’s countries in a very natural manner. The whole purpose of EAVE and ACE is to get to know people over a period of time and it becomes a very natural process rather than  just showing each other projects or becoming  attached to one or just looking for advice. It gets rid of all those borders… in your headspace anyway.


Making it more of a human connection…




You’ve had a long-term creative partnership with Brendan Muldowney. How did that begin?


We were in film school together, doing the degree in Dún Laoghaire College  IADT now. His graduate short film was called The Church of Acceptance and that was screened at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival a very prestigious festival and we just kicked on from there doing a number of short films together and moving on into features with Savage.


For people who want to get into film would you say your route was ‘textbook’ – going to college; making short films…


You know, I hate reducing it to a game but sometimes it’s like Snakes and Ladders – and I’ve definitely never taken the elevator; it’s always one step at a time. It’s what I would call a well-worn traditional path – doing a Filmbase course, or some film-related course, using that to get a portfolio together to allow you to get into film school, then making a graduate film, and then using that film to get into festivals and then kicking on in terms of various different short-film funding awards and then gradually developing into features – very much one step at a time. It’s good to know that there is some sort of a route out there – but it’s a long-term route and a lot of work.


So what’s the plan for Cannes?


I’ll be there from the 17th to the 22nd with John Keville, my producing partner at SP Films  and as usual we will be pushing the projects we have and also keeping our ears open for anyone who’s looking to speak to us about other projects.








Irish feature competes for Palme d’Or

This year, the Cannes programme will see an Irish co-production competing for the coveted Palme d’Or. Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place, starring Sean Penn and Francis McDormand was filmed in Ireland and was developed with Irish company, Element Pictures.

The film tells the story of a bored, retired rock star who sets out to find his father’s executioner – an ex-Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the U.S.

The Cannes Film Festval will take place 11–22 May 2011. For more information on the line up visit www.festival-cannes.com