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Director: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Octavia Spencer, Jahzir Bruno, Chris Rock, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 106 mins

When I first saw the trailer for Robert Zemeckis’ new adaptation of The Witches, I couldn’t contain my excitement and immediately sent it round to friends and family. This got reactions varying from lukewarm to stone faced because my loved ones all felt that no one could beat Anjelica Huston’s turn as the Grand High Witch from Nicolas Roeg’s version of The Witches released in 1990. I hadn’t seen that version and so I approached Zemeckis’ film unspoilt by the comparison. Unfortunately, I still didn’t love it!

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The Halloween season is usually a time we’re glued to the big screen here in the fair city of film. Unfortunately the current status of Covid-19 here in Ireland means that all cinemas are shut for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show some of our favourite cinemas some support. At the IFI, the online IFI@Home player is going strong, with the IFI Horrorthon currently in full swing on the online platform.

Meanwhile, Element Pictures have launched a new online shop, so that the adoring patrons of the Light House Cinema and the Pálás can acess some great new gifts and give the venues some much needed revenue. You can now buy Gift Vouchers for the cinemas, exclusive locally designed prints and greeting cards and more on the new Light House Shop.

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There is a richly talented animation industry in Ireland as well as a base of film fans who appreciate the unique artistry the filmmaking format has to offer.  With the support of animation industry folks and local groups, the Dún Laoghaire-based Dublin Animation Film Festival has a strong tradition of celebrating the best of animation at home and abroad. The tenth edition of the festival is set to stream online in the coming days.

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Last night the 2020 edition of the Irish Film and Television Awards took place. Some of the best Irish films in recent years and a number of exciting talents making waves at home and abroad were celebrated on an online evening affirming Ireland’s prominent place in the international film industry.

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The Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, incorporating Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and Smashing Times Youth Arts Ensemble, is dedicated to the promotion, study and practice of the arts and equality.

Based in Dublin 7, the centre operates as an  arts space and digital hub for artists, activists, communities and the general public across Ireland and internationally, providing a resource service and a training and networking agency in relation to using high quality creative processes and collaborative arts practice to promote human rights and equality for all.

This Sunday, they’ll be hosting a documentary screening on Unsilencing Black Voices in Ireland as part of the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival, part of a series of events taking place from Friday 16th – Sunday 25th October 2020.

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The Cineworld cinema chain is set to close all Ireland and UK sites. The Cineworld Dublin cinema on Parnell Street in Dublin city centre had already been closed due to Government restrictions in the county but will nowgo into an indefinite closure along with all UK and many US based venues owned by the company. In the UK, Cineworld is understood to have writen to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden describing the exhibition sector as “unviable” due to studios delaying tentpole releases such as the latest James Bond film: a result of enforced local closures and audiences steering clear of cinemas during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cineworld closures will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk in the UK and Ireland.

Cineworld has not given any further information on when its cinemas may reopen, however they could remain closed until 2021. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger has said, “We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets.”

The UK-based Cineworld Action Group, formed in March in response to staff mistreatment following the initial closure of cinemas as a result of Covid-19, have criticised the company’s lack of communication with staff throughout the pandemic, including consistently receiving news about their jobs via the press and social media.

The Parnell Street cinema location, which has changed hands between cinema chains on several occasions since first opening in 1995, became Dublin’s first IMAX cinema location in 1998. Due to its size and IMAX screen it has frequently been a venue for film premieres and the Dublin International Film Festival, while films from Poland, India and other countries screened in the cinema frequently sell out and hold firm in the Irish box office rankings, as Dublin-based international film fans take the opportunity to reconnect with their local culture. While its potentially permanent loss would be sad for the city, the priority concern is unquestionably the staff who have been left in limbo.

Film In Dublin spoke to a member of staff from the Dublin branch to receive their account of communications with the company over the last six months and their position following the confirmed closure. The staff member agreed to interview on condition of anonymity.

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The full schedule of films screening online for the IFI Horrorthon 2020 is now available. From October 22nd – 26th, a host of horrors will be made available online, with the Irish Film Institute keeping their annual ode to the genre alive.

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The Kerry International Film Festival are one of an increasing number offering their festival all-online in 2020. With an intriguing programme of features, shorts and panels launched today, they’re offering pre-booking from the 9th, to access a selection of films later this month.

 

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Indie filmmaking can present so many challenges – in funding, in finishing, in finding its audience – that it is always important to highlight and celebrate success stories when they emerge. The New Music is a prominent Irish example, a film and crew that have worked through the process of independent film over several years, and through innovative approaches and, as should be at the core of all filmmaking, vibrant ideas and messages at its heart. It has been through a crowdfunding journey, been celebrated on the festival circuit at home and abroad and staged a successful screening at the Irish Film Institute. Now the film has secured distribution in Ireland and the UK, and we are looking forward to hearing more about when this story of punk, Parkinson’s and friendship will be available widely to watch.

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