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The kids may be back in school but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a good family day out at the movies before the autumn season really kicks in. The Irish Film Institute has you covered with starting from this Friday with a fun-filled festival of family-friendly films. The IFI Family Festival 2018 is packed with movies and events to foster the young film fans in your life, from August 31st to September 2nd.

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From Boulder to Brown Bag to Mooshku and more, Dublin is a developing hub of animation and every year, the Dublin Animation Film Festival celebrates the best of the format, both Irish and internationally. This October sees the festival return for its 8th edition, and submissions for animators are open now.

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One of the highlights of the calendar every year in the fair city of film, the GAZE LGBT Film Festival is shaping up to have one of its most packed programmes yet. There’s loads to see and do during the festival, which takes place this year from the 2nd to the 6th of August, but we’ve picked out a couple of highlights for you to help you plan your own festival schedule. Narrowing it down to six picks was hard enough, considering how many intriguing screenings and events are taking place (we originally had five and just had to add more), but these are some of the most can’t miss moments during a great weekend to come.

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Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía Running Time: 109 minutes


Though they have been drawn some criticism in the last few years for their reliance on sequels, Pixar can still be relied on to create imaginative worlds filled with fun characters, as the beloved Inside Out proved not so long ago. They also, crucially, never talk down to the kids that there films are aimed at (okay, apart from the Cars series, mostly), imparting lessons without moralising, giving something to take away from viewings beyond bright colours and catchy tunes.  Their latest feature Coco is as colourful as they come, and even leans slightly more in the Disney direction with the number of songs it features, but rest assured, this is a Pixar movie with both a brain and a heart. Even if it doesn’t always look like it, considering how many skeletons are around.

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Since 2012, the Fingal Film Festival has spotlighted local independent filmmaking and showcased emerging local, national and international talents. This year will see the festival bigger than ever, as it’s been revamped into the Fingal Film & Arts Festival, a 3 day event this August that offers the people of Fingal a line-up of indie film, music and comedy with top-quality production and entertainment, with festival organisers excited to create “the ultimate summer festival experience on your door step”.

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Set to take place in 2018, the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival is Ireland’s latest international film festival dedicated to filmmakers exclusively using mobile devices. The festival will screen a host of short film, documentary, animation and music videos, with industry and educational workshops as well as a few surprises.

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Director: Chris McKay Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes Running Time: 104 minutes


If there’s one thing the last decade of films by Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder have made abundantly clear, it’s that Batman can be rather a miserable fellow. You might not have heard, but his parents were murdered by a criminal and he processed this tragedy via a lot of punching, gutteral yelling and, with the deftness that only Visionary Director Zack Snyder could muster, by branding deviant criminals with a bat-branding iron so that they can actually be murdered in prison. One of the brightest spots in the surprise hit The Lego Movie in 2014 was its willingness to lighten up the Dark Knight a bit, playing up his serious streak into something over the top, egotistical and adolescent for big laughs. Lego Batman was such a treat that he’s been given a spin-off movie of his very own, a fun kid-pleaser that also shows a pretty good understanding of how Lego Batman’s Lego mind works.

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Directors: John Musker & Ron Clements Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jermaine Clement, Nicole Sherzinger, Alan Tudyk Running Time: 113 minutes


From the release of Mulan in 1998 onwards, Disney animation has aimed for a more proactive set of Princesses, girls who take a more active role in their own story without having to be rescued by a handsome, strong-chinned hero. While refining that process, Disney has still stuck to the same basic structure for the Princess side of their animation department, with songs, animal sidekicks and heroes who just need to believe in themselves. Moana undoubtedly follows that same Disney formula, but if the songs are good, the animal sidekicks are funny and the heroes are worth believing in, who cares?

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The Academy Award nominated film Anomalisa will open the Dublin Animation Film Festival, which takes place at the Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire at 12pm on the 22nd October 2016. Director Duke Johnson will take part in a Q and A following the film, before an afternoon showcasing new talents in Irish animation.

Co-directed by Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, stop-motion film Anomalisa is the story of an introverted customer service agent who perveives everyone around him as looking like the same unexceptional man, including his wife and child. This continues until he meets a unique-appearing women in a Cincinnati hotel. Featuting the voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, Anomalisa was nominated for the Best Animated Feature for 2015 Academy Awards. Duke Johnson was no stranger to melancholy animation before working with Kaufman, having previously directed episodes of grim Adult Swim show Moral Orel and the Emmy winning stop-motion Community episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas. 

Following Anomalisa will be a series of short animated films from Ireland and abroad, before the festival culminates in the DAFF2016 awards ceremony. The festival ceremony will include an award for ‘The Spirit of 1916’, as well as an Audience Choice award in association with festival sponsor Mutiny Sound. Tickets are available now from the Pavilion Theatre, with the Anomalisa screening costing €8. The short film screenings and award ceremony are free of charge, but advanced booking is advised, so for those hoping to see the next great Irish animators, don’t wait around.