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Here's what's in store for this year's Dublin International Film Festival

Highlights will include the Irish premieres of Papi Chulo and Eighth Grade.

Papi Chulo
Papi Chulo

FILM FANS REJOICE – the 17th Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival returns to the capital in just under a month.

The highlights of the major Irish film event, which runs from 20 February to 3 March, has just been announced. The event will feature over 125 events including local and international feature films, short films and documentaries, along with a children’s and young people’s programme and special events featuring industry leaders. 

This year’s Opening Gala will be the Irish premiere of Papi Chulo, the new film from Irish director John Butler (Handsome Devil and The Stag). He’ll be joined on the red carpet by the stars of the film Matt Bomer (A Normal Heart, Magic Mike) and his co-star Alejandro Patiño.

Papi Chulo is a comedy drama about a rich, lonely, gay TV weatherman who strikes up a friendship with an older straight migrant worker from Mexico.

Stephen Merchant will also visit the festival for the premiere of his new movie, Fighting With My Family, about the rise of WWE Superstar Paige. 

Killarney actor Jessie Buckley will attend the festival with her new film Wild Rose for the Closing Gala. Other high-profile guests due to take part in the festival include Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour), Lucy Fry (Wolf Creek) and Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver) who visit for the world premiere of She’s Missing.

Festival director Grainne Humphreys said: “We’ve found some fantastic titles for this year and we’re looking forward to sharing these discoveries.”

Features

If it’s homegrown films you’re looking for, Virgin Media DIFF will have a number for you.

Neil Jordan’s Greta, a psychological thriller about a lonely, mysterious widow whose friendship with a naïve young woman becomes increasingly disturbing. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz alongside César Award-winning French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Dark Lies The Island, written by Irish author Kevin Barry and starring Pat Shortt, Charlie Murphy, Tommy Tiernan and Moe Dunford, is a black comedy about a small Irish town over a week-long period.

Moving to real life, documentary Maiden is about the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989, which featured Irish woman Angela Heath on the crew. Irish-produced Shooting the Mafia, Kim Longinotto’s documentary about the Sicilian Mafia, will also be shown.

The world premiere of Land Without God will also be shown – this focuses on Mannix Flynn and his family as they recall the effects of decades of institutional abuse.

When it comes to shorts, the festival will show Psychic, the directorial debut of Brendan Gleeson, about a charismatic psychic and his two manipulative sons who are gaining a cult following, played by his real-life sons Domhnall and Brian.

Oscar longlisted short Wren Boys is the story of a Catholic priest from Cork who drives his nephew to prison to marry a maverick gay inmate on St Stephen’s Day; while War Paint, written by and starring Yasmine Akram, is about a narcissist who befriends a despondent loner from her book club.

This year there will also be the Inspirations Strand, featuring movies chosen by some of Ireland’s best loved authors. Tana French selected Peter Weir’s classic Picnic At A Hanging Rock; Liz Nugent chose Perfume: The Story of a Murderer starring Ben Whishaw as a perfumier who uses the scents most evocative to him to create unique fragrances; and Sinead Gleeson picked Stanley Kubrick’s cult horror The Shining.

Virgin Media DIFF will also recognise the new generation of film talent through the Discovery Award.

The 2019 nominees are:

  • Writer/directors Alexandra McGuinness (She’s Missing), Oonagh Kearney (Five Letters To The Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain) and Shane Collins (Dub Daze)
  • Writers Darach McGarrigle (Low Tide) and Jonathan Hughes (Mother, Mary)
  • Director Ian Hunt Duffy (Low Tide), Production Designer & Art Director Alice Vignoles-Russell (The Trap)
  • Make Up Artist Madonna Bambino (Low Tide)
  • Producer Roisín Geraghty (Five Letters To The Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain).

The Fantastic Flix strand of the festival is for younger movie fans and will include The Muppet Movie, Rosie & Moussa and Kenyan film Rafiki, and Eighth Grade (director Bo Burnham will be visiting for the premiere of this).

On top of that, there will be the surprise film, whose identity is only known to the festival director. 

For the full line-up, and to buy tickets, visit www.diff.ie

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