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Established in 1999 by Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young, Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon has released exactly 3 feature length films. All 3 have received Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature Film.

If you get the chance to see The Breadwinner, a poignant and uplifting exploration of a young girl’s life growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan, you’re likely to understand why.

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Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk Runtime: 116 minutes

Steven Spielberg’s name has long been synonymous with the Great Hollywood Blockbuster. When we hear the name Spielberg, we imagine runaway boulders, we feel the ground quiver under the weight of reptilian feet, we choke on seawater. Hearing that Spielberg was tackling a historical docudrama about a newspaper was a little surprising. But rest assured, The Post is not overwrought history reeled out to humour a director’s quirk. The Post documents a defining moment for the Washington Post newspaper, with deep resonance in the current political climate.

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Director: Jake Kasdan Runtime: 119 mins Starring: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston, Kevin Hart,  Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

Don’t adjust your screens, that is not a typo. Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is a disappointment. But it’s not for the reasons you might expect. We’re used to sequels coming years after their originals these days, and in this respect the film actually has a lot going for it. In a similar vein to Jurassic World’s comment that ‘Kids aren’t impressed by dinosaurs anymore’, young Colin Hanks asks ‘Who even plays boardgames anymore?’ as a teen in 1996. Jumanji decides to update itself, becoming a wooden video game console overnight and next thing we know Hanks’ disappearance is still a local legend 20 years on.

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Director: Hany Abu-Assad Starring: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Austin the Dog, Raleigh the Dog Running time: 103 mins

The Mountain Between Us opens on Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) with a skilled American accent and an arsenal of questions, a complete contrast to Ben’s (Idris Elba) British stoic suave. They are total strangers, thrown together by bad weather and circumstance. They arrive at the airport to find out all flights to Denver are cancelled, but with Ben flying out to perform a surgery and Alex trying to make it to her wedding, they can’t wait until the next morning. Alex charters a plane, piloted by a sweet old man and his faithful dog, and having overheard his troubles, she invites Ben to tag along. Disaster ensues.

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Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Candice Bergen, Nico Alexander, Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky Running Time: 97 minutes

First off, Home Again is not a rom-com. Don’t listen to what the critics want to tell you. It follows Alice, played with aplomb by Reese Witherspoon, who has recently left her man-child husband (Michael Sheen) in New York and returned to the restorative comforts of Los Angeles. With the help of her mother, she reclaims her identity and finds fulfilment.

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Director: Stephen Burke Starring: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, Martin McCann Running Time: 92 minutes

Maze tells the story of the mass breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from the HMP Maze prison, which was built specifically for them, in 1983.

Maze‘s efforts to humanise all sides of the Troubles, including those suffering on the side lines, make it a compelling watch. Stephen Rennick’s gentle soundtrack and the cool blues of the prison are sublime.

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Gender Equality is becoming a bit of a buzz phrase to gain good PR in the entertainment industry. But when the BBC published their pay gap, and with film stars regularly coming out about their struggles for pay parity, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go to reach true equality.
Creative Europe Desk Ireland MEDIA & Women in Film and Television Ireland have put together an event looking at European strategies to achieve gender balance in the film and television industries. This free seminar takes a practical approach by collecting successful women working within the industry and getting them to share their experiences, and struggles.

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Although the craggy Yorkshire landscape could easily have dominated this film, instead it provides an excellent backdrop to the delicate human story at play. God’s Own Country tells the story of Johnny Saxby, a man who exploits his position on an isolated country farm to impose emotional distance on everyone he meets. Until Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, comes to help out during lambing season.

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With the year that’s in it, it’s perhaps easy to imagine that we have reached gender parity in the film industry (or in Hollywood at least), what with Patty Jenkins behind the biggest blockbuster of the year and the success of female-driven stories like Atomic Blonde and The Beguiled. But considering Jenkins hadn’t directed a film for around 14 years since her debut, neither Marvel or DC had released a female-centric story in this decade of endless superhero movies and the percentage of films directed by women is the same as it was in 1998, we clearly have more steps to take. So we here at Film In Dublin have an announcement…

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