Awaiting the arrival of the bailiffs

 

ARTSCAPE: THE KINO cinema in Cork is to close on November 29th, the 13th anniversary of the opening of the only independent arthouse cinema outside Dublin, writes Mary Leland.

This week, Kino’s proprietor and manager Mick Hannigan confirmed that, while this year’s Corona Cork Film Festival is to go ahead from November 1st to 8th as scheduled, the days of Kino as the core festival venue are over. Hannigan has been director of the festival since 1986 and was at the programme launch on Thursday, although he was aware that the following day might see the city sheriff sending in the bailiffs on foot of an unpaid fee of €6,000. It is hoped negotiations might delay this process until after the festival (which also uses other venues), although Hannigan said that if the bailiffs were to arrive yesterday, they would find the doors open.

This development comes on top of a separate action that was adjourned for two weeks at a High Court hearing in Dublin on Monday, arising, ironically, from Hannigan’s successful attempt in 2003 to obtain a grant under the inaugural Cultural Cinema Consortium run by the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board (of which Hannigan is a former member).

However, it then proved impossible for Kino to meet the shortfall between the grant of €750,000 and the actual cost of the proposed redevelopment as a three-screen cinema and cafe and the grant was never drawn down.

Several fees for professional services needed for the grant application in the first place were not paid, and now the architectural firm Dennehy and Dennehy Designs Ltd is suing Hannigan for €51,242 as part of a group of creditors. Kino’s single asset, however, is the premises itself, and in order to meet this and other outstanding professional debts, Hannigan is preparing for the sale of the building on Washington Street, close to the city centre.

This is Corks only single-screen cinema, where the annual 50,000 admissions includes film festival audiences. With a daily four-film programme and a weekly wages bill of €1,000 covering one full-time and eight part-time staff, the coffee-scented Kino has been enduring hard times, as evidenced by the amount of duct-tape keeping its 188 seats in one piece. Run from the beginning as a one-man – admittedly brave – operation, Kino’s programme has always offered films that never hit Cork’s multiplexes.

**

Michael D Higgins, the first full minister for the arts, this week had some good observations about those early 1990s. Speaking at an NUI Galway alumni public interview by Harry McGee about 40 years in public life, he recalled the excitement and impact of the growing film industry here, doing deals for Braveheartand Saving Private Ryan, to-ing and fro-ing with Mel Gibson and Marlon Brando. He’s most proud of his achievements with TG4 and scrapping Section 31, as well as his role in the arts. He regrets how the department was later broken up and thinks the ministry should have the all-encompassing title of Culture rather than Arts et al. It’s crucial to retain a full minister for culture, he said, “to protect the rights of citizens to have access to all the arts”, but it’s also practical, as the new jobs will be where we use imagination in a non-exploitative way.#

**

Dance theatre company Fabulous Beast has been rehearsing a co-production with English National Opera (ENO) in Galway over the past while, and while the ambitious version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Springopens in London on November 6th, Fabulous Beast plans to stage it in Ireland next year.

Directed and choreographed by Fabulous Beast’s artistic director, Michael Keegan-Dolan, it is on an unprecedented scale for the company, best known here for shows set in the Irish Midlands such as Giselle and The Bull, blending narrative and physical theatre, dance, speech and song. This new co-production is one half of an opera/dance double-bill, together with Bartok’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle, and will be in rep at the London Coliseum, with a capacity of over 2,300, as part of the ENO winter season next month. A darkly ritualistic story in which a young girl is sacrificed on the altar of her community’s future, it has a multinational cast of 24 and an orchestra of over 100, conducted by ENO’s Edward Gardner. Set and costumes are by Olivier Award-winning designer Rae Smith, lighting design by regular collaborator Adam Silverman. The company has cut a dash in Britain, performing regularly in London’s Barbican (winning Critics’ Circle Award and multiple Olivier Award nominations), and Keegan-Dolan has worked with ENO, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the National Theatre.

**

The Relations between Art and Science: Complicity, Criticality, Knowledgeis the subject of a public QA session on Wednesday, October 28th, as part of the International Association of Art Critics Congress. The 43rd AICA congress, which looks at the art/science relationship, is at Dublin Castle from tomorrow until Friday, when international art critics, essayists and theoreticians get together for the annual congress, in Dublin for the first time since 1953. www.aica.ie