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Lyra McKee Doc wins Audience Feature Award as 66th Cork International Film Festival concludes
23 Nov 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Journalist Lyra McKee
Seanie Barron: Only in Askeaton won the Audience Short Award as the 66th Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) wrapped up on Sunday evening following the presentation of a 17 day hybrid programme.

The festival featured in-cinema screenings from Friday 5th to Friday 12th November, followed by a nine-day digital programme available nationwide on corkfilmfest.org from Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st November.

The programme showcased 85 features, including 4 world premieres, alongside 131 Irish and international shorts, and a series of industry and special events, including the stunning cine-concert of Metropolis with commissioned score, the world premiere of Patrick Hough’s The Two Faces of Tomorrow, and major retrospective programme, Female Visions.

Visitors to Cork city centre also enjoyed treasures from CIFF Digital Archive and Irish Costume Archive Project on the ‘Trail of Discovery’. 

We were thrilled to welcome audiences safely and comfortably back into cinemas in Cork city and county, and to extend our exciting programme of films across Ireland via our online Festival,” said CIFF Festival Director and CEO, Fiona Clark. “Over 17 packed days, we were able to share the magic of cinema again, hosting filmmakers and guests in Cork and connecting audiences with filmmakers from across the world online.”

As Ireland’s premier film festival, we congratulate all the CIFF award winners for 2021,” Clark  added. “I am particularly pleased to see our audiences responding to powerful documentaries in their Audience Award choices; Cork prides itself on being a destination for cinematic documentary, and a Festival to discover film, and reimagine the world.”

The 66th Cork International Film Festival Audience Award Winners have been announced, with the Feature Audience Award going to Lyra, directed by Alison Millar, which celebrated the life and work of journalist Lyra McKee.

My amazing team and I are absolutely thrilled to receive Cork International Film Festival's very special Audience Award for our feature documentary, Lyra. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote,” said director Alison Millar. “The film’s purpose was always to share Lyra McKee’s voice and words far and wide, and for the public to have voted for us to win such an incredible accolade within such a strong field means so much and will help to amplify Lyra’s work further.”

The Short Audience Award went to Seanie Barron: Only in Askeaton from director Michael Holly. “Seanie will be as pleased with this Cork Film Festival Audience Award for Short Film, as I am!” said Holly. “I would like to say a huge thank you to Michele Horrigan and Sean Lynch of Askeaton Contemporary Arts who commissioned and produced this short film as part of a series named “Only in Askeaton” about artists and creatives who have been a part of their annual artists residency programme. Also a huge thank you to the legend that is Seanie Barron, and the wonderful audience of the Cork International Film Festival.”

Three Gala presentations represented the best of Irish and international filmmaking. Opening the Festival with contemporary love story, Ali & Ava, by acclaimed director Clio Barnard, the physical part of the Festival concluded on Friday, 12th November with the Awards Gala, Blue Bayou, Justin Chon’s moving story about family, identity and belonging in contemporary USA. Pat Collins’ mesmeric The Dance was this year’s Documentary Gala which followed the creative process of the world-renowned choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan. 

CIFF presented Fritz Lang’s 1927 German expressionist classic, Metropolis as a Special Presentation Cine Concert with a new commissioned score by Cork composers - and sisters - Irene Buckley and Linda Buckley to accompany this iconic silent classic, supported by The Arts Council and the Goethe-Institut Irland. With the support of Cork City Council, CIFF presented its 1921 Commemoration Event, The Last September by Deborah Warner, and the world premiere of Engagement & Endurance: Cork City Women in the 1920s, focusing on the hitherto overlooked role played by Cork women in the events of the 1920s. In partnership with the National Sculpture Factory, CIFF presented the world premiere of The Two Faces of Tomorrow, an experimental documentary-fiction film about algae by renowned visual artist Patrick Hough.

Festival audiences returned safely to multiple screens in Cork city and county, among them,  special guests and dignitaries: President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins who attended the world premiere of The Seven Ages of Noël Browne; An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, and Minister Simon Coveney TD who introduced the premiere screening of Lyra.

The rich and diverse 2021 programme included new strands: Culinary Cinema, Green Screen, Guilty Pleasures, alongside the established Illuminate Film & Mental Health programme, and the Female Visions Retrospective. In addition to Schools’ screenings at the Gate Cinemas, Cork, Midleton and Mallow, CIFF extended its Intinn Youth Film & Mental Health programme online for free to TY students nationwide with a new programme of short films, filmmaker Q&As and wellbeing workshops, supported by UCC and ESB Energy for Generations Fund.

Doc Day Live showcased a career interview with filmmaker Pat Collins ahead of his new feature documentary, The Dance, this year’s Documentary Gala screening. The Festival attracted international participation in its extensive industry events including the keynote address as part of Doc Day online with Sundance award-winning US documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter. Doc Day and First Take are available online worldwide until the end of November on CIFF’s Digital Festival Platform.

The winner of the Gradam Spiorad na Féile (Spirit of the Festival Award), presented by The Gate Cinemas, was awarded to Blue Moon (Crai Nou), directed by Alina Grigore. The Gradam na Féile do Scannáin Faisnéise (Award for Cinematic Documentary) was awarded to This Rain Will Never Stop, directed by Ukrainian documentary filmmaker Alina Gorlova. There was a special mention in this category for A Night of Knowing Nothing directed by Payal Kapadia.

The winner of the Cork International Film Festival Youth Jury Award was awarded to Women Do Cry, directed by Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova. There was a special mention in this category for Wood and Water directed by Jonas Bak.

CIFF 2021 also announced the CIFF2021 Grand Prix Shorts Award Winners. The Grand Prix Irish Short was awarded to An Encounter by Kelly Campbell with a special mention for Fall Of The Ibis King by Josh O’Caoimh and Mikai Geronimo, presented by RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

The Grand Prix International Short was awarded to Fireflies (Vagalumes) by Léo Bittencourt with the Grand Prix Documentary Short awarded to The Eternal Springtime (Mùa Xuân Vĩnh Cửu) by Viêt Vū with special mention for Some Kind Of Intimacy by Toby Bull].

Winners in Cork are Academy Award® qualifying, ensuring that they automatically join the Oscars®’ long-list.

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