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We are so excited to announce that Kerry International Film Festival has officially arrived!  Over the next few days, we will be showcasing over 80 local and international films on our online platform – from shorts, to accessible film, we aim to have something for everybody!
We have live panels from people in the film industry, Q&As and live events!  The Arts has always been a way for us to escape reality for a while and step into a world of magic and wonder. We hope you enjoy what we have in store for you!

jessie buckley honoured with the maureen o' hara award 2020

KIFF is delighted to announce that actor Jessie Buckley is the recipient of this year’s Maureen O’ Hara award. The Killarney native will be accepting the accolade in October in celebration of her exceptional work in both film and the arts. The much-coveted award is offered exclusively to women who have excelled in film and KIFF are privileged to be presenting the award to Jessie Buckley on what would have been Maureen O’ Hara’s centenary year.

KIFF will be presenting the Maureen O’ Hara award to Jessie Buckley via an online interview which will be available on the website and additional social media platforms throughout the festival. There are also plans to host a physical presentation in the future.

Upon receiving the KIFF 2020 Maureen O’ Hara award, Jessie Buckley said: ‘It means so much, when your own people and own country get behind you like this and say you’re doing alright kid, that means a lot.


You can read Esther McCarthy’s wonderful Irish Examiner article on Jessie here:   Jessie Buckley: Kerry superstar has come a long way

Welcome to Kiff

We hope you and yours are safe. It is a strange time, calling for patience, solidarity and societal self-reflection. There is a good chance we can emerge from this, wiser and better positioned to create a more sustainable and fairer future. Let’s hope so. 

In keeping with current Government guidelines surrounding Covid19 and to maintain the safety of KIFF audiences everywhere, the festival recently opted to present an exclusively online event in 2020.

We are clearly gutted that we are not able to meet all the filmmakers in the foyer of Cinema Killarney this year to share in the excitement of showcasing their work or to see the return of the loyal faces who have supported the festival over the past 21 years. 

While we can not all be together physically at this time, the KIFF team will still provide selected filmmakers with as much as time and support as possible, including giving them an opportunity to talk about their work. Hence, more panels, Q&A’s, and talks will be announced over the coming week.

We are thrilled with the quality of this year’s programme and the support we have received from innumerable sources that helped make it all happen. We thank each and every one of them.  Surviving and thriving this challenging year has not been easy. It will fuel our gratitude for future get-togethers, when we will be able  to collectively celebrate the joys of film under one roof.  

Until then, enjoy what our digital edition has to offer, including independent Irish premieres, feature dramas and documentaries, over 80 shorts and a vast selection of panels.

Mind yerselves!



All About Eibh

KIFF are delighted to be working with Eibh for the second year. Formally the manager of IndieCork and Irish Film London, Eibh, as well as being Head of Programming for Kerry International Film Festival, is the short film programmer for the Oscar-qualifying Galway Film Fleadh and the Deputy Director for Irish Screen America. And as if that’s not enough, Eibh is also a preselector for a collection of International festivals including Encounters Short Film Festival. You’d be hard-pushed to find a human alive that’s seen more short films than our Eibh. She has also curated and coordinated dozens of Irish Focuses for a selection of major international festivals and film markets. A passion of hers is supporting Irish film & filmmakers by connecting compatible audiences festivals and organisations.

Winners 2020


BEST STUDENT SHORTMy Other Suit Is Human by Andrew Paul Montague

BEST ORIGINAL SCOREThe Yellow Dress by Natasa Paulberg

BEST OF KERRY by Mieke Vanmechelen

BEST OF KERRYThe West Kerry Cowboy by Cian O’Connor

BEST ANIMATIONGON, The Little Fox by Takeshi Yashiro

SCRIPT WRITING AWARDLambing by Katie McNeice

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – VIOLET GIBSON, The Irish Woman Who Shot Mussolini  by Barrie Dowdall & Kevin de la Isla O’Neill

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORTHow to Fall in love in a Pandemic by Michael-David McKernan

BEST IRISH NARRATIVE SHORTRough by Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson

BEST NARRATIVE FEATUREFollow the Dead by Adam William Cahill

Best International Narrative Short

Title: Leopard

Director: James Arden

Synopsis: Rocky, a London teenager, begins to question the strict routine set by her father - as well as deeper feelings about her own identity - after meeting a free-spirited girl in a local launderette.

Producers: James Arden & Poppy Ashton

Best Irish Narrative Short

Title: Rough
Directors: Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson.

Synopsis: “Rough” is a film about a dog sentenced to death by gangsters, but it’s also a film about those who have been forgotten by Northern Ireland’s peace process. For some, the conflict in Northern Ireland never really ended. ‘Peace walls’ remain, casting shadows over segregated and disparate communities. Armed and illegal organisations still exist, ruling over their working-class areas with an iron fist..
Producer: Louise Gallagher.

Best Animation

Title: GON, The Little Fox
Director: Takeshi Yashiro
Synopsis: Gon, a playful fox, finds Hyoju has lost his mother for his own earlier mischiefs and starts making amends by secretly bringing gifts to Hyojyu. Hyojyu doesn’t realize who brings the anonymous gifts, and the two are headed for a heartbreaking climax.
Producer: Masaaki Oikawa

Best Student Short

Title: My Other Suit Is Human
Director: Andrew Paul Montague
Synopsis: Zoe, grieving for her deceased son, has become distant from her emotionally unavailable husband who buries himself in work. Dealing with her grief alone, she seeks refuge in the form of a homemade robot suit. Slowly, she starts to rediscover herself and her marriage.  
Producer: Kira Fitzpatrick

Best Narrative Feature

Title: Follow the Dead
Director: Adam William Cahill
Synopsis: The remote town of Ferbane struggles to react when no one seems able to communicate with Dublin City anymore, and videos that have surfaced online suggest that the capital has succumb to an undead threat, and danger may be on its way!
Producer: Adam William Cahill

Best of Kerry

Director: Mieke Vanmecheleny
Synopsis: The Kerry cow is the oldest cow in existence in Europe. Ireland’s special association with these animals goes back thousands of years. Currently endangered, a small number of individuals are doing their utmost to preserve the breed. This documentary is an intimate account of the bonds that exist between the farmers and their animals.
Producer: Mieke Vanmechelen

Best of Kerry

Title: The West Kerry Cowboy
Director: Cian O'Connor
Synopsis: Big Mac and his dad Frank live a lonely life in the heart of West Kerry. After his mother's death, Big Mac falls into a secretive world. On the day of her anniversary, Big Mac has a confession to make. This film is a comedy drama about masculinity and grief.
Producers: Peter Kilmartin

Best Documentary

Title: VIOLET GIBSON, The Irish Woman Who Shot Mussolini
Directors: Barrie Dowdall & Kevin de la Isla O'Neill
Synopsis: The true and forgotten story of Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, who shot fascist dictator Benito Mussolini at point-blank range as she faced a Fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the enormous personal price she paid.
Producers: Siobhán Lynam & Barrie Dowdall

Winners 2019

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT – The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Bailey
BEST ANIMATION – Mind My Mind by Floor Adams
BEST IRISH NARRATIVE – A White Horse by Shaun O’ Connor
BEST KERRY SHORT – The Space Between Us by Elaine Kennedy
BEST STUDENT SHORT– Starry Night by Emma Smith (Special mention for Ciúnas, for its subtle and nuanced directing.)
BEST FEATURE – Kilimanjaro Mama by Malcolm Willis
BEST DOCUMENTARY – Heyday – The Mic Christopher Story by Alan Leonard
SCREENWRITING AWARD: Two Bed Terrace by Cathriona Slammon.

Best International Short

Title:The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
 Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Synopsis: When a woman is bedridden by a mysterious pathogen, a forest snail unexpectedly takes up residence on her nightstand. Together, the woman and snail share an intimate journey of survival and resilience. Their captivating and graceful explorations expand the boundaries of the bedroom. An intimate and surprising live-action story. Adapted from the award-winning nonfiction memoir of the same title.

Best Animation

Title: Mind my Mind
Writer/ Director: Floor Adams
Synopsis: Chris, an autistic young man who camouflages his obsession with dive bombers, gets by with the help of Hans, the little guy who lives in his head and translates Chris’s social scripts for him. When zoologist Gwen invites Chris to meet her favourite chameleon, Chris and Hans move expeditiously ahead with a flirt script… but then the chameleon dies and Gwen needs Chris to go off-script.
Producers: Willem Thijssen, Tom Van Gestel, Floor Adams

Best Irish Short

Title: A White Horse
Director: Shaun O’ Connor
Writer: Paul Cahill
Synopsis: 1970s Ireland. A young female patient has escaped a psychiatric hospital and rings home from a telephone box… but her parents are waiting for the call.
Producer: Sinead Barry

Best Kerry Short

Title: The Space Between Us
Director: Elaine Kennedy
Writer: Emmet Kelly
Synopsis: A family drama between three estranged siblings who are forced to reconnect when a tragedy occurs in their family. The story explores the wide range of emotions they have toward each other, present and past, and what their relationships will look like moving forward.
Producers: Emmet Kelly, Elynia Betts

Best Student Short

Title: Starry Night
Director: Emma Smith
Writer: Rachel Moloney
Synopsis: Teenager CARA has just received a dream opportunity to study fashion in London – but there’s a hitch: her mother passed away a year ago, her dad is a drunk, and Cara is now the sole carer for her three younger sisters. JEANIE, Cara’s best friend, pushes her to put herself first and escape a lifetime in the flats. Cara desperately searches for somebody, anybody, to take in the kids – from her pompous aunt SHERYL, to junkie DAVIE.  
Producer: Caoilinn Handley

Best Feature

Title: Kilimanjaro Mama
Director: Malcolm Willis
Synopsis: The film follows Louise Quill from Tralee, as she shares her story of why she decided to set up Tir na nÓg orphanage in Africa, what drives her and the impact it has had on her own health and wellbeing. Documenting the journey from Ireland to Tanzania, this is the story of one woman’s dogged determination to give the children of Kilimanjaro the best possible chance to overcome the tough life they have been dealt.
Producer: Brian Hurley

Best Documentary

Title: Heyday – the Mic Christopher Story
Director: Alan Leonard
Synopsis: Celebrating the legacy of a prodigiously talented Irish singer-songwriter, Heyday charts Mic Christopher’s musical journey from Grafton Street busker to The Mary Janes and rock stardom to the near-fatal accident that radically changed his world view and ignited a drive to create a brighter, more uplifting body of work before his untimely death in 2001.
Producer: Niall Carver

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