Characters of Cork: For cinematic connoisseur approaching 70, 'life remains fascinating'

Mick Hannigan of the IndieCork Film Festival talks to Roisin Burke about life in Cork and his passion for cinema.
Characters of Cork: For cinematic connoisseur approaching 70, 'life remains fascinating'

Mick Hannigan,Co-Director. IndieCork Film Festival. Picture: Darragh Kane.

With a love of film that has become a career, Co-Director of IndieCork Film Festival Mick Hannigan said his passion for cinema began while he studied at University College Cork.

The 69-year-old cinematic connoisseur said purchasing an annual ticket from the UCC Film Society was ‘great value’, with a different film every week.

“For 12 quid your college year was sorted, every Wednesday there was a new film, from classic to foreign language films, you got to see it all.”

Mr Hannigan, who studied literature and philosophy while at UCC, describes himself as a curious soul.

“I’m approaching 70 and life remains fascinating. It’s not all plain sailing, but it’s interesting.”

His daughter Tessa is now studying film at UCC, although Mick insists he didn’t influence her choice.

Living in Gurranbraher, surrounded by a close-knit community, Mick is full of praise for the strong, welcoming, neighbourly spirit that exists in the area.

A man who believes in active travel, Mick can often be seen struggling up Cathedral Road, alongside his bicycle.

“I’m often stopped walking up Cathedral Road with my bike, by people shooting the breeze, looking for a chat, I think it’s lovely.”

Kitted out with panniers, Mick said his city bike was a handy mode of transport.

“It’s clunky and heavy and not great for long country rides, but it suits me, and I would be lost without it.”

As Director of IndieCork, Mick said his lifestyle offers him great freedom and opportunity.

“I’m very privileged to have the opportunity to travel with work, there is a great buzz to meeting new people.”

Asked about his greatest achievement in life, Mick is quick to answer.

“That’s easy to answer. Founding from scratch, with friends and colleagues, the IndieCork Film Festival and for it to hit 10 years this year, despite the refusal of the Irish Arts Council to give us any support. We got a lot of support from other people! We’re a BAFTA recognised festival, with our own identity, attracting film from 96 countries and now a fixture of the Irish film scene. Yeah, I take pride in that.”

Mick said this year is the last year the IndieCork Festival will apply to the Irish Arts Council for funding.

“Our last application was this year, we will never apply again, it is dispiriting, and we should waste our time or theirs.”

Mick said IndieCork caters to a niche cohort, which greatly appreciates the support.

“We get a lot of young and emerging filmmakers who have never before seen their films on the big screen. We fulfil a useful role.”

A man who has seen the world at work for many years, Mick said he lives by a few strong sentiments.

“Never put yourself down and stand up for what you believe in. It’s your duty to do so.”

Mick said there is often pressure in the modern world to keep the head down and the mouth closed but he said from time to time it is important to step up and be counted.

“I admire dissenters.”

In terms of what makes him tick, Mick has a list of simple pleasures that make his day, week, month and years worthwhile.

“Alone in a cinema or lost in a book. Eating and chatting with friends -going through ‘check-in” is always satisfying. Travel, be it on a train to Dublin, a ferry to Wales, a plane to somewhere further afield, travel is always a delight.”

IndieCork Film Festival runs from Oct 1 - 9 at the Gate Multiplex Cinema. For more information log onto

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