The short’s program began last night with a proper kick off at City Hall and greetings from the Lord Mayor of Cork, the festival chairman, Denis McSweeney and James Mullighan the new festival director. The event really served to highlight just how important a place shorts have at the festival not the least being sold out screenings and great networking opportunities for filmmakers and producers especially with one of the festival’s new sponsors, Vimeo, with one of their reps serving on the Grand Prix Irish jury. On a minor note, the festival is also a platform for winning shorts to screen in the EU and then Academy Award submissions. All eight of the short Irish films that have been short listed, nominated or ultimately won (Martin McDonagh’s Six Shooter(2004) and Terry George’s The Shore(20012) all screened in Cork, so the bar has been set quite high and its no surprise the first group to screen did not disappoint.
The first program was Cork Shorts, all the films were produced in Cork, that have had a remarkable evolution since their inclusion into the festival about more than a decade ago. Without casting aspersions on past entries this year’s entries are really remarkable on every level from production values, to story line and acting. There were thirteen presented and few of our favorites were from filmmakers that have screened in Chicago in the past and as is always the case some new discoveries. On the heals of the brilliantly animated Daitha Agus Golaith (David and Goliath) by animator, Gerald O’Brien which screened at last year’s fest comes, The Scumbagnetic Effect, a wickedly funny animated film that “looks at the nature of bad behavior in Irish society” from the ASBO to bankers; looking forward to O’Brien’s take in obsessive social media users. Relationships have been the core of Mark Cogan’s series of three friends that started with Heart and Partly Cloudy and ends with The Handsome Shadows which was filled with pathos and a subtle reminder that we can’t control things happening, but with good friends we get by and move on.