Indie Cork brings short films on the road around County Cork

Úna Feely of IndieCork tells Ronan Leonard about the programme of short films they’ve been bringing to venues around Co Cork
Indie Cork brings short films on the road around County Cork
Short film 'Claud on The Loose'.

IndieCork Festival’s mission statement is to “champion independent productions from Cork, from Ireland and from across the world.”

While their main festival is held in Cork City in mid-October, throughout the seven years of the festival they have also brought programmes to other venues around Cork — and other countries.

Their latest touring programme, in conjunction with Cork County Council, is showing in Mallow tonight (November 21), and in Midleton next Thursday, November 28.

Úna Feely, co-founder and programmer of Indiecork, spoke ahead of taking this programme on the road: “Great films continue to be made, films that often don’t get to cinemas or television. We are always trying to shine a light on the indie filmmaker, musician or performer — to show the quality and inventiveness of what people are producing. Bringing the audience and those creators together.”

Short film, Brittas.
Short film, Brittas.

The festival’s ethos and structure is what drives everything about IndieCork, as Úna continued: “IndieCork is different in a number of ways. Not least the fact that we are organised as a co-operative, we are a collective and collaboration is how we work. Our partnerships are important and enabling, as this allows us to do really interesting things. The touring programme is evidence of this.

“IndieCork is very much part of the wider community, and getting out and about to give people a chance to catch unusual and new short films, is one of the reasons we started the festival. We often present shows abroad representing Irish cinema, most recently at the Liverpool Irish Festival.

“This tour, See Our Shorts, has been supported by the Arts Office of Cork County Council, so that has allowed us to get on the road.

“Also, we couldn’t do it without our great venue partners like The Gate Cinemas.”

Úna said that IndieCork doesn’t just put eight films together at the start of the year and show the same programme everywhere they present it. Instead, there is a lot of thought put into each event, “depending on the location and context of the place and the audience — we like to offer variety and surprise in any programme, we try to include something standout, something really strong and powerful — and perhaps award winning. Then balance the programme to include innovative, fresh and interesting films.

Short film, Sheelp Wolf and a Cup of Tea.
Short film, Sheelp Wolf and a Cup of Tea.

“We look for the individual elements and compose them then to bring an overall satisfaction to the programme. We receive hundreds of entries each year that form the background to our selection, but we also attend a couple of festivals where we scout for films that we think suit IndieCork.”

IndieCork has presented several programmes around County Cork in places such as Cobh, Youghal as well as Mallow and Midleton. Úna has been at most of them.

“We get a very warm welcome from the venues and cinemas, as we are bringing a new element to their programming, and we offer it for free, and that’s a nice thing to pass on to your customers, and potentially bring new people in. Free is always good! Local audiences are always happy to see us coming, because it provides a glimpse for them of the festival that they wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

“Also, screening eight different types of short films, means that people will generally find something they like.”

The personal touch of a member of the IndieCork team presenting the programme is important to Úna, and she notices it has a positive effect, “I always like to say something (if I know) about the background of a filmmaker, or their intention, or the kind of work they’ve made before. Not too much, but a touch of context is really enlightening sometimes.

“Having a real live person there to present a show and to engage with, is respectful of the audience. After each screening on the tour, we have had great chats with audience members, and I think it’s a very welcome opportunity for many. Often we find people are thinking of starting up film clubs, or even making films, and having this kind of screening within reach is a start on that road.”

Furthering the point of people enjoying new films, Úna pointed out that while Netflix, Amazon, Prime and their peers have positives, they also tend to funnel people’s viewing options away from new work.

Short film, Uncle Thomas.
Short film, Uncle Thomas.

“In these days of profiling and algorithms it’s a definite hazard that you will only be offered more of what you’ve already chosen on any given platform. Even more reason to step outside of the virtual world and dip into what’s happening in real time! None of our films would be available online at this point, and some of them won’t ever be online.

“The See Our Shorts tour is all about short films, which is its own mini-universe. It kind of co-exists in a parallel world to the mainstream film industry. So it’s a treasure trove of ideas, creativity and oddness really.”

IndieCork Festival’s See Our Shorts touring programme is on at 6.30pm tonight (Thursday November 21) at The Gate Cinema, Mallow, and at 6.30pm at The Gate Cinema, Midleton, on Thursday November 28.

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