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MA Student Experience Blog

Blog. My First Experience at the Cork Film Festival, In Sum

18 Nov 2018
Cork International Film Festival 2018

The week of the Cork International Film Festival was one of the busiest, most exciting, and most rewarding weeks I have ever had...

In addition to seeing a myriad of films from both Ireland and abroad, I met many members of the film industry including writers, producers, directors, editors, and journalists. Cork buzzed with cinematic energy and excitement as the city filled with new artists and tourists, and I was able to see at least one film every day. Many of these screenings were accompanied by Q&A sessions with directors, so audiences were able to learn not only from the films but from the artists behind them.

The festival also fostered an open, friendly atmosphere in which I felt comfortable approaching directors after seeing their films. We chatted about their artistic and thematic choices, exchanged contact information, and, in some cases, even went out for lunch or coffee. I also attended a networking event hosted by Women in Film and Television Ireland, where I met Darya Zhuk, director of Crystal Swan, and was welcomed into circles of friends and colleagues with open arms.

I was also impressed by the number and variety of films shown at the festival. In addition to those I have previously written about, I had the chance to see Arantxa Echevarría’s Carmen & Lola, Miwako van Weyenberg’s Zomerregen, and Sidney Olcott’s 1923 Little Old New York. I felt particularly privileged to have attended the closing gala of the festival, which screened Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum. The film addresses the refugee crisis in much of the Middle East and Africa, and confronts the tragic consequences of poverty on families and children. Serendipitously, I found myself sitting beside Henrika Kull, the director of Jibril, who remembered me from the earlier screening of her film. This further reinforced my positive impression of the Cork Film Festival as a place of networking and artistic expression.

Another screening that stands out in my memory was that of Little Old New York. Like Nosferatu, Little Old New York was part of the festival’s tradition of Cine-Concerts, in which a silent film is played with live accompaniment. Morgan Cooke provided the musical accompaniment on the piano and harp, and introduced the film with an interactive segment in which he taught the audience to sing the film’s main melody. He then encouraged us to sing along together both before and during the film. My sense of awe as we all interacted with the film in unison, while watching it in the historic Triskel Christchurch Arts Centre (, sums up my memorable experience in attending the festival on the whole. The Cork International Film Festival is a welcoming, community-based celebration of art and cinema, and is a fantastic opportunity to meet artists, learn about film, and explore a myriad of cultures through cinema.

Department of Film and Screen Media

Scannánaíocht agus Meáin Scáileán

O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Ireland