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43rd Murphy's Cork Film Festival
22 Oct 1998 :

The 43rd Cork Film Festival ran from October 11th - 18th this year with a very strong Irish line up which included 13 feature films, 8 documentaries and over 50 short films. The opening feature was 'Divorcing Jack', with the stars of the film Jason Isaacs, Laine Megaw and director David Caffrey in attendance. The Documentary Panorama centre-piece was 'Francis Barrett - Southpaw'. The 'Focus On' tribute looked at the Emmy award-winning Hummingbird Productions formed through the partnership of director Philip King and Producer Nuala O'Connor who, over the past ten years, have established an international reputation with a range of music based documentaries.

This year saw the launch of UnReel, a stand-alone festival for school groups and young people, under Education Officer Edie Demas, which featured screenings and workshops and was a huge success, with all screenings subscribed weeks in advance. One of the main highlights of the festival was 'Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans', the silent classic by F.W. Murnau, which was presented in the Cork Opera House with live musical accompaniment by the Cine-Chimera Orchestra, under the leadership of Richard McLaughlin and performing his new score for the film.

The Irish Film Board had 7 new fiction films, two documentaries and three Irish language shorts, which were funded by the board and screened at the festival. The fiction films were 'Sweety Barrett' written and directed by Stephen Bradley and starring Brendan Gleeson; 'Pete's Meteor' directed by Joe O'Byrne and starring Mike Myers, John Kavanagh and Brenda Fricker; 'Crush Proof' directed by Paul Tickell; 'Night Train' directed by John Lynch and starring John Hurt; 'Just in Time' directed by John Carney and Tom Hall; 'Double Carpet' written and directed by Mark Kilroy. In New Documentaries the board supported 'Francis Barrett - Southpaw', 'The Gambler' and 'Chiapas'. Three Irish language dramas were shown from the Oscailt scheme, a joint venture between the Irish Film Board and TnaG; 'Lipservice', 'Cosa Nite' and 'Aqua'. 'An exhibition of Irish Film Board Posters' at the Triskel Arts Centre during the festival demonstrated the proliferation of film making in Ireland with over 40 film included.

With a strong line-up the festival attracted large crowds and the box-office is up on last years record-breaking 54,000. 'Angela's Ashes was shooting in Cork during the festival and the stars of the film Robert Carlisle and Emily Watson were persuaded to present the awards on the final night of the festival.

The National Jury Awards went to:

The Claire Lynch Award for Best First Short Film:- 'Seven Day's 'Til Sunday' directed by Patrick Jolley. A morbid slapstick of seven image sequences in which the characters fall through a cityscape towards annihilation by fire, water and gravity .

Best Irish Short Film:- 'Patterns' directed by Kirsten Sheridan. Jimmy and Tommy are inseparable brothers. Tommy who is older is autistic and lives in a world of patterns his mind has created. Jimmy is a visitor to this honest world and falls into the rhythm.

The Audience Award for Best Irish Short Film:- 'Lipservice' by Paul Mercier. Part of the Oscailt Irish language series 'Lipservice' is set on the day of the oral Irish exam in a North Dublin school when everone is trying to speak a language they don't communicate in. Students are learning Irish phrases by the dozen hoping some of it will make sense.

The Examiner Award for the best 'Made in Cork' film:- 'Identity' directed by Jon Patrick. Guns, drugs, aggression and sex. Identity speedballs through Ed's metaphoric life with an amateur documentary crew who don't know when to stop. Ed works as an armoury for films with director, Jimmy and scriptwriter, Anne. He is the dynamic force behind their action blockbusters but Ed's real ammunition is the truth.

Special Commendations

'Cell' directed by Audrey Concannon
'Lipservice' directed by Paul Mercier
'Roots and Wings' directed by Audrey O'Reilly
'Saoirse' directed by Brendan J. Byrne
'They Also Serve' directed by Marin Fulgosi

The International Jury Awards went to:

Best Black & White Film:- 'The Letter' directed by Michel Gondry (France). It's December, 1999 and Stephane, 13, talks with her brother Jerome, about the end of the millenium, his worries, girls and, in particular, Aurelie, the girl he loves.

Best Black & White Cinematography:- 'Hell For Leather' directed by Dominik Scherrer (Switzerland). 'Hell For Leather' is a frenzied leather and oil spectacular, a bike-opera which reinterprets the story of Satan's rebellion and his subsequent banishment to hell.

Best European Short Film:- 'Guy's Dog' directed by Rory Bresnihan (Ireland). A dark comic model animation about a dog with a problem. He thinks he's a man trapped in a dog's body, but nobody understands him. He's got to come up with a solution!

Best International Short Film:- 'Tears' directed by Ivan Sen (Australia). A teenage couple out to discover a new life are reminded of the influences they are leaving behind while walking along an isolated road to the bus stop. Ultimately faced with their decision, they struggle to confront thier different futures.

Special Commendations

'The Hole' directed by Brian Challis (New Zealand)
'My Bed Your Bed' directed by Erica Glynn (Australia)
'A Regular Thing' directed by Louise Anderson (Denmark)
'Shelter' directed by Diego Panich (Argentina)

Michael McMahon 22/10/98

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