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The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019 has begun! Already the year’s seminal celebration of cinema in the fair city of film has held numerous exciting events. Just this morning, Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach hosted a workshop with Sean Bailey of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, engaging Irish industry professionals with one of the most prominent players. Young minds got a chance to have an early look at The Kid Who Would Be King, Joe Cornish’s exciting family adventure film. There’s a lot to keep track of and the festival hasn’t even had it’s Opening Gala yet, formally launching tonight with the Irish premiere of John Butler’s latest film, Papi Chulo .To help our readers navigate through this fantastic fortnight of film, we’ve picked out a couple of highlights from this year’s programme. You can check out the full schedule here but before then, make sure to give our highlights a look:

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Ahead of the release of Irish horror The Hole in the Ground, Film In Dublin caught up with director Lee Cronin and star Séana Kerslake to chat about filming in the forest, working with young actor James Quinn Markey and more.

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In Direct Line, Film In Dublin cuts to the chase, asking 20 questions of Ireland’s directors to get a brief look into their outlooks, influences and inspirations.

Hazardous Materials is a short film that looks at anxiety completely visually, without spoken dialogue, in an effort to convey something of the main character’s perspective on the world. Nora has trouble talking to anyone, and is scraping by day to day avoiding contact with people, while Rachel, a well meaning co-worker, wants to bring her out of her shell. When Rachel invites Nora to a house party – how will Nora react? The short has had considerable success at screenings so far, including a UK Premiere for World Mental Health Day and showings at 5 festivals/competitions to date.

Galway-based director Brian O’Brien has directed a number of shorts, but Hazardous Materials marks an impressive step forward for the developing director. Film In Dublin spoke to Brian for the direct line on his work.

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A Quiet Place was a stunning debut from John Krasinski, showing that the horror genre has the scope to be emotionally-intelligent when handled properly. The film follows Lee Abbott (played by John Krasinski), Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and their children, who are struggling to navigate a world overrun by violent aliens who are attracted by any level of noise. The only way to stay safe is to stay silent. Not an easy feat with young children in tow.

For a film built around silence to have such masterful foley is truly impressive; the distinctive clicks the aliens emit send your skin crawling. In limiting shots of the aliens head-on and teasing with glimpses and low angles instead, Krasinski creates and maintains a strong sense of dread which carries the film during its less eventful moments.

But what earns A Quiet Place a space on the best of 2018 list is its successful suturing of the audience into the mindset of its characters. Our fear is borne from what’s at stake for them, not jump scares or gore. We’re on edge because Lee is scared for his little girl, who can’t hear and is therefore the most at risk of making noise. We’re on edge because Evelyn is pregnant and that baby is bound to cry when it’s born.

When a film becomes an award season juggernaut in the way that The Shape of Water did, racking up 87 wins from 243 nominations at a variety of ceremonies, the front-runner sweeping home on the way to Oscar wins that included Best Picture and Best Director, it’s becomes enveloped forever into that context, forever on a pedestal, conversations around it forever centered on which wins it did or didn’t deserve, if it being the most successful film from those who created it makes it the best one, and whether or not its that most useless word in film criticism, “overrated”. Discussing the merits of The Shape of Water is even more difficult than most examples of those discourse victims, as it’s not only the Homecoming King of 2017/2018 Awards Season, it’s also forever the Fish Fucking Movie.

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Mission: Impossible  – Fallout makes this list because the each act of the film on their own are better self-contained action stories than most blockbuster fare put out this year. A stunning triptych on the altar of Tom Cruise’s  self-destructive self-regard, Fallout is built on a thorough reeling through the list of pretty much every set-piece director Christopher McQuarrie can dream up and Cruise can delude himself into being dying (not yet literally) to do. Ethan Hunt dives through the Parisian sky as lightning cackles around him, decimates a bathroom with a totality and violence not usually seen outside of Stephen’s Day jacks-visits, rams trucks into rivers, races motorcycles around every square inch of one of Europe’s largest cities, chases after man mountain Henry Cavill (if he doesn’t crush you, no giant thing will) with a broken foot and with over 90 minutes of his latest mission already clocked, the man and his film haven’t even really gotten started yet. By the time Hunt starts playing Helicopter Conkers in the Himalayas, you’ll be literally floored as you realise you’ve gone way beyond the edge of your seat.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is wholesome teenage fantasy. It tells the story of Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor), a sweet and shy girl who develops crushes very easily but struggles to actually make connections with boys. This will be a bittersweet memory for many, and a fresh of breath air for current teenagers frustrated watching media feed them ideas of breezy confident teens engaging in casual sex (which is fine and real but not the reality for all). Watching this film is akin to curling up with a hot drink at a sleepover and finding out that you’re not as different as you thought.

The film doesn’t ridicule or sneer at its characters, unfortunately this is a rarity for media aimed at teenage girls! We recognise young girls as a lucrative demographic but boy do we hate em for it. Director Susan Johnson deftly explores LJ’s urge to make a connection and by the end we understand that losing her mother young has given Lara Jean a fear of loss so strong that she can’t let any of her crushes get close. There are visual separations and frames throughout the first half of the film to reflect the distance LJ fiercely maintains, this gradually breaks down and the colour palette moves from gentle pastels to sharp vibrant blues and reds when Lara Jean and Peter (Noah Centineo) finally kiss. It’s a well-constructed film which accounts for its mass popularity.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great example of American-Vietnamese representation. Because Lara Jean and her sisters just exist as American-Vietnamese people, it’s there but it’s not signposted constantly because it’s just part of who they are, an aspect of their experience – which is how whiteness and white characters relationship with race is always portrayed.

In Direct Line, Film In Dublin cuts to the chase, asking 20 questions of Ireland’s directors to get a brief look into their outlooks, influences and inspirations.


Short film The Observer Effect is a dark thriller with vivid imagery, telling the story of a man and a woman with a mysterious connection whose paths, when crossed, are destined to lead to a violent end. An impressive debut from director Garret Walsh, with an immersive feeling of dread and remarkable production design, the short has had considerable success on the film festival circuit, showing at the likes of the Richard Harris International Film Festival, the Silk Road Film Festival and more, picking up award nominations and wins along the way.

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Kate Dolan is one of the fastest rising directors working in Ireland at the moment. The last year in particular has seen Kate’s 2017 horror short Catcalls feature at numerous festivals both at Ireland and abroad, including Women in Horror Month, Fantasia, GAZE, Frightfest and more. Kate has also contributed to the rising profile of Irish bands like Bitch Falcon and Pillow Queens through her music video, and is one of the filmmakers chosen by Screen Ireland to take part in their inaugural POV scheme, supporting the development and production of low-budget live action feature films from female Writers and Directors. Kate took a break from writing to talk with Film In Dublin, looking back at the last year and her work, and looking ahead at what’s to come.

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The Firehouse Film Contest is a monthly short film festival held in A4 Sounds on Dorset Street, showcasing the very latest efforts from Irish filmmakers, hot off the press. We’ve got the November results and a chat with one of the winners at this month’s screenings, which took place on November 4th.

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