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Now set to host its twelfth edition, the First Cut! Youth Film Festival continues from tomorrow in its work showcasing and encouraging the next generation of Irish filmmakers. The annual Youghal-based event presents films in all genres by rising filmmakers, schools and youth groups as well as offering an insight into the Irish industry through workshops and talks by film pros.

 

The First Cut! Youth Film Festival 2021 will be taking place online from April 17th – May 9th. Accessible to participants from Ireland and abroad, the festival will provide three weeks of packed programming for young filmmakers from the ages of 12 up to 24, with screenings, workshops and talks in a safe and inclusive virtual format.

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The MonsterVerse is a Hollywood franchise and shared fictional universe focusing on giant monsters duking it out, an impactful visual statement on how division wreaks inherently destructive and grotesque consequences and also an impactful visual statement on how cool it is when big monkey punch dinosaur.

Produced by Legendary Entertainment and co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros, the series most prominently features two of the most famous monsters in popular culture: Godzilla and King Kong, culminating in the recent release of Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong, pay-per-view knockout / Hollow Earth conspiracy propaganda. A fun, proudly stupid monster beat em’ up that knows exactly what it is trying to be, the film nevertheless prompted a lot of questions, including ‘is Eleven from Stranger Things in QAnon?’, ‘if Kong Kong can learn sign language, can Godzilla learn sign language?’ and ‘did they get the idea for this film’s climax from The Simpsons?’. One particular question grew and grew in this writer’s mind though, like an ancient sea monster awoken by nuclear radiation: Is Fungie the Dolphin a Titan?

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A winner of the Audience Award for Best Short at this year’s DIFF, the Spirit of the Festival Award at the Catalyst Film Festival, and the Best Cinematography Award for the Irish Region of the Royal Television Society Awards, To All My Darlings continues to make an impression whenever it gets eyes in front of it. A graduation film for students of IADT, To All My Darlings impresses and inspires, both in screen and behind the scenes in the success of its young and diverse crew.

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Director: Phil Sheerin Starring: Emma Mackey, Anson Boon, Charlie Murphy, Michael McElhatton Running Time: 92 minutes


An Irish-Canadian co-production, director Phil Sheerin’s The Winter Lake intertwines two family stories in the chilly backdrop of rural Ireland. Tom is a troubled and broody adolescent, who arrives in what appears to be an inherited old farm with his equally troubled young mother Elaine. Both Tom and Elaine seem to be running away from something, although details of their past are sketchy. At the outset, Tom is meandering around the outskirts of the farmland, and ends up digging something out of a lake. This “something” is what sets in motion the rest of events that unfold. The moody teenager meets Holly, a charismatic but distant woman who takes an interest in Tom. At the same time, Holly’s father Ward and Tom’s mothers Elaine develop what appears to be a burgeoning fling. As secrets about Holly’s past and Ward’s true character are gradually exposed, both Tom and his mother find themselves implicated.

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An online festival event just for screenwriters is coming to your screens this April. An opportunity for industry professionals and aspiring writers alike to learn, converse and connect, the Dublin International Screenwriting Festival is set to take place 19 – 23 April.

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Director: Kevin MacDonald Starring: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Levi Running Time: 129 minutes


With apologies for beginning a review on such a cynical foot, there’s something almost quaint these days in the kind of procedural drama that relies on shock and indignance at injustice for its narrative thrust. The ‘This Is America Dammit’ legal flick has always been a Hollywood staple, with layers of presentation, slicker, smarter versions like Erin Brockovich or Dark Waters do exist, but there’s usually the foundational principle of ‘This Isn’t Who We Are’ involved somewhere, which is harder for audiences to latch onto after so many years of exposure to the idea that injustice is exactly who people in power are, and they’ll just say it isn’t, and even when it’s exposed that it is, they just get away with it anyway.

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Directed by:  Mike P. Nelson Starring:  Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Matthew Modine, Bill Sage Runtime: 109 mins

*TW: Rape, section clearly marked below*

For a long time now I’ve had a fascination I couldn’t shake with the Wrong Turn franchise, and even though our relationship status has never shifted from ‘It’s Complicated’ because of their ableist portrayals of deformed cannibalistic hillpeople, multiple cast injuries and the unauthorised use of an image of a missing woman from Wexford which the family had to fight against in the Irish High Courts, when I saw the announcement that the series would be rebooted, I wanted to give it a chance. It seemed like they were going in a fresh and inoffensive direction. Baby, we’ve changed!

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In our latest Review Round-Up, we’re looking back at a pair of homegrown comedies that caught our eye at the 2021 Dublin International Film Festival. These Irish comedy films both have a dark sense of humour and a heartening sense of ingenuity, highlighting some of the best in filmmaking on our island.

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Films from Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam will all be shown online as part of this year’s East Asia Film Festival. Now in its 5th year, this celebration of international cinema is well-embedded in the calendar in the fair city of film, but as with many festivals in our current climate, this year it will be made more widely available as it moves all online. The 2021 East Asia Film Festival will be available later this month on the IFI@Home player.

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