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The Dublin Smartphone Film Festival returns at the end of this month, a celebration of the possibilities for anyone to pick up their phone and start creating great films. Now in its fourth year, this international festival remains dedicated to celebrating works shot on Smartphone and Tablets, encouraging new filmmakers and providing a platform to exhibit stories through a different lens to a wider audience.

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Time to prick up your ears and get ready to rock with The New Music – a foot-stomping Irish musical-drama with a big heart and a punk ethos – that has been making waves at festivals, winning the ‘Spirit of IndieCork’ Award for 2019.  This heartwarming feature is now set for its full Irish and UK release on digital streaming services from 18 January 2021 courtesy of 101 Films

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For the last ten years First Fortnight have used the beginning of the year as an opportunity to put a focus on mental health. At what can be the most challenging time of the year, they challenge mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. This year’s anniversary edition of the festival will revisit the past, looking at the changes across the artistic and mental health landscape of Ireland- while also exploring the future and asking how to collectively continue to push social and creative boundaries.

As part of their efforts, recent years have seen collaboration between First Fortnight and the Irish Film Institute. In January 2021, the IFI will once again partner with First Fortnight to present a selection of films on the topic of mental health.

 

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artwork by Amy Lauren McGrath

It has, somehow, been a year. And while this year hasn’t allowed us to seek refuge in front of the big screen as often as we might like, and though many of the most anticipated releases of the last twelve months have been deferred to 202-dot-dot-dot-question-mark, we still have been able to enjoy some truly exceptional films at a time when we really needed them. Using Irish release dates, the Film In Dublin team have come together to pick out ten of the best of 2020. Films that helped us to escape. Films that served as a funnel to feel through *all this*. Films with pet hyenas in them. So a broad spectrum as always.

What films made your own personal Best of 2020 list? As ever, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram and let us know what movies moved you over the last year, and let us know what you make of the list below.

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Director: Clea DuVall Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy Runtime: 102 minutes

It’s always nice to get fresh blood at the holidays. Before you finish dialling 999, what I mean by that is that because we tend to listen to the same Christmas songs and watch the same Christmas movies every year once the evenings get longer, it’s always special when something new comes along to join the rotation. So when I first heard about Happiest Season, I was really looking forward to seeing if it would be one of those worthy additions. I love Kristen Stewart. I really do, I think she’s a great talent and she picks interesting, challenging projects. Sadly K Stew let me down for the second time in 2020 (looking at you Underwater!)

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Dublin’s biggest film festival makes its return this March. Things will be different, but the biggest celebration of cinema in the fair city of film is scheduled to go ahead this Spring. The best of filmmaking from Ireland and around the world will be shared at VMDIFF 2021 in a new multi-platform programme to meet the challenges of our current times. The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 will be a varied selection of films available in cinemas, outdoors and at home.

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In the latest episode of the Breakout Role podcast, Luke and Jess watch Children of a Lesser God starring Marlee Matlin in her film debut for which she became the youngest winner of Best Actress at the Oscars! She is also one of only 2 performers with a disability to have won an Oscar since they began. Pretty damning considering how often the Oscars reward stars for playing roles where they imitate characters with disabilities.

Although Matlin was told by many that she may not work again, she has gone on to have a very successful career for herself and has also done a lot of work keeping the door open for up and coming performers from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

We chat Marlee’s origins, her raw talent, her career journey and more in #MarleeMatlinBreakout

Listen in below or follow us on Spotify,  Soundcloud, or on Podbean.

Artwork by @jessdoesscribbles

Music by SLVS

The Breakout Role Podcast Episode Archive

Follow the Breakout Role Podcast on Twitter and on Instagram at @breakoutrolepod.

A new film festival in Dublin dedicated to comedy promises offers up some much needed winter levity with an online programme of films and live stand-up acts. A mix of films and live comedy will take place at the first Dublin International Comedy Film Festival next month. Some of our Ireland’s top comedic talent on screen and off will share new shorts, features, sketches and stand-up.

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Director: Ron Howard Starring: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Frieda Pinto Running Time: 115 minutes


Sometimes ignorance is bliss. No matter how honestly one might believe that the Oscars are not the be-all-and-end-all of filmmaking, the ceremony remains impossible to avoid in the world of film. It can be a black hole that sucks in all quality discussion of the subject. Once familiar with the term ‘Oscar bait’, the industry within an industry that farms out forgettable, pandering, dull dramas purely to snag award nominations, it’s a bell that cannot be un-rung. A third, more cynical eye opens. It becomes just a little harder to judge certain films on their own merits, to become immersed in the nuances of an actor’s performance and not the narrative over their worthiness or whether they are ‘due’ their big win. Increasingly, every year the Oscar season also quickly picks out an ‘enemy’ among the frontrunners, from La La Land to Jokerthe discussion around the films, quality or otherwise, becomes slightly weighted; talk about whether the films would be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ winners taking on an ethical meaning as much as a qualitative one. The whole discourse can become it’s own self-perpetuating headache.

It’s actually a comfort then, when the Oscar Bait isn’t just middle-of-the-road but rather veers wildly off the road and into a lake where it sinks to the bottom with the rest of the miserable shite. As is the case with Hillbilly Elegy.

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