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"It seemed unfair that I had to say 'no, you have to wait a while before you can go'"

Audi Dublin International Film Festival is going to feature some programming aimed at young audiences this year – for the first time.

Image: Shutterstock/Karramba Production

THE DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL Film Festival has been the annual way to get a great film fix – but up to now, it has only been open to the over-18s.

However, a change of sponsor means that rules governing alcohol sponsorship of events won’t apply to the DIFF, so it can begin to include events for families.

Audi was named as the new sponsor of DIFF yesterday. The title sponsorship will last for three years. The festival – which will take place from 18 – 28 February 2016 – has brought many Hollywood stars to Ireland over the past 12 years.

A new chapter

Gaby Smyth, Chair of the Festival Board, said that the new partnership with Audi “marks the beginning of a fantastic new chapter for the festival”.

Audi has a long history of partnering with the creative arts, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs), the Berlinale Festival and the Emmy Awards.

Plans are well underway for the 2016 ADIFF, with some exciting pre-Christmas programme announcements imminent.

Director of ADIFF, Gráinne Humphreys, said that the news was “fantastic”.

We can open up the programme to younger audiences, which is something that has always been intriguing.

She described festivals with programming for children as “a crucial space where people start their love of cinema”.

The other element is Audi have been working for a number of years with a number of prestigious film festivals, so it’s really exciting from that point of view.

Programming for the festival is currently underway, with a big announcement about guests due before Christmas. The ADIFF will launch in January.

Focus on Ireland

“It’s a really interesting year,” said Humphreys. “There has been lots of new Irish work, which is fantastic, and there’s a lot of buzz around Irish cinema. From that point of view, I think the festival is really well positioned to give a sense of where the wind is blowing.”

Humphreys said that they will be looking for films for the new broader audience, including films that come within specific themes that are of interest to a younger audience “and not having to exclude them”.

She added that there is a “perception that subtitled films are too complicated, or there’s a sort of darkness about film festivals. A lot of the time there isn’t. There are broad comedies, films about beautiful stories about friendship between strangers, and [other types of films].”

As this is the first year of the broader remit, programming for younger people will be piloted this year. It’s something that Humphreys is welcoming from a business but also a personal perspective.

“I have a young nephew. From my point of view, it always seemed really unfair that I had to say ‘no, you have to wait a while before you can go to a film festival’,” she said.

Sing Street

John Carney’s latest film Sing Street will open next year’s ADIFF, it was announced today. It’s a coming-of-age film set in 1980s Dublin and stars Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Jack Reynor.

“I’m excited to have Sing Street premiere at the Festival,” said Carney. “The film loosely charts my own experiences as a skinny kid in a pretty rough-and-tumble school in the mid 80s in Dublin. I invite any of the school bullies from back then (teachers included), to the screening, where I will publicly fight them.”

For more information, visit the ADIFF site

Read: Dublin taxi drivers want to tell you their stories>

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