Review of Irish Film @ Cork Film Festival 2019: Irish Shorts 4: Finding Their Place

Aoife O’Ceallachain went along to the Irish Shorts 4: Finding Their Place to find some great filmmakers and films with characters seeking acceptance, vindication, assurance or literally accommodation.

 

On the afternoon of Thursday the 14th of November, I went along to the fourth instalment of Irish Shorts at the Gate Cinema. Under the title ‘Finding Their Place’, this collection of films showcases characters dealing with homelessness, feeling trapped and trying to find their purpose. The programme proved to be a showcase for some great emerging talent and I left the cinema excited about all the work these filmmakers are going to make in the future. For anyone looking to get involved in the film industry, going to shorts is a great place to start. You get a sense of the other work out there and you’ll start to see the same names come up again and again. It really opened my eyes to the talent we have, and the talent we as a nation have to nourish. With that said, I want to draw attention to a few shorts that caught my eye. 

 

Humblebrag

Sinead O’Shea / Ireland / 2019 / 4 mins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humblebrag had the biggest audible reaction. Directed by Sinead O’Shea (A Mother Brings her Son to Be Shot) we see a man and woman sit down on a sofa, where he shows her a montage he’s made of their relationship. It starts off normal enough, showing clips of her at gigs, on dates, at Electric Picnic and at the funfair. But the content starts to get darker, more annoyed, past the phase of pretence. Have to say it was too graphic for me at 6 o’clock on a Thursday – I just wasn’t expecting to see POV porn. But I guess the unexpected is part of the fun. At only 4 minutes it certainly packs a punch, best saved for after the watershed. 

 

Rosalyn

Olivia J Middleton / UK, Ireland / 2019 / 18 mins

Winner of Best Cork Film, Olivia J. Middleton’s Rosalyn is a psychological horror about a farmer who is expecting a child. As the delivery date looms, Rosalyn starts to see a disturbing figure coming out of the woods; animals become scared of her. Is Rosalyn imagining all this or are malevolent forces at play? Tackling themes of isolation, mental health during pregnancy and the expectations of motherhood, the film manages to teeter between delusion and reality. With influences of Jennifer Kent’s Babadook, Middleton’s haunting film leaves a lot to the imagination and inspired great discussion after the credits.  

 

In Orbit

Katie McNeice / Ireland / 2019 / 17 mins

Directed, written, produced and edited by Katie McNeice, In Orbit is a sci-fi short set in the 2050s. Maura, a retired optician is asked to describe the best experience of her life for the Human Experience Records. Maura recalls how she had never had a relationship, and how it altered the way she viewed the world. But that all changed in her forties, when she met Amy. Ultimately, In Orbit is about taking chances and opening your heart to new experiences, no matter how scared you are. Maura’s memories of the marriage equality referendum capture the gravity of the moment as a change for Ireland, further reflected in the futuristic technology of the 2050s. Composer Emer Kinsella brings great atmosphere to the film and elevates it to another level. I personally can’t wait to see what McNeice brings out next.

 

The Irish Shorts 4: Finding Their Place programme screened on Saturday, 9th November 2019  as part of the Cork Film Festival (7 – 17 November 2019).

 

 

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Award Winners Announced for the 64th Cork Film Festival

Ciúnas (Silence)’, winner of the Grand Prix Irish Short. Tristan Heanue accepts the award from Colm Crowley, Head of RTE Cork

Documentary short Horse Riders has won the inaugural Academy Awards® qualifying of Grand Prix Documentary Short Award at the 64th Cork Film Festival this evening (17 November). The film, directed by Anna Gawlita, now joins the longlist for the Academy Awards® in 2021. This brings to three Academy Awards® qualifying awards at the Cork Film Festival, the only film festival in Ireland to have this trio. The awards were presented ahead of the Closing Night Gala at the Everyman, with the Irish premiere of The Other Lamb, directed by Małgorzata Szumowska.

The Festival’s further Academy Awards® qualifying award, the Grand Prix Irish Short Award, went to Tristan Heanue’s Ciúnas (Silence). Proudly presented by RTÉ, Principal Media Partner of the Cork Film Festival, the award was presented by Colm Crowley, Head of RTÉ Cork. Also qualifying for the Academy Awards® in 2021, Stalker, directed by Christopher Andrews took home the Grand Prix International Short Award.

Cork Film Festival Director and CEO Fiona Clark said: “As Ireland’s only film festival to present three Academy Awards® qualifying awards, we are delighted to announce Anna Gawlita’s Horse Riders as the winner of the Grand Prix Documentary Short Award at the 64th Cork Film Festival. It is an exceptional documentary short and one that is thoroughly deserving of being longlisted for an Oscar®. The eye-catching film tells the story of an annual horse pilgrimage in a Polish village, an old regional tradition being kept alive in southern Poland.

“Tristan Heanue’s Irish-language short film Ciúnas (Silence) took home the second Academy Awards® qualifying award, the Grand Prix Irish Short Award, and is the winner of the €1,500 prize fund. It is a stunning film about a couple who embark on a journey in the midst of a family crisis. Stalker, directed by Christopher Andrews, was awarded the Grand Prix International Short Award, our third Academy Awards® qualifying award. Set in the remote forests of the Scottish Highlands, the film sets the scene of an ageing stalker as he goes up against a young poacher who is taking the heads off his best stags.”

Commenting on the Awards, Fiona added: “Cork Film Festival’s awards demonstrate our commitment to presenting and celebrating excellence in filmmaking, championing new and emerging voices, as well as established filmmakers. The Festival embraces features and short film with equal respect, and as a growing destination for feature documentaries as well as narrative work, we pride ourselves as the platform to showcase the very best of Irish and international film in Ireland. Our Awards Ceremony honours the diverse talent presented during the 64th Cork Film Festival and this year’s winning films exemplify the quality and diversity we have showcased. We are delighted to close out the Festival with the Irish premiere of new Irish drama, The Other Lamb, a film supported by Screen Ireland, and the English-language debut of director Małgorzata Szumowska, one of the most thrilling emerging voices in world cinema.”

The Audience Award, presented by The River Lee, Principal Accommodation Partner, was won by The Last Right, written and directed by Aoife Crehan. Directorial debut, and World Premiere at the 64th Cork Film Festival, this comedy-drama follows New York-based Daniel Murphy who ends up being tasked with bringing the body of someone he barely knows home for burial.

The Gradam Spiorad Na Féile / Spirit of The Festival Award, proudly presented by The Gate Cinema, Principal Venue Partner, went to Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ directorial debut Swallow. This film depicts the struggle a young housewife and the increasing pressures of perfection as she begins to consume dangerous objects in an attempt to take back control.

The Gradam Na Féile Do Scannáin Faisnéise / Award for Cinematic Documentary was awarded to Feras Fayyad’s exceptional film, The Cave, which presents a harrowing account of one woman’s efforts to provide medical care in war-ravaged Syria. The impact of this important film on audiences is further reflected in it being awarded the Cork Film Festival Youth Jury Award, the second time for Feras Fayyad (‘Last Men in Aleppo’, CFF 2017).

The Cork Film Festival Short Film Candidate for the 2020 European Film Awards is Things That Happen in the Bathroom, directed by Edward Hancox. This short film explores issues relating to loneliness, sexual insecurities and expectations.

Other prize winners announced at the Awards ceremony, which was hosted by master of ceremonies, Dave Mac Ardle (RedFM), included the award for the Best Cork Short, proudly presented by Media Partner RedFM, which was won by Olivia J Middleton for her film, Rosalyn, a compelling horror that explores the fragility of mental health during pregnancy.

The award for Best Director: Irish Short, supported by Screen Directors’ Guild Ireland, went to Michael-David McKernan, for his short film Halo. A single-take film, this short tells the tale of a lonely taxi driver who takes drastic action to protect a passenger from heartbreak.

Speaking on the 64th Cork Film Festival, Fiona Clark stated: “It has been an exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring 11 days of stunning film here in Cork. The breadth and quality of the programme, with over 300 films and 63 countries represented, has made this year’s Festival an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

“With 20,000 people attending this year’s Festival, we look forward to building on this success in 2020, our 65th anniversary, and beyond, and would like to thank all our funders, sponsors, partners, friends, jurors, filmmakers and audience who together make Cork Film Festival possible.”

 

List of Winners:

  • Ciúnas (Silence), directed by Tristan Heanue — Grand Prix Irish Short Award, Proudly supported by RTÉ
  • Stalker, directed by Christopher Andrews — Grand Prix International Short Award
  • Horse Riders, directed by  Anna Gawlita — Grand Prix Documentary Short Award
  • The Last Right, directed by Aoife Crehan — Audience Award, Presented by The River Lee
  • The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad — Gradam na Féile do Scannáin Faisnéise (Award for Cinematic Documentary)
  • Swallow, directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis — Gradam Spiorad na Féile (Spirit of the Festival Award), Presented by The Gate Cinema
  • Things That Happen in the Bathroom, directed by Edward Hancox — Cork Film Festival Candidate for the European Film Awards 2020
  • Rosalyn, directed by Olivia J Middleton — Best Cork Short Award, Presented by Red FM
  • Michael-David McKernan, director of Halo — Best Director: Irish Short, Supported by Screen Directors Guild Ireland
  • The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad — Cork Film Festival Youth Jury Award.
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