Cork International Film Festival 2021

66th Cork International Film Festival Reveals Full Programme for 2021

The 66th Cork International Film Festival has announced its full programme for 2021. A curated programme of in-venue screenings and events will take place across Cork city and county in The Gate Cinemas (Cork City, Midleton and Mallow), The Everyman, Triskel, Crawford Arts Gallery and Marina Park from Friday 5th to Friday 12th November, followed by a nine-day digital programme on from Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st November. 

We are delighted to present a blended Festival that both welcomes audiences back to the cinema in Cork, safely and comfortably, and also enables audiences nationwide to enjoy a feast of films online. With 80 Irish and international features and documentaries, over 130 shorts, and new strands of Culinary Cinema, Green Screen, Guilty Pleasures, a major Female Visions retrospective, and a magnificent cine-concert, as well as our popular family and schools’ programme, we hope that this 66th edition of Ireland’s first and largest film festival will allow greater opportunities for everyone to discover film and reimagine the world.

Fiona Clark, Festival Director and CEO,

Three Gala presentations represent the best of Irish and international filmmaking, opening the Festival with a contemporary love story, Ali & Ava, by acclaimed director Clio Barnard, premieres on Friday 5th November at the Everyman and Saturday 6th at The Gate. The physical part of the Festival concludes on Friday 12th November with the Awards Gala, Blue Bayou, Justin Chon’s moving story about family, identity and belonging in contemporary USA, following the announcement of the Features Awards, ahead of the start of the Online Festival. Pat Collins’ mesmeric The Dance is this year’s Documentary Gala; screening on Thursday 11th November, it charts the creative process of the world-renowned choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan as he works on MÁM, a new dance and theatre production that brings together 12 international dancers, concertina player Cormac Begley and the European orchestral collective s t a r g a z e.

CIFF will present Fritz Lang’s 1927 German expressionist classic, Metropolis as a Special Presentation Cine Concert on Monday and Tuesday 8th and 9th November at The Everyman, with a new commissioned score by Cork composers – and sisters – Irene Buckley  and Linda Buckley to accompany this iconic silent classic, supported by the Goethe-Institut Irland.

We’re so excited to bring a programme of new works by Irish filmmakers featuring both upcoming talent and well-established CIFF alumni, including the world premiere of Robert Manson’s Holy Island, and two years after the international success of The Evening Redness in the South, Colin Hickey returns to Cork with his lyrical new feature, Where the Merrows Roam. Documentary filmmaker Alan Gilsenan directs a sensitive portrait of a mid-century Irish politician in The Seven Ages of Nöel Browne, while in Lyra, Alison Millar draws a touching and timely portrait of journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead during riots in Derry in 2019.

Anna Kopecká, CIFF Director of Programming

The International Fiction line-up includes dramas, comedies, love stories and horror films with winners from three major festivals: PS Vinothraj’s intense Indian drama Pebbles, winner of The Tiger Award from International Film Festival Rotterdam; Radu Jude’s sarcastic and dark-humoured Romanian film Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival; and the wild, beautiful, violent and action-packed Titane, directed by Julia Ducournau and winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

A diverse documentary programme covers war and refugees, women fighting for their rights, real-life family dramas and stories about climate change or animal rights. Profile films include a new feature about the iconic Charlie Chaplin (The Real Charlie Chaplin from Peter Middleton and James Spinney), Molly Reynolds’ portrait of Australian actor David Gulpilil, in My Name is Gulpilil, and Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, a touching music documentary about the folk singer directed by Robert Yapkowitz. A delicious spread of culinary documentaries includes Set! by Scott Gawlik, a film about a table-setting contest!

New programme strands for CIFF2021 are:

Culinary Cinema – bringing a focus to food and film in Ireland’s culinary capital, we feature the adrenaline-fueled drama Boiling Point, by Philip Barantini and starring Stephen Graham, with a special film-and-supper package. Michelin Stars II: Nordic by Nature by Rasmus Dinesen will transport audiences to fine dining at its geographical and culinary extremes, with a Q&A with the director and panelists; and acclaimed documentarian Morgan Neville’s film Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a bittersweet technicolour look at the life and career of this celebrity chef, revealing the influence of film on his view of the world.

Green Screen presents four films that explore climate change, the environment and the impact humans are having on this planet. From the Wild Sea by Robin Petré maps the relationship between human and marine life; and The Ants and the Grasshopper, by Raj Patel and Zak Piper, follows the journey of one extraordinary woman from her African homeland to California and the White House, trying to make people understand that climate change is real. In her first feature documentary, Cow, the celebrated British director Andrea Arnold follows the life of an ordinary dairy cow, while the wonderfully surreal Taming the Garden by Salomé Jashi tells the story of the former prime minister of Georgia and his obsession with collecting trees for his private garden.

Guilty Pleasures: From a masterpiece to a teen classic to a B-movie with a cult following, this selection of films invites audiences to revisit ‘90s-style influencers in Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, David Cronenberg body horror in Videodrome; Motown martial arts in Michael Schultz’s The Last Dragon; the ultimate B-movie cult slasher Sleepaway Camp by Robert Hiltzic; and a scream queen, a preacher and The Hoff in space in Luigi Cozzi’s Star Crash.

Special Presentations include the world premiere of Patrick Hough’s The Two Faces of Tomorrow, a site-specific collaboration with the National Sculpture Factory, and the 1921 Commemoration screening of classic film The Last September, directed by Deborah Warner, supported by Cork City Council. The Festival’s popular Family and Schools’ programmes return this year, alongside our Illuminate film and mental health programme of three films, featuring Christophe Hermans’ The Hive with extended panel discussion. The extensive Female Visions Retrospective will be amplified by a city-wide Trail of Discovery linking to the CIFF Digital Archive, and filmmakers at all stages of their career can avail of in-person and online training and development sessions through First Take and Doc Day

Digital Festival

This year, there will also be an extended programme of online screenings from 13th – -21st of November. Audiences can enjoy catch up on titles from the physical Festival as well as discover online exclusives of award-winning international features and the latest and best Irish shorts, with three different programmes of 12 events, each available for 72 hours. Online exclusives include AEMI: Artist in Focus: Lynne SachsEunic featuring Short Shorts from Europe Film Festival 2021, the exceptional documentary In The Mirror of Maya Deren, Still I Say a short film, produced by UCC’s Lord Puttnam Scholars and a fantastic selection of Late Night Shorts. The full virtual programme is available via the Festival website or App with clear directions on how to watch from the comfort of your own home. 

Safety Measures

All necessary measures to protect audiences, filmmakers and staff have been implemented, including online booking with automatic dynamic seating to ensure social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and venue procedures, to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for the public. Updates on current guidelines will be available at

Full Programme and Tickets: view the full programme from 14th October. All film details and tickets are now on sale at or via the MyCIFF App.