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Monday 27 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Paul Mescal and Emily Watson in God's Creatures, which will open the 2023 Dublin International Film Festival.
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Dublin International Film Festival launches packed programme including Jane Seymour and Paul Mescal
Emily Watson and Aidan Gillen will also take part in this year’s Festival.

THE DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL Film Festival has launched its festival programme and will host onscreen talents including Oscar-nominated Paul Mescal, Emily Watson, and Jane Seymour.

Aidan Gillen will also take part in the festival alongside filmmakers and creatives including Jim Sheridan and Robbie Ryan.

The Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF) is Ireland’s premier film event and will run from 23 February to 4 March.

Last year’s festival opened with An Cailín Ciúin, which has gone on to achieve international success and has been nominated for an Oscar in the International Feature Film category.

This year’s opener is the hugely anticipated Irish feature God’s Creatures, which is a psychological drama starring Emily Watson and Paul Mescal, both of whom will be in Dublin for the Gala Screening.

Written by Shane Crowley and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, it features Mescal as a son who returns unexpectedly from Australia into the life of his mother, who manages a factory in a fishing village, played by Emily Watson.

gods-creatures Photo Credit: Enda Bowe Emily Watson and Paul Mescal in God's Creatures. Photo Credit: Enda Bowe

The Festival has also announced that this year’s Volta awardee is the aforementioned Emily Watson.

DIFF created the Volta Award in 2007 to celebrate the careers of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the world of film and previous awardees include Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Colin Firth.

The award is named after the Volta Picture Theatre, Ireland’s first dedicated cinema, which was opened on Mary Street in Dublin in 1909 by James Joyce. 

Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys said the DIFF is “a product of the environment it lives and breathes in and the community it is built on”.

Humphreys added: “As our city and our film community has changed over recent years, we felt it was also important that we change as a festival.”

While previous iterations of the festival have had a title sponsor, Humphreys said: “Now, for the first time, we felt it was important to work with a broader community of supporters, industry partners, artists and film-makers, and to reimagine what Dublin International Film Festival could be.”

Humphreys added that she is extremely proud of the programme that is “packed with discoveries and gems”.

Meanwhile, Chair of the Festival Trish Long also noted this new direction in terms of sponsorship: “Our world has changed, our industry has changed, and I’m proud of how our film festival has embraced that change and is meeting it head on.

“Previous iterations have had a sponsor but now we felt it was important to work with a broader community of artists and filmmakers, the Arts Council of Ireland and Ccreen Ireland. Without the backbone of these partnerships we simply could not deliver this festival.” 

Other standout events include a celebration the life and work of the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress the iconic Jane Seymour, in conversation with Rick O’Shea.

The Festival will also present a slate of new Irish films, including the world premieres of Fintan Connelly’s film noir Barber, starring Aidan Gillen.

BARBER_AIDAN_GILLEN_CAMILLE_O'SULLIVAN_28 Aidan Gillen and Camille O'Sullivan in Barber.

The Irish documentary season is another highlight and this year’s Festival Closing Gala will be Fergus Dowd and Joe Lee’s 406 Days. 

It recounts the story of those involved in the 2020 Debenhams picket, Ireland’s longest running industrial dispute.

Dublin Henry St 3 Picket Line Henry Street in Dublin during the 2020 Debenhams picket.

Elsewhere, Ireland’s relationship with the Catholic Church will be explored via Sinead O’Shea’s Pray for our Sinners and Margo Harkin’s insightful look at the Mother and Baby Home scandal in Stolen.

There will also be opportunities to listen to filmmakers from across the world, with the Festival’s European and World Cinema seasons having a wide selection of screenings with Q&As.

A selection of features and shorts from the Festival will also be available online, as well as online only exclusives including interviews with best-selling authors Neil Gaiman and Leïla Slimani.

And in celebration of the 21st edition of the Festival, DIFF is taking on two new initiatives; Dublin on Screen and DIFF & Beyond.

Dublin on Screen will present a range of shorts by both established and younger filmmakers showcasing Dublin, including a new short film from Damien O’Donnell (East is East) and the short film ‘Heart of Dublin’.

Meanwhile, In DIFF & Beyond, the Festival celebrates its commitment to the film culture of Dublin bringing the programme and a series of public events to new audiences with five partner venues across the city, including TU Grangegorman and The Circular, Rialto.

-With additional reporting from Carl Kinsella

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