Kerry International Film Festival (KIFF) is delighted to officially launch their 2023 film festival programme today, Tuesday 3 October 2023. Celebrating its 24th edition, this year’s festival will take place 19 – 22 October 2023. 

One of the yearly highlights of KIFF is the Maureen O’Hara Award. In 2008 KIFF established the Maureen O’Hara Award in celebration of women who have excelled in film, TV and/or media. At the time it was one of the few film awards anywhere in the world that was offered exclusively to women. This year, KIFF is delighted to announce that the KIFF 2023 Maureen O’ Hara Award recipient is Actress Eileen Walsh. Walsh’s notable roles include The Van, The Last Bus Home, When Brendan met Trudy, The Magdalene Sisters, Pure Mule, Eden, and Catastrophe, to name a few. She is also a revered stage actor, having recently starred in the Lyndsey Turner directed film The Crucible (Winner of Best Revival nomination – Olivier Awards 2023), and Girl on an Alter directed by Annabelle Comyn.

KIFF is thrilled to be presenting Eileen Walsh with the KIFF 2023 Maureen O’ Hara Award on Friday, 20 October at Randles Hotel Killarney, via their ‘In Conversation with Eileen Walsh’ event. KIFF Programme Director, Declan Lynch, said, ‘Eileen is one of Ireland’s finest actors, her inclusion as a Maureen O’Hara award recipient is an opportunity for us to reflect on her unique and singular career to date. We look forward to welcoming Eileen to Killarney in October.’

Speaking about receiving the Maureen O’ Hara Award Eileen Walsh said, ‘There’s a photo of me and my sister Bernadette sitting on a picnic bench. I had taken a chunk of my communion money and bought a beige t-shirt and matching skirt. I pulled my knee socks up and smiled for the camera. My parents had brought us for a day trip to see The Quiet Man house. I thought I was as beautiful as she was as I sat on the picnic table. My dad insisted he’d try the healthy water spring which smelt awful and tasted worse, although through his twisted face and appalled eyes he squeezed the words ‘Ah it’s not that bad’. I’m so delighted to receive this Maureen O Hara award, her films are one thing, but her lasting friendships and continued collaborations with directors and actors is a thing to admire and aspire to. As a proud Cork woman, I’m only sorry it’s the Kingdom of Kerry that got there first to give me such an award. Míle Buíochas.’

The opening night of the festival will be celebrated with a reception hosted by Randles Hotel Killarney on Thursday 19 October, which will be followed by a screening of KIFF’s opening film for 2023, Michael Holly and Mieke Vanmechelen’s Hungry Hill – in the IMC Killarney. This Irish documentary explores the lives of sheep farmers in West Cork, and co-directors Mieke Vanmechelen and Michael Holly present a remote and proud community and explore the difficult issues around sustainable farming. It’s a brilliant feature that thrilled at KIFF’s sold-out special screening at the Kenmare Mart this past August, and the festival is honoured to open KIFF 2023 with such a strong local film. Mieke Vanmechelen has been Kerry’s Filmmaker in residence for the past three years, and KIFF are looking forward to welcoming the cast and crew for a special opening night Gala in celebration of this wonderful film. 

Other Irish highlights across KIFF 2023 include Dubliner Patricia Kelly’s debut drama ‘Verdigris’ starring Geraldine McAlinden who shines as Marian, a middle-class retired woman who forms an unexpected bond with a challenging inner-city teen played by the impressive Maya O’Shea. Adapted from Roddy Doyle’s book of the same title, A Greyhound of a Girl is the latest feature offering from Italian animator Enzo d’Alo (How the Toys Saved Christmas, 2012’s Pinocchio). As magical as it is funny, the title is sure to please children and parents alike. On a darker theme and with similar premises, that of sleep deprivation, KIFF is presenting a double bill featuring John Farrelly’s ‘The Sleep Experiment’ and Ian Hunt-Duffy ‘Double Blind’. 

This year also boasts a strong line-up of documentaries both Irish and international, including Nina Menkes’s Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power. It’s a powerful piece on the politics of gender in Hollywood. Friday’s programme includes two strong music documentaries in Sarah Share’s The Graceless Age – The Ballad of John Murry and Michael McGlynn’s M’ANAM : Between Two Worlds. On Saturday KIFF are showcasing Aurélio Michiles’s chilling feature Secrets from Putumayo, an engaging tale of the investigations of Roger Casement in the jungles of South America. 

Féach/Éist! This year KIFF is also adding some unique live experiences to its programme. Each event is based on a theme of film making. SCORE, SOUND AND SCRIPT. On the theme of Sound, KIFF presented the students of Kerry College with an unusual audiovisual storytelling challenge. They have been asked to create a visual narrative based on Molly O’Mahony’s debut album ‘The House of David’. Molly O’Mahony will perform live in St. Mary’s Church on Friday October 20 in what promises to be a special live visual and musical experience. On Saturday October 21 at IMC and Sunday October 22 at Siamsa Tíre, Symphonic Sapheads Little John Nee and Fionn Robinson perform an incredible live score celebration of Buster Keaton’s 1924 comedy classic ‘Sherlock Junior’. It’s a hilarious cinema experience suitable for all the family. This is followed by DreamGun’s bizarre and outrageous ‘Script Reads’ show. DreamGun will be performing the script of James Cameron’s Titanic in what promises to be a classic night out. 

FRINGE FESTIVAL CLUB. This year the festival has decided to expand its programme by partnering with VHSclub6 to launch KIFF club, which is a video rental club, mini cinema and a nightclub.

KIFF WELCOMES UKRAINE. Following the great success of last year’s screening of ‘Be Brave LIke Ukraine, KIFF are delighted to be screening another Ukrainian film. Antonio Lukich’s thrilling, funny, and dramatic feature Luxembourg, Luxembourg will screen at the IMC Killarney, Sunday 22 October at 6.30pm.

SURPRISE FINISH. This year’s closing film remains a closely guarded secret so keep your ear to the ground and an eye on our social channels to be kept up to date.

BIG SHORTS. At the heart of KIFF programming is short films, and this year’s selection is no different. Once again KIFF is bringing a wide variety of Kerry, Irish and International titles to the Kingdom, showcasing the work of established and emerging film-makers. 

All of the above films will be in competition for the prestigious KIFF 2023 Awards. The winners will be announced on Sunday 23rd October at the KIFF Awards brunch, which is very generously hosted by the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney.

Alongside this robust selection of screenings, KIFF will host a selection of industry events and talks. In addition to ‘In Conversation with Eileen Walsh’ on Friday 20 October, KIFF is delighted to partner with the National Talent Academies and Kerry’s own Ailbhe Keogan, to present a 90 minute masterclass The Craft of Transitioning from Shorts to TV. Ailbhe will be joined by screenwriter Cara Loftus (Spilt Milk) and director Mia Mullarkey (Safe as Houses, Mother & Baby). National Talent Academies also supports a second educational session A Guide to Professional Production Crew for Beginners hosted by Karl King. Both events take place on Thursday October 19 as part of KIFF’s Industry Day at Anam Arts and Cultural Centre.


Other exciting events on the KIFF 2023 schedule include the ever-popular IFTA Business Networking Event, which will be hosted by the CEO of IFTA, Áine Moriarty, on Saturday 21 October at The Plaza Hotel, Killarney. 

There is something for everybody at KIFF 2023 and the festival would love you to join them in celebration of all things film, and for what promises to be a truly fantastic weekend. Please keep an eye on KIFF’s social media for additional announcements regarding KIFF 2023 films, industry events and talks. 

KIFF 2023 is immensely grateful to their title sponsors, Kerry Airport Ireland, as well as for the invaluable support received from The Arts Council of Ireland and to their key partners including Kerry County Council, Virgin Media Ireland, The Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA), Tower Records Ireland, RTÉ Supporting the Arts, Randles Hotel, the Plaza Hotel, the Great Southern Hotel Killarney and Kerry Broadband, as well as a wealth of local businesses, individuals, and supporters.

All the information on the above and more can be found on KIFF’s website. Tickets, event registration and festival passes will be available to purchase from from