IndieCork: There’s no festival quite like it

Films about middle-aged pregnancy, road bowls and power-lifting ... and a few tunes

When does a renegade event become an institution? Moving into its seventh edition, IndieCork, conceived by former Cork Film Festival stalwarts Mick Hannigan and Una Feely, no longer counts as a brazen young whippersnapper. It takes seriousness of purpose to survive that long in the Irish cultural marketplace. But the event retains the raggedy, outsider swagger it brought to its home city in 2013. Citizens (and lucky visitors) will get to see films that premiered at Sundance, Cannes, Toronto and Venice. They can also enjoy three Irish world premieres. But the event – run as a member-owned arts collective – is as valuable for the light it shines on independent short films and the space it gives to one-off events. A few of those eccentric fixtures continue IndieCork's commitment to including music in the mix. There's nothing quite like this fest.

Events kick off with Shelly Love's A Bump Along the Way. The comedy, already a hit at Toronto and the Galway Film Fleadh, stars Bronagh Gallagher as a middle-aged Derry woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Lola Petticrew gives a breakthrough performance as the teenage daughter who drives her mad.

IndieCork closes with a screening of Ian Fitzgibbon's astringent comedy Dark Lies the Island. The film, scripted by novelist Kevin Barry, sends Moe Dunford, Pat Shortt and Charlie Murphy on a knockabout journey about a colourfully corrupt Irish hamlet. It's what we do.

Corpus Christi

In between those bookends, a varied array of features will screen in the Gate Cinema. Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi, hailed at Toronto, treats the true story of a troubled young man who impersonated a priest in Poland. “Komasa directs with an impressive rigour that fits the subject matter, and the incorporation of subtle ecclesiastical embellishments in the score adds to the imposing solemnity,” wrote in the Hollywood Reporter.


Sherry Hormann’s A Regular Woman deals with the troubling subject of so-called “honour killings” in Germany. Variety spoke of the picture’s “fine cast and impeccable technical package”.

Irish premieres include that of Chiara Viale’s intriguing The New Music. Cilléin McEvoy stars as a classical pianist who has to readjust his life after a diagnosis of young-onset Parkinson’s. Viale worked closely with Parkinson’s groups in the development of a film that seeks to show how patients “find new meaning in life after the diagnosis”.

Diarmuid Galvin’s Splitting the Sop examines an underexplored folk sport (if that’s a thing) that pops up in all corners of Ireland. Historian Séamus Ó Tuama talks us through the traditions and personalities of the strange business that is road bowling. We hear about the involvement of the Traveller community. We get a sense of how the activity fits into wider Irish culture.

Powerfully uplifting

Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick's Lift tells the story of Cork-based powerlifter Karen Barry, a dental receptionist and mother of three, then in her 40s, who took up the sport as a hobby and was soon lifting five times her own body weight. Williams first met Barry when they worked in the same bar 20 years ago and, after discovering her extraordinary story, used Facebook to make the reconnection. It sounds very (ahem!) uplifting.

The music events include two fascinating investigations of 1960s legends. Angel: An Evening without Scott Walker, taking place at The Guesthouse, invites the country’s most interesting sound artists to engage with a musician who spanned the spectrum from crooner to unforgiving experimentalist. Beatlebums: The White Album sees Beatlebums, a Cork band whose name reveals influences, work their way through every track on the Beatles’ most eclectic album. We’re all thinking the same thing. Back in the USSR? No problem. Blackbird? Busker standard. But what the heck are they going to do with Revolution 9?