The twelfth annual Clones Film Festival was held over the October bank holidayweekend, and the border town saw a huge influx of visitors for this very successful event.
The festival kicked off on Thursday night in the Courthouse with a wine reception and the official opening which was performed by Brian Deane, director of the opening night film, Volkswagen Joe. The Courthouse was packed and the audience was riveted by the film which was shot in Cavan during the summer. It was preceded by The Gloaming, a short horror by Sean Smith and Lauren Murphy, who attended the event. The Gloaming may be short, but it sure packs a punch and had everyone on the edge of their seats.
James Sheerin, chairman of Clones Film Festival, thanked the many supporters and sponsors of the festival, particularly Monaghan County Council, Clones Town Council, The Courts Serv ice, The Arts Council, Clones Credit Union, and Supervalu Clones.
This year’s festival had a very strong programme and screenings took place in three different venues throughout the town. The old Post Office was transformed into a quirky box office and screenings took place in the old sorting office. The Courthouse was adapted into a cinema and the Cinemobile took up its usual position on the Diamond for the duration of the festival. There were large numbers and many full houses for the diverse range of documentaries and features which were shown.
Particularly popular films were Jump which was shown on Friday night and which features Monaghan actress Charlene McKenna and Fermanagh’s Ciarán McMenamin in a fast-paced densely plotted film set in Derry. The film was introduced by Ciarán and was followed by a Q&A session.
Friday also saw big interest in the late night scary movie, The Conjuring, which had the thrill seeking audience cowering behind their seats and was a very appropriate choice for the Halloween season!
The Irish Pub
Saturday night saw a full house in the Cinemobile for the first festival screening of The Irish Pub, a funny and touching portrait of family pubs in Ireland. Featuring local legend, the late Annie Mc Ginn, this was a feel good documentary that had the crowd falling of their chairs with laughter. Director Alex Fegan took questions from the audience following the screening and was delighted with the very warm reception that the film received.
The short film The Note, starring Ruth Mc Cabe and Aiden Gillen, was also shown on Saturday night to a huge audience. The director Ciaran Creagh attended and took questions at the end.
True Confessions of a Film Editor
The festival was delighted to host an editing masterclass with Sean Mackenzie, double BAFTA winning editor, and Fergal McGrath a UK-based Irish film editor. This gave the extremely enthusiastic participants the opportunity to gain insight into the cutting room dynamics in an informal and intimate environment.
The younger generation were very well catered for with a number of films which drew large crowds of kids. Adventures in Zambezia an animated film from South Africa proved just the ticket on a wild and wet Saturday morning! One Direction: This is Us was totally sold out on Saturday afternoon and Sunday’s Studio Ghibli offering – the Japanese film From up on Poppy Hill also proved popular.
CFF Festival Club
A new departure for the festival saw the Festival Club relocated to Adamson’s Bar on Analore Street. Live musical offerings gave film goers a chance to let their hair down and have a dance to some absolutely electric acts. Felix Sonny Boy Wilson, street minstrel and poet played a chilled out set on Opening Night. Friday saw the ten-piece extravaganza of ‘Attencion Bebe” who played funked-up reggaed out versions of ninety’s classic to a packed dance floor. Saturday night was Hacienda night, and for the seventh consecutive year at the Film Festival, this Clones duo worked their magic and had the dance floor hopping. Sunday night featured the well known Jinx Lennon who was followed by DJ ShOhk who played the festival to a close with set that had the exhausted patrons rocking into the small hours.
The Village at the End of the World
Editor on this wonderfully poignant and uplifting documentary, Russell Crockett, was in attendance on Sunday afternoon in the Courthouse to introduce his work. The audience were hugely enthusiastic about this piece which features a small community living in a remote village in Greenland and the threat they face of the closure of the local fish factory.
Life’s a Breeze
The Cinemobile was full again on Sunday afternoon for Pat Shortt’s recent feature Life’s a Breeze.
The Francie Awards
The Francie Awards on Sunday evening was the booked out affair that we have come to expect. There was standing room only in the Courthouse once again as awards were presented to winners of the two categories in the short film competition – best fiction / experimental short and best documentary short. For best fiction / experimental short, the ‘Francie’ went to Martin de Barra’s Atrophy, which starred Pat Deery, and the winner in the short documentary category was Capturing Our Capital by Rebecca Bermingham.
Coveted ‘Francie’ awards were also presented to the best film as voted by the jury and the audience favourite in the 48 Hour Short Film Challenge which was once again run in association with Clones Credit Union. Danny Butler and his team picked up the jury award for the excellent No Strings Attached and local producer Mairead Ni Threinfir scooped the audience prize for A Suitable Candidate.
The judges this year were four guest editors who travelled from London for the CFF weekend and in particular to host the editing masterclass: Fergal McGrath, Sean Mackenzie, Russell Crockett and David Fairhead. They praised the standard of the films and the atmosphere of the festival which they said beat London Film Festival hands down.
So you heard it here folks: book your tickets for next year’s CFF which is only fifty one weeks away!
Pictures by Eugene T. Hamill Photography.