Long running film festival goes 100% digital #COVID #AdaptingToCOVID

18 October 2020
By Mary Bermingham

65th Cork International Film Festival Pivots to Fully Digital 2020 Programme

Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) confirms a full programme of 50 features and documentaries, 14 programmes of shorts and special events, for its Digital-exclusive Festival, 8th-15th November.

Cork International Film Festival fully intended to present a blended physical and digital Festival in November; however, following the Government’s announcement on 14th October to extend Level 3+ restrictions nationwide to 10th November, and therefore the continued closure of cinemas and travel restrictions, the 65th Cork International Film Festival will now pivot to a fully digital programme for 2020.

Fiona Clark, Festival Director and CEO commented: “While we are disappointed at not being able to present films in a cinema environment, one of the exciting aspects of the reimagined Cork International Film Festival this year is the opportunity to reach audiences nationwide through our new Digital Festival platform, CIFF@Home. 90% of the programme launched on 14th October remains the same and will simply move to online screening, enabling audiences nationwide to watch Irish premieres and to participate in Q&As with filmmakers online, from the comfort of their homes.”

In an imaginative response to the changing environment, the Festival will celebrate its 65th year as Ireland’s first and largest film festival, with an impressive line-up of four world premieres of Irish films, and a special 1920 Commemoration screening of Irish Destiny, together with a full programme of international features and documentaries and shorts, introduced by their directors.

Launching the Digital Festival on Sunday 8th November, 7.30pm, is the 65th Anniversary Gala with new Irish feature The Racer, a fascinating sport-drama which will transport audiences instantly back in time to the Tour de France as it passed through Ireland, including Cork in 1998.

The digital programme features luminaries of the screen and award-winning stars including Willem Defoe in Siberia, Viggo Mortensen in Falling and Paul Mescal in Drifting. In addition, four world premieres of Irish work include Irish Gala feature The Bright Side, Documentary Gala Castro’s Spies, debut feature The Edge of Chaos, and documentary Home is a Sacrifice Zone.

International features by established auteurs such as Philippe Garrel (The Salt of Tears), Ai Weiwei (Vivos) and veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (City Hall), are joined by strong female voices including Zeina Durra (Luxor), Talya Lavie (Honeymood), Jane Magnusson (Maddy the Model) and Caru Alves de Souza (My Name is Baghdad). Irish talent is further celebrated with contemporary features Wildfire and The Castle, alongside timely documentaries, The 8th and The Sheriff.

CIFF2020 Digital Festival runs 9th-15th November, with a number of tentpole events showcasing new Irish work scheduled throughout the week, including: The Sheriff, (9th November at 6pm), Irish Gala, World Premiere The Bright Side (9th November, 8.30pm); Irish Premiere The Edge Of Chaos, (10 November, 6pm); Documentary Gala, World Premiere, Castro’s Spies (10th November, 8.30pm); Irish Premiere, Wildfire, (11th November, 7.30pm); documentary The 8th (12th November, 6pm), and feature The Castle (12th November, 8.30pm); World Premiere, Home Is A Sacrifice Zone, (13th November, 6.30pm) and the Festival’s 1920 Commemoration Gala, Irish Destiny presented with the Irish Film Institute, with support from Cork City Council, (14th November, 7.30pm). All films will be available for the remainder of the Digital Festival.

The Festival’s acclaimed film industry training days, First Take, (Mon 9th November) and Doc Day, (Tuesday 0th November), will be accessible online for free, and CIFF is thrilled to welcome award-winning international filmmaker, activist and philanthropist Abigail Disney as its Doc Day keynote guest. CIFF’s online schools programme includes two French titles for Senior Cycle and a new film and mental health programme, ‘Intinn’, available direct to the classroom.

Whilst a small number of films intended for the physical festival were necessarily cinema exclusives, the Festival hopes to be able to share these with audiences in cinemas at a later date, when venues are permitted to reopen. For now, the entire exciting digital programme is available and on sale now at corkfilmfest.org.

Films will have a 30 hour ‘watch window’, and there are a limited number of tickets per film, so early booking is recommended. An ‘all access’ pass to the whole programme is also available. Download the Festival App to book, and manage tickets and passes. Visit corkfilmfest.org for a helpful list of Q&As to assist with enjoying a tailored Digital Festival experience.

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