Tag Archives: Cork Film Festival

The Internet & Me at Cork Film Festival

In November 2016 Rich Pickings presented The Internet & Me, a short film programme and panel discussion at Cork Film Festival.

Speakers included: Dr. Jurek Kirakowski, a psychologist specialising in human-computer interaction; Adam Butcher, an award-winning writer/director; Carla MacKinnon, curator of the short film programme and James Mullighan, Director of Cork Film Festival.

The short films screened were a diverse mix of live action and animation, fiction and documentary. The panel discussion allowed filmmaker Adam Butcher to give further insight into the two films he had in the programme and the challenges of representing the digital space in an an engaging and authentic way on film. There was also a broader discussion about the impact of the internet on human psychology.

You can watch some of the discussion and some of the films in the videos below. You can also read a blog post about some of the films by the event curator here.

Films screened included:

A Date With An Enfield (Dir. Adam Butcher) 

Guy 101 (Dir. Ian W. Gouldstone)

Avatar Days (Dir. Gavin Kelly, Piranha Entertainment) 

Bradley Manning Had Secrets (Dir. Adam Butcher)

Everyone Is Waiting for Something to Happen (Dir. Emma Calder)

Noah (Dir. Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman)

Upcoming event: The Internet & Me

Presented in partnership with Cork Film Festival, Sunday November 13th, 1pm, Triskel Christchurch, Cork

In the last ten years, our lives have been increasingly lived online. We look to the Internet to support our social interactions, romantic adventures, professional identities, financial affairs, entertainment and commerce needs and a million other aspects of our day to day life.

Through a compelling programme of short film and discussion, this event looks at the wonder and horror of the ubiquitous Internet and the impact it is having on us personally and collectively. In the films we follow characters who are searching – for love, connection, sex, truth, escape – in the digital world. Some find fulfilment, others are left frustrated or worse. From the heart-stopping to the heartwarming, these films will stay in your mind and lead you to pause for thought next time you log on.


Dr. Jurek Kirakowski is the retired Statutory Lecturer in Applied Psychology at University College Cork. His main area of research is human-computer interaction – the study of the relationship between humans and the IT tools we create.
See his personal bio at uxp.ie/people/jzk

Adam Butcher is an award-winning writer/director, exploring a variety of unique visual and storytelling styles. His short films have played at festivals across the globe, most recently his short The Prevailing Winds premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. He is  developing a feature film based on his viral short Internet Story.

Carla MacKinnon is director of Rich Pickings, curator of the short film programme and a lecturer and PhD candidate in Animation.

The panel will be hosted by James Mullighan, Director of Cork Film Festival.


Bradley Manning Had Secrets (Dir. Adam Butcher)

The story of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley), not as a Wikileaks ‘hacktivist’, but as a young American soldier simultaneously going through a crisis-of-conscience and a crisis-of-gender-identity. Animated in a rotoscoped pixel-art style and using dialogue from Chelsea’s online conversations, the film explores issues of personal and political secrets, digital identity and alienation.

Everyone Is Waiting for Something to Happen (Dir. Emma Calder)


Prior to being diagnosed with bowel cancer Richard Wright, an artist/animator, had a social media persona that was characterised by annoying and anarchic humour. After initially feeling unable to communicate at all, his healing process became entwined with the resurrection of his social media presence, helped by an obsessive regime of baking.

Avatar Days (Dir. Gavin Kelly, Piranha Entertainment) 

Players of Online Roleplaying Games reflect on their relationship with an intoxicating virtual world while going about their daily lives. In a surreal twist we encounter their ingame characters, inhabiting a banal urban landscape and providing a provocative visual backdrop to the unfolding thoughts of our virtual heroes.

Noah (Dir. Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman)

Told completely on a teen’s computer screen, Noah finds out the difference between a like and a love.

A Date With An Enfield (Dir. Adam Butcher) 

A short, personal animation exploring nostalgia and place in the digital age. Every frame of the film has been hand drawn, creating a space where love, myth and Google Maps can intertwine.

Guy 101 (Dir. Ian W. Gouldstone)guy101
A man hears a story about a hitchhiker from the other side of the internet.





Illuminate at Cork Film Festival


We’re currently collaborating with Cork Film Festival to develop some fabulous science-film-art-and-discussion events for their 2015 festival. If you don’t want to wait a year though, we’d suggest you get over to Cork this month (12th – 15th November) for Illuminate, their film and discussion strand focusing on mental health. Building on the Battle for the Brain programme which was co-curated for the festival last year by Rich Pickings, Illuminate features films and discussion with some of Ireland’s leading artists, filmmakers, clinicians, lawyers, psychiatrists and philosophers.

The programme includes Out of Mind, Out of Sight, a powerful film by Emmy award-winning filmmaker John Kastner who spoke as part of Rich Pickings’ programme last year. The film looks at what happens to people who suffer from mental illnesses and have committed violent crimes. Kastner gained unprecedented access to a forensic psychiatric hospital and follows the treatment of patients struggling to gain control over their lives, so they can return to a society that often fears them. Speakers at the event include: John Kastner; Professor Harry Kennedy, Director of the Central Mental Hospital and lecturer of Forensic Psychiatry TCD; and Aine Hynes, Chair of the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association and practicing expert in Mental Health Law.

Check out the full programme here: www.corkfilmfest.org/2014/festival-events/illuminate/


Bioprinting, Babies and Nanotech Chat at Open City 


Our Rewiring The Body event, originally programmed for Cork Film Festival, returned in a rebooted, expanded programme for Open City Docs Fest last week. The event explored ‘the intersection of technology and the flesh’ with a series of short films covering everything from plastic surgery to 3D printed prothetic limbs, from cyborgs to synthetic organs and from the imagined social hierarchy of future body augmentation to life-saving breakthroughs right now. The films ranged from documentary to animation, experimental and sci-fi work.

We also welcomed two excellent speakers to the event. Up first, artist and designer Agatha Haines asked us the question ‘Are Two Heads Better Than One?’, looking at the idea of forced evolution (or human body design). If we can see the human body as a system of interchangeable parts, what would stop us “searching for better components than we have now”?

Using the Frankenstein story as a starting point Agi soon showed the modern Dr Frankenstein not as a madman in a dark cellar, but as a rather mild looking man in a lab coat. Rather than a monster, we see a layer of chicken heart cells beating inside a petri dish. This wasn’t dissected from an intact heart, Agi explains. It wasn’t even grown in a lab. Instead it was ‘printed’ by a bioprinter. This can can print tissues and organs layer by layer (much like a ‘normal 3D printer) forming a 3d structure by replacing ink with cells. Agi asked us to think of the impact a technology like this could have on life expectancies and organ transplant.

While body augmentation can seem like the territory of sci-fi, Agi listed some of the everyday augmentations we accept as beneficial or necessary – glasses, dental braces, walking sticks. How much further does Neil harbisson, the self-proclaimed cyborg, go by wearing an ‘eyeborg’ – an electronic eye that renders colour into sound allows him to look at colours and hear the shades as frequencies?

The invention came from his frustration at his complete colourblindness. Now he has an extraordinary, unique relationship to colour. Agi listed many other prominent examples of body augmentation – some born of disability, some of curiosity. She also referenced head and foot binding, reminding us that this is by no means a new phenomenon.

Looking to the animal world, Agi showed examples of genetic engineering ranging from the amazing Spider-goat (goats which have been engineered to produce milk with an extra protein which spider silk can be extracted from) to cats that glow as they have been ‘edited’ to include jellyfish genes. 

Agi also touched on issues around IP and ownership of genetically engineered humans, if this becomes a common activity. Referencing the Icarus myth, she asked the question “In a society obsessed with self-improvement, could modification have the potential to alter what it fundamentally means to be human?”

Finally, Agi showed some of her own work – arresting pieces around augmentation of adults (she prototyped a few designs on herself) and babies (she showed some freakishly lifelike models she had made to demonstrate possible applications).

She also showed her designs for hybrid organs bioprinted using human and animal cells. This included an organ designed for people who are at risk of heart attack. Acting as a defibrillator, this organ is designed to recognise when your heart goes into fibrillation and shock it back to normal (using cells from an electric eel). Agi discussed the communications she has had with scientists when designing these imaginary objects and the issues that any attempts at real-world application would have. Despite these issues, the idea and execution is convincing and the idea of this becoming a reality is similtanously alarming and comforting.







The next talk came from Research Scientist Melissa Bovis. Melissa discussed some common misconceptions around nanotechnology – many of these related to the size of what it deals with. She went on to explain that Nanotech operates on the billionth scale…1 billionth of a metre. She showed that it is the very minuteness of the scale that allows scientists to manipulate materials, re-arranging them structurally to create new materials with different properties and behaviours. She gave the example of carbon. Re-arranging the atoms into different structures can give you either diamond, soot ….or carbon nanotubes.

Melissa went on to explain that there is no such thing as a nanobot – at least not in the sense that many people understand them. Conventional robots only exist on the macro scale. However terms like ‘nano cars’, ‘nanogears’ or ‘universal joint nanobot’ are given to nanostructures to describe their shape.  Currently, many of them are theoretical. Melissa showed a montage of dozens of products that rely on nanotechnology in their production, ranging from socks through to glass, cosmetics and many food products. She also talked about her research area, using nanotechnology in administration of cancer drugs, and related areas in which nano composite materials can be used to create grafts of organs and body parts. Read about Melissa’s work in the light-activated delivery of chemotherapeutics here and about her Science Museum Lates here.




Cork Film Festival has launched its very first video on demand initiative in partnership with VODO, with seven shorts and seven features being retailed on a pay what you want basis, alongside bonus content. The package includes films screened as part of Rich Pickings’ events at the festival as well as Devil In The Room, as short film produced by Rich Pickings.

The initiative has three tiers: Pay What you Want (four shorts including Devil In The Room as well as one feature); Beat the Average (three features and three shorts); and Beat the Premium (including Tony Palmer’s recently reissued 1974 Leonard Cohen doc Bird on a Wire, and John Kastner’s prize winner mental health sensational doc Not Criminally Responsible, screened as part of Rich Pickings’ Battle for The Brain event in November).

Not Criminally Responsible

“We’ve been working with Jamie King and the team at VODO since straight after the Fest last year”, said James Mullighan, Creative Director of Cork Film Festival.  The bundle went live on Wednesday 14 May, and runs until Tuesday 3 June. Find it at: Vodo.net/cork


Cork Film Festival

Thanks to the Cork Film Festival for hosting three Rich Pickings events as part of it’s fantastic 2013 programme in November. Triskel Christchurch provided a grand, atmospheric backdrop for a diverse set of events which covered mental health, technology and the body and political activism. We’re looking forward to partnering up with the festival again next year for more forays into the strange, soulful, scientific and sublime.

Q&A with Canadian Filmmaker John Kastner following the screening of his feature documentary NCR: Not Criminally Responsible

Audrey Ewell discusses the genesis of her political feature 99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film as part of ‘Rich Pickings: 99%’ from Cork Film Festival on Vimeo.

Upcoming in Ireland

Rich Pickings have curated three events for the 58th Cork Film Festival in November. Covering themes as diverse as mental health and the law, technology and the body and political activism, these events combine short film, feature film and discussion to explore essential areas of science and society.

You can read an overview here and we’ll be updating it with more information over the next two weeks. The feature films we are screening include John Kastner’s powerful documentary Not Criminally Responsible, which tells the story of a psychotic man who commits a terrible crime, his rehabilitation and ultimately his return to the community. Meanwhile 99%, a collaboratively made film from the Occupy Wall Street collective, gives an inside view of the processes and issues behind one of the most exciting and powerful political movements that America has seen this century.

We’ll also be screening some brilliant short animations, dramas and documentaries looking at subjects from PTSD to cyborgs and from 3D printed prosthetics to global food distribution. The Festival looks as if it is going to be a belter so check out the programme and get there if you can!