The Cork Film Festival was originally designed as a part of An Tóstal, a series of regional festivals held to celebrate Irish life and culture. An Tóstal was inaugurated in 1953 and continued on until 1958 when is was canceled in most cities and towns except Drumshanbo. The Cork Film Festival, however, was not discontinued. Over the years, it has become one of Cork's biggest cultural events.
The program of the festival features a variety of films, from big-budget blockbusters to independent films. The festival also screens documentaries and short films from different countries. However, its still focuses on showcasing Irish films. The Cork Film Festival hosts a competition, but there are also non-competitive and special screenings. They take place in a variety of theaters across Cork. All major festival events such as galas and the awards ceremony are held at Cork Opera House which has the capacity of 1,000 spectators.
As we've already mentioned, the Cork Film Festival is a competitive festival. It has three juries (International Jury, Irish Jury and Documentary Jury) which consist of established filmmakers, film producers, critics and other industry professionals. The International Jury awards the Spirit of the Festival Award (Gradam Spiorad na Fhéile) and the Grand Prix International Award. The festival's international Grand Prix is Academy Awards qualifying. One of the films is also nominated for the European Film Academy Award.
The Irish Jury awards the Grand Prix Irish (also Academy Awards Qualifying) and the CorkShorts Award. The Documentary Jury gives out the Grand Prix Documentary Award and the Spirit of the Festival Documentary Award.
In 2015, the Cork Film Festival launched the inaugural Talent Development Campus. It's an educational program designed to support emerging filmmakers. More than 50 film professionals from over 15 different countries participated in this intensive training and networking program, learning from industry experts from Ireland, the United Kingdom, other European countries, and the USA. The campus featured a wide range of topics, from financing and marketing to digital technologies and innovations.
Photo by corkfilmfest.org