Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

More on the Cork Film Festival shocker

Mick Hannigan, recently made redundant as CEO of the Cork Film Festival, speaks out and the festival board issues its own statement

Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 13:41


As you should, by now, be aware, the world of Irish cinema was shocked yesterday to discover that Mick Hannigan, CEO of the Cork Film Festival, and Úna Feely, the event’s programmer, had been made redundant. I talked to Mick last night and he is, unsurprisingly enough, somewhat aggrieved by the situation. “I think what they want to see, Donald, is an event like the Dublin Film Festival with Danny DeVito or Al Pacino or whatever. I think that’s a fantasy, because of the scale of the city compared to Dublin and the film infrastructure compared to Dublin. They definitely wanted more red carpet events. I think that was part of the reason.”

Mick argues for a more intimate festival.

“My strategy was always that you need to do something that other people weren’t doing,” he said. “We reckoned that support for emerging film-makers was the way to make us unique and attract people to the festival. We wanted to have a festive occasion rater than — as I think will happen now — just a week of films.”

A representative for the board of the Cork Film Festival later issued a statement, but declined to answer any specific questions. The release reads in full:

“The Board of Cork Film Festival has announced changes on foot of an independent strategic review of Ireland’s longest running film festival. ‘The review showed that our current structure is simply unsustainable,’ said Board Chairman Denis McSweeney. ‘As part of this, the positions of CEO and Festival Programmer have become redundant.’ The Board paid tribute to the work of both CEO Mick Hannigan and Programmer Una Feely. ‘We would like to pay tribute to them and thank them for their outstanding contributions throughout the years,’ said Mr McSweeney. Festival Manager Sean Kelly will remain. The Cork Film Festival has been running since 1956 and is scheduled to take place once more in November of this year.”

We will hear more about this. As we speak, Twitter is ablaze with outrage. One correspondent references the French government’s attempts to remove Henri Langlois from the Cinémathèque Française in 1968. That eventually led to the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival. Phew!