Dublin International Film Festival returns for 20th anniversary

An Cailín Ciúin

Moe Dunford in Nightride

thumbnail: An Cailín Ciúin
thumbnail: Moe Dunford in Nightride
Seoirse Mulgrew

The programme for the 20th Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (VMDIFF) has been launched.

The festival returns as an in-person event and runs from February 23 to March 6 and opens with Colm Bairéad’s much anticipated An Cailín Ciúin.

Adapted from Claire Keegan’s Foster, An Cailín Ciúin tells the story of a young girl who is sent to live with foster parents from the summer.

Jono McLeod's My Old School will close the festival on March 6.

The film features Alan Cumming who plays the role of Brandon Lee, a notorious Scottish academic imposter. During the 1990s, Lee enrolled at a well to do school in Glasglow. The events that followed made headlines across the country.

Kate Dolan’s highly anticipated psychological thriller You Are Not My Mother will receive its Irish premiere at the Dublin Film Festival after its successful debut in Toronto.

The programme includes films from Ireland and abroad, premieres, gala screenings as well as short films and documentaries.

Other Irish film screenings include, Nathalie Biancheri’s mystery-drama Wolf, Stephen Fingleton’s Belfast thriller Nightride, and the world premiere of Dónal Foreman’s highly anticipated The Cry of Granuaile, Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy’s Irish language feature Róise + Frank, and the documentaries Young Plato and Vicky, a study of cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan.

Actors Carrie Crowley, Alan Cummings, Moe Dunford, and George MacKay will feature in the festival.

Filmmakers and creatives also in attendance include composer and pianist, Neil Brand, Italian writer and director, Nathalie Biancheri, and Adam McKay, director of the Netflix hit Don’t Look Up, who will be presented with a Volta award, the festival’s honour for career achievement.

Moe Dunford in Nightride

Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys said: “We are all thrilled to celebrate our 20th anniversary year as a living, breathing cinematic experience.”

“I am particularly delighted to premiere the superb line up of new Irish films and show these new works alongside their international counterparts. It’s a festival programme which I am extremely proud of, packed with discoveries and gems.”

“I’m thankful as ever to all our partners and friends for their support in helping us to realise a physical festival and to my colleagues for their commitment to making this the best festival possible. It has been a labour of love – so please enjoy.”

The Irish Times’ late film correspondent, Michael Dwyer, launched The Dublin International Film Festival in 2003 and ran it successfully until 2008 when Gráinne Humphreys took over as festival director.

Speaking of the 20th anniversary, President Michael D Higgins said the festival is now “firmly embedded” into Ireland’s cultural calendar.

“This year, once again, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival will showcase work that is brilliant, extraordinary, daring and thought-provoking,” he said.

“Thus enabling, yet again, its audience to enjoy the exceptional talent of new and established filmmakers and actors here in the city of Dublin.”

All of the screenings and events will adhere to government guidelines and Covid safety regulations, the festival said.