The Cork Film Festival has announced a new headline sponsor in Barry Fitzwilliam Maxxium, Irish importers of Corona Extra, Absolut Vodka and other products.

Recently appointed Festival chairman Michael O'Connell, welcomed the three-year sponsorship deal of both financial and marketing support for the festival. 'This new sponsorship enables us to bring Ireland's oldest and largest festival to a new level. Film festivals such as Cork's are increasingly expensive to mount and the support of organisations such as the Arts Council and Cork City Council needs to be augmented by partnerships with private companies.'

The Cork Film Festival is in its 52nd year and has an international reputation for its support of the short film as a distinct art form.

The festival expects more than 3,500 entries this year from across the world for its competitive categories - best Irish Short; Prix UIP Cork; a European Film Academy Award for best European short film, and other short film awards.

The festival's audiences have grown steadily with admissions currently standing at more than 35,000 during eight days.

The programme encompasses World Cinema, a Documentary Panorama, an Irish Showcase, short film competitions, Drive-in Movies, silent cinema events and training programmes for young filmmakers. This year's event takes place Oct 14-21.