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Cork in focus for 2011 French Film Festival

06.03.11

Cork French Film Festival to honour one of cinema's most influential film makers.

Today marks the opening of the 22nd Cork French Film Festival sponsored by Bord Gáis Energy. The Festival runs from 6th to 13th March and features the best of contemporary and classic French cinema selected by Festival Curator Paul Callanan. The launch reception which took place in the Vision Centre, Cork was followed by the Irish premiere screening of 'Cléo from 5-7', directed by Agnés Varda, in the Gate Cinema. Attendees at the launch included legendary filmmaker Agnés Varda, French Ambassador to Ireland-H.E Mme Emmanuelle D'Achon, Bord Gáis CEO - John Mullins and Nora Callanan, Festival Director.

The action packed festival presented by Alliance Française de Cork and supported by Bord Gáis Energy sees Cork host a broad programme of contemporary and classic French films and documentaries as well as a series of unique live events including installations, specially commissioned live soundtracks, AV performances, masterclasses and Q&A sessions. The Festival will pay tribute to the career of one of cinema's most important living legends, filmmaker and artist Agnés Varda.

"Bord Gáis Energy is delighted to be associated with the Cork French Film Festival again in 2011. Support for the arts and cultural activities is particularly important at this time of economic difficulty, because events such as the Festival provide the opportunity to explore and enjoy the creative aspects of life and to be uplifted by the experience" said John Mullins, Chief Executive Bord Gáis Energy.

Cork in focus for 2011 French Film Festival

Festival director Nora Callanan said this festival is the biggest to date and Alliance Française de Cork is delighted to bring to Irish audiences yet again a vibrant and wide-ranging programme of screenings and cutting-edge events, as well as renowned figures of French cinema such as Festival star guest, Agnés Varda, and directors Jan Kounen, and Nicholas Saada. She stressed that the Festival is an exceptional opportunity to experience cinema in this personal, close-up sense in the presence of such remarkable talent. She expressed deep gratitude to main sponsor Bord Gáis Energy - a festival of this size and scale would not be possible without their invaluable support. She also thanked Arts Council of Ireland, French Embassy and Cork City Council.

One of the undoubted highlights of the festival is a retrospective of Agnés Varda's extraordinary career. Agnés was at the launch to open the festival and also to unveil the Irish and UK premiere of her fine art photography and video installations with a specially curated exhibition 'Open Windows'.

The opening film is 'Cléo from 5 to 7', a real-time portrayal of a Parisian singer waiting from 5 to 7pm for results of a medical test. Directed by Varda the screening is the Irish premiere of the 1962 movie. Other festival premieres include the before unseen director's cut of 'In The Electric Mist' starring Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman, by French director Bertrand Tavernier, 'Robert Mitchum is Dead' and 'Spy(ies)' starring Irish screen legend Stephen Rea and French leading man Guillaume Canet.

"What is fascinating about Agnés Varda is she is re-inventing herself all the time and at the same time re-inventing our own notions of cinema. She was a photographer with no knowledge of filmmaking when she made her debut feature La Pointe Court which heralded the French New Wave of the 1960's. She then moved into documentary film, fundamentally changing its practice with her subjective approach - a style which has since become the standard. Now in her 80's she has begun a career as a visual artist and we are very proud to be hosting her first exhibition in Ireland. With her installations, Agnés opens up yet another window to cinema." Paul Callanan, Festival Curator.

Screenings and events are taking place in a number of locations throughout Cork including The Gate Cinema, The English Market, The Pavillion and Ballymaloe House. Further highlights include a gala evening and screening with live piano accompaniment at Ballymaloe House marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of cinema visionary and father of special effects Georges Méliés, a series of short silent films with original live scores by Donal Dineen and Katie Kim and finally Etienne Jaumet from Zombie Zombie will give an exclusive one off Irish appearance to perform live tracks from his new album at the festival closing party.

For full programme details and tickets log onto to www.corkfrenchfilmfestival.com

For further information contact:

Brian Melarkey,
Fleishman Hillard
Tel: 01 6188 409 /
086 1949673
Brian.melarkey@fleishmaneurope.com