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Festival highlights revealed for Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020
17 Dec 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival
Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys has announced a snapshot from the forthcoming 2020 programme, a vivid world of film that will animate the capital next spring.

VMDIFF takes place in Dublin from Wednesday 26th February – Sunday 8th March.

Belfast born Mark Cousins’ alternative history of cinema Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema turns the spotlight on women’s integral role in the development of film art, in the form of a 14 hour documentary, screened over the opening weekend of the Festival.

This epic five-part programme featuring contributions from Tilda Swinton, Sharmila Tagore, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Thandie Newton, Kerry Fox, and Debra Winger, Women Make Film overturns our understanding of cinematic history by reminding audiences of the vast, and often overlooked, role played by women in the film industry across the world over the last 11 decades.

The Festival will also host multi-award-winning screenwriter, producer, director and lyricist Charlie Kaufman, who will give a unique insight into his creative process in a public interview with Mark O’Halloran. From Being John Malkovich through to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Anomalisa, Kaufman has created some of cinemas most memorable films and this will be an unmissable event for any cinema lover.

Each year the Festival relishes the opportunity to champion Irish cinema and this year is no exception.  The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Closing Gala will be Herself, the female-led drama directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!The Iron Lady) fresh from its world premiere at Sundance 2020. Herself centres on Sandra (Clare Dunne), a mother who looks to build her life from scratch in order to provide a happy home for her two young daughters, away from a possessive ex-partner.  The stellar cast also features Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill, and Ian-Lloyd Anderson.  Produced by Element Pictures and Merman Films, the film was backed by Screen Ireland, BBC Films and the BFI (with National Lottery funding).  It will be jointly released to Irish and UK cinemas by Element Distribution and Picturehouse Entertainment next year. 

The Festival will also present the stunning Rose Plays Julie, an intense, often edge-of-your-seat story of revenge centering on a young woman searching for her biological mother.  Addressing a deep longing, Rose undertakes a journey that leads her to revelations that are both devastating and dangerous. In another Irish premiere, Sea Fever is a female-driven Irish thriller by BAFTA-winning writer/director Neasa Hardiman. The film sees a marine biology student find herself isolated from her superstitious trawler crew as they struggle to overcome a deadly parasite in their water supply. 

Innocent Boy from Cluster Fox Films, the winner of the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition in August, will also screen at the festival.  Innocent Boy will also be broadcast on Virgin Media Television and Virgin Media on Demand marking the Virgin Media International Film Festival 2020, among other Irish produced films.

Speaking about the festival programme, Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director said:

“Women as filmmakers will be celebrated in Festival 2020, a defining year in the gender parity timeline. Women Make Film is absolutely superb. It’s enthralling in its sweep, scope, and language and is totally addictive. We are honoured to present Herself as our Closing Night Gala, a powerful story about modern Ireland beautifully written and led by Claire Dunne.

“With its exceptionally strong female cast and feminist bent Irish film, Rose Plays Julie is a totally uncompromising, often powerfully unnerving and truly visceral experience with standout performances by Orla Brady and Ann Skelly. Written and directed by writer/director duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, the film will lead out a superb selection of Irish films in the 2020 event. Sci-fi thriller Sea Fever is a breakout project for Irish director and scriptwriter Neasa Hardiman. She has modernised the classic sea monster story, it’s loaded with tension and atmosphere, a fantastic debut feature for Hardiman. It is a joy for us to have Charlie Kaufman as a guest of the festival, the festival has long championed screenwriters and screenwriting and we are truly honoured to welcome one of the most original and vital voices in modern cinema.”  

Paul Farrell, Vice President of Commercial at Virgin Media, said:

“The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival provides a feast of Irish and world cinema, showcasing, in particular, the immense talent and creativity of the Irish film production sector which we’re delighted to support and promote as Ireland’s leading connected entertainment provider.”

Taking place from 26th February to 8th March the 2020 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival will bring the best in world cinema to Dublin connecting audiences to global perspectives alongside an exhilarating robust slate of new Irish films, a testament to the dynamic vigorous film industry here.

The Festival will screen over 110 feature films, documentaries, short films and archive programmes along with special artist tributes, conversations, panels, workshops, and music events. Early Bird Season Tickets and highlight events are now available from the website www.diff.ie. The full festival programme will be revealed in January.

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020 takes place in the capital from Wednesday 26th February – Sunday 8th March.

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