Documentary on Vicky Phelan to open IndieCork film festival

‘It took a tribe of formidable and determined women to help this film see a release,’ says director Sasha King of Vicky

The organisers of this year’s IndieCork film festival have expressed their delight at being able to open the film festival on Sunday night with an award-winning documentary about cervical cancer scandal campaigner, Vicky Phelan, ahead of the film’s general release next week.

Mick Hannigan, co-director of IndieCork, said that festival was both honoured and delighted to open this year’s 10th IndieCork with Vicky, which was a profound and intimate journey into the Kilkenny’s woman fight to expose the truth about the entire cervical cancer screening scandal.

Mr Hannigan pointed out Vicky Phelan had led the campaign to expose the CervicalCheck scandal when in 2018, she spoke on the steps of the High Court in Dublin and said she hoped her case would lead to a full investigation of the issue, which had caused huge pain and grief for so many families.

“The women of Ireland can no longer put their trust in the CervicalCheck programme – mistakes can and do happen but the conduct of CervicalCheck and the HSE in my case and the case of at least ten other women we know about it, is unforgiveable,” said Ms Phelan after her High Court settlement.


“There are no winners here today, I am terminally ill and there is no cure for my cancer. …. “I truly hope some good will come of this case and there will be an investigation in the CervicalCheck programme as a result of this,” added the mother of two.

Mr Hannigan said Vicky was a fitting choice to open this year’s festival. “‘Vicky’ is a powerful film telling the story of an extraordinary Irish woman and her fight for justice. It’s an absolute honour to open our 10th anniversary festival with the film,” he said.

“As well as being the biggest showcase of independent filmmaking in Ireland, IndieCork prides itself on platforming female directors. Vicky, directed by the brilliant Sasha King, is one of many films in this year’s programme with women at the helm, and we’re delighted about that.”

Director, Ms King said: “It is an honour to be chosen as the opening film of the prestigious festival IndieCork. It took a tribe of formidable and determined women to help this film see a release. And for that, I am very grateful. We are very excited to bring our film to the big screen in Cork.”

Mr Hannigan said that IndieCork’s was also happy to show as its closing film, Ciara Nic Chormaic’s Aisling Trí Néallaibh : Clouded Reveries which he described as “an intimate exploration” of acclaimed writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s world and creative process.

Among the other films to feature at this year’s festival is The Laughing Boy where poet, Theo Dorgan traces the origin of Brendan Behan’s song which became a powerful left-wing anthem of resistance in Greece in the 1960s when the colonels seized power and set up a military dictatorship.

This year’s festival also includes a tribute to Tommy Collins, who died in July and was described by Donald Clarke of this paper as “a crucial figure in the growth of Irish film” while his 2007 film Kings will also be screened.

Mr Hannigan said IndieCork was also delighted this year to introduce a new award, the Louis Marcus Award for Best Documentary, named after the great Cork-born and Oscar-nominated documentarian, who has supported IndieCork since its inception ten years ago.

For further information about IndieCork see

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times