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This January, the first Dublin Smartphone Film Festival took place at the Generator Hostel in Smithfield, a weekend showcasing the possibilities of smartphone filmmaking. With experienced hands like Steven Soderbergh experimenting with the format, its prominence is only growing, but a new generation of directors are taking up their phones and the opportunities accessible tech is affording them to create films of their own. Two such emerging talents are Matthew Roche and Elliot Milofsky, independent Irish film-makers currently studying Philosophy in Dublin. As part of ‘Extra Extra’, the pair just finished their latest short film Lady Luck, a submission for the Moment Invitational Film Festival. Their last short film Far won “Best Irish Film” at the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival and even since then the pair have been directing more shorts, all completed only with a smartphone. Film In Dublin spoke with the pair about their efforts in filmmaking and in getting others to realise the potential of the phones in their pockets.

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It has been a year. In 2017 there was a lot for film fans to contemplate, but in what they say on the screen and in the wider film business. Month after month, entertaining, challenging and interesting films found their way onto Irish screens, either from Hollywood or any number of our own talented Irish directors. It was a year where the sickeningly pervasive culture of abuse in cinema was thrust into the headlines by brave survivors no longer willing to suffer in silence. It was also a year in great filmmaking, where talented, diverse directors were given the opportunity to show their talent, several for the first time, where performances transported us just as believably to the far-off future, the underprivileged, overlooked present and even outside the fluid realm of time altogether. This is Film In Dublin’s list of the best films of 2017, the films that moved us, entertained us, opened our eyes and otherwise expressed everything that cinema is meant to be, in a year that showed that cinema doesn’t always achieve those lofty ideals behind the scenes.

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Director: Sean Baker  Starring: Brooklyn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones  Runtime: 115 Minutes

For decades, Disney World Florida has served as a cornerstone of childhoods and imaginations across the globe. Every year millions of visitors flood its ticket booths in search of the infamous “magic” that Disney has to offer. Within the park’s walls, guests are welcomed to a world unlike their own: castles stretch to dizzying heights, magnificent firework displays light up the night sky, and fairytales come to life before your very eyes.

Beyond its boundaries, however, the same magic and wonder is harder to find. In the theme park’s shadows, strip malls, run-down hotels and sun-drenched swampland stretch for miles. The families in the encompassing areas struggle to hold onto what little they have. It is in this economic wasteland that the modern face of homelessness shows itself. Families move desperately from hotel to hotel in search of permanent accommodation. Rising rents determine what little luxuries they can afford. Jobs are hard to come by.

It is this world, however, that 6-year old Moonee and her friends embrace as their own private wonderland. On the margins of Disneyland and, indeed, of life, the young children search for magic around every corner, oblivious to the harsh reality of their circumstances.

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