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Film festival not just a round-up of usual suspects

IRELAND's biggest film festival will feature a myriad of special events including a Q&A with Kevin Spacey.

The 'Usual Suspects' star will make his return to the capital for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival -- which begins on February 17 -- to attend a "special interactive screening" of the cult movie, after which he will take questions from the floor.

It will be the actor's first visit to Ireland since 1999, when he spent three months in Dublin shooting 'Ordinary Decent Criminal', the Thaddeus O'Sullivan-directed drama, roughly based on the life of career criminal Martin Cahill, aka 'The General'.

"Kevin really hasn't been back in Ireland since then, so it will be great to have him here talking about one of his own favourite films," said festival director Grainne Humphreys.

She said the screening would take place in a warehouse setting, in keeping with the crime drama, rather than a Dublin cinema.

Father and son team Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez will jet in for the Irish premiere of 'The Way', in which Estevez directs his father in the story of a man who walks a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage path in Spain in his late son's honour.

Over 130 films will be shown at the festival, which opens with 'Submarine', the eagerly awaited directorial debut of 'IT Crowd' actor Richard Ayoade.

Other highlights include Irish premieres of George Nolfi's action-packed 'The Adjustment Bureau' starring Matt Damon; the thriller 'Unknown' featuring Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn; the new Woody Allen film 'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger'; and 'Wake Wood', starring Aiden Gillen, Eva Birthistle and Timothy Spall.

Documentaries also feature, with Mark Cousins presenting his film 'The First Movie', made by children on the Iraq/Kurdish border who were given cameras to create their own films; along with 'The Big Uneasy', a film by Harry Shearer, the voice from 'The Simpsons', which is his expose on the reaction to Hurricane Katrina.


With backers of this year's event including Jameson, the Arts Council, the Irish Film Board and Bord Failte, Ms Humphreys said the festival had not suffered any drop in funding.

"At the same time we are trying to achieve more, and get more done with the same amount of money. This we do with the assistance of actors, filmmakers, studios and our many supporters. It's really all about relationships," she said at the launch in Dublin's Tripod last night.

Tickets for the festival are available on www.jdiff.com

Irish Independent