Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Programmer and CEO of The Cork Film Festival made redundant

The oldest film festival in Ireland lays off Mick Hannigan, CEO, and Úna Feely, festival programmer, “due to the financial position of the company”.

Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 20:15


Surprising news reaches us from the Cork Film Festival. In a press release, Mick Hannigan (pictured above), veteran CEO of the event, and Úna Feely, festival programmer, have revealed that they were unexpectedly given notice of redundancy on March 15th. It seems that the notice, issued by Denis McSweeney, Chairman of the Festival, said the lay-offs were “due to the financial position of the company”.

“We don’t accept at all that the company is in long-term financial difficulties,” Hannigan said. “The festival has made a surplus in each of the last four years. The festival is in good financial shape. Title sponsor Corona recently ceased their sponsorship as a result of a change of marketing strategy. This represented 16% of the budget but is not a major threat to the 58 year-old event. Creatively the festival saw a resurgence in 2012 with the standing ovation at the Opening Gala and a 10% increase in ticket sales.”

The press release went on to claim that “the decision to get rid of the festival organisers seems to have arisen from a delay in confirmation of Arts Council funding for 2013.”

More is sure to follow on this. Founded in 1956, the Cork Film Festival is the oldest in the country and, with the Galway Film Fleadh and the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, is one of three major international film events in the nation. Long known for its focus on short films, it takes place in a quiet spot for festivals at the end of the year.

Mick Hannigan was made Festival Director as far back as 1986 and was appointed CEO in 2009. Úna Feely joined the event in 1995 and has been programmer since 2001.