The sun was blazing down on the River Lee as we drove into Cork City yesterday afternoon and it seemed to be the perfect omen to kick off our annual visit to one of Ireland’s most cultural cities and the 58th Cork Film Festival. First stop was the guest offices where we caught up with old friends, most especially Dawn McAllister and Ruby Moore who always treat us like American royalty, and got the inside scoop on festival and industry happenings we didn’t already have on our agenda. After posing for a jet lag picture to post on the “look who’s in Cork” wall we turned and there was the new festival director James Mullighan who was absolutely charming and most welcoming.
Not wanting to miss a single Irish film we have a quick dinner and then headed to The Pavilion for a screening of Luno Valleti’s The Invention of Failure…both the film and the space were quite interesting, the film a huge montage of vintage clips showcasing mankind’s missteps accompanied by live music and the space an old movie house broken into a bar and a dance club, strobe lights and all…we were warned. Then it was off to a midnight screening at Triskel Christchurch for a midnight screening of Marina DeVan’s Dark Touch a film that brings to mind Carrie and Firestarter featuring some brilliant special affects and acting by its young stars with absolutely no shortage of blood curdling screams and curdling blood. A good first day and no shortage of nightmare producing images…thank goodness for jet lag.
This morning we were in our seats for the 10 am screening of Colin Downey’s The Shadows, a small budget, but well executed, revamping of an old Scottish fairy tale by George Macdonald about a witched queen and the shadow people that help keep her evil designs in check over the centuries. Although the film may not have the rapid action and techno wizardry of most of today’s children’s films it was still really enjoyable and well received by the 100+ Jr. high students we viewed it with. Their Q&A after the screening with the director certainly proved that it held their attention and they were very interested in learning about “green screen” filming and the make-up used to create some of the characters.
The day is ending on high note with the first of eight shorts programs…tonight will be Cork Shorts I and we are very excited as always to see what’s new in a city that seems to have a young filmmaker standing on every corner. So we are off to grab a pint and hopefully snag the first of many great Irish shorts for our fest.
Back tomorrow with another festival update and hopefully a few films in hand.