The full programme for this year’s all-online Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival has been announced. As the biggest film festival in the fair city of film moves all online, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 will serve as a celebration of the power of film to bring people together and explore the world in new ways. Taking place from 3-14 March 2021, the Festival has been re-imagined to bring audiences the best of new films and old classics, all while allowing people to attend the festival safely from their homes. This year VMDIFF will be delivered via the screening portal Eventive.
Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci will be on hand for a post-film discussion of their work in this year’s Opening Gala, Harry Macqueen’s drama Supervova. Sam and Tusker, partners for 20 years, travel across England to the Lake District, reuniting with friends and family. As Tusker is diagnosed with early onset dementia, the pair spend as much time together as they can.
As part of this year’s festival, VMDIFF have announced an exclusive In-Conversation event between iconic filmmaker Steve McQueen and one of Ireland’s leading filmmakers Mark O’Halloran offering a fantastic insight into McQueen’s artistic process.
Some of our top domestic film talent will be at the forefront this year, with the Irish selection including Cathal Nally’s gangster comedy (and indie film success story) Be Good or Be Gone, Ivan Kavanagh’s much anticipated Son; Tadgh O’Sullivan’s acclaimed To the Moon; Piotr Domalewski’s moving exploration of the Polish/Irish experience I Never Cry, and wickedly funny horror The Boys from County Hell from Chris Baugh and more.
We’re excited to see a new initiative for the Festival, spotlighting some of Ireland’s most exciting talent. Playback x VMDIFF: Irish Hip Hop & R&B is a specially curated season of the best contemporary hip hop music videos in Ireland today, selected by producer Mike Donnelly V and musician Erica Cody. It will include recorded interviews with featured film directors and music artists discussing their collaborations including Keith Pendred with Mango X Mathman; Georgia Kelly with Tolu Mackay; Ellius Grace with Loah & Bantam and Rosie Barrett with Gemma Dunleavy. This programme will launch in Dublin and then travel to 8 cities around the world.
Inspired by a phrase by acclaimed Irish author Mark O’Connell, the new Future Shock strand will examine our anxious present tense and includes films such Michel Franco’s New Order and David Burke’s The Father of the Cyborgs.
Festival audiences will get exclusive opportunities to watch some of the most anticipated films of 2021 including Ammonite, My New York Story and Minari. Also central to the Festival programme is the fantastic line-up of world cinema with highlights such as Gagarine (France), Apples (Greece), Limbo (UK) and the wonderfully named Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Hungary). The Festival Retrospective is set to be one of this year’s highlights as well. Focusing on Black Women Filmmakers, the retrospective promises to provide Irish audiences the opportunity to discover many filmmakers whose films were previously hidden from view and is set to include screenings of Amma Asante’s Belle and Maïmouna Doucouré’s Maman(s) among others.
DIFF will continue to share great short films this year, with seven programmes of shorts and over 40 films set to screen. The Festival will be introducing this year the Warner Media LGBTQ + selection, the Screen Ireland short film selection, the Young Audiences short film selection and more.
That focus on the the future of filmmaking will continue with the return of First Frame. Two programmes of shorts, as well as an interview with Oscar winning producer Dede Gardner (The Big Short, The Tree of Life).
The Surprise Film continues to be one of the most popular events in the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival programme but, as always, its identity remains a tightly-guarded secret known only to the Festival Director. This year’s Surprise will be unveiled on Sunday, 7th March at 6pm. We will speculate wildly on what it might be again, and, in all likelihood, get it wrong again.
This year’s festival will close on an Irish film, in the form of Rachel Carey’s dark comedy, Deadly Cuts. Set in a working-class Dublin hair salon, this film sees the salon’s stylists become accidental vigilantes and community heroes as they take on the gang members and gentrifiers who threaten their community.
Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director, speaking at the festival launch, said:
“It has been a very different selection process this year, but as we finally announce the programme I’m extremely proud of this year’s line-up – there are some lovely premieres and previews, some old favourites and some wonderful discoveries and debuts from around the world. There is depth and diversity in the new world cinema programme, exciting new talent in the Irish programme and a dynamic documentary section. We have reached out to old and new friends to join us for our online presentation and the guest list is growing every day. I hope that this year’s programme will excite and delight both our regular attendees and attract new audiences to this year’s celebration of the best of independent cinema. It’s been a long climb to get here – but we believe the view is worth it.”
Niamh O’Driscoll, Head of Brand and Marketing at Virgin Media had this to say:
“The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival has created a virtual feast of film, dialogue and discussion, bringing a diverse range of cultural influences to one place. This year called for a rethink to ensure maximum, multi-channel access to the festival and this has been achieved by including virtual screenings for our audiences to get the most from their festival experience.
We’ll be launching the return of our popular Movie Generator which will help people to discover different movies within the Festival programme based on their favourite film genres.
The festival team have risen to the challenges faced and have crafted a festival that will continue to embody all the best elements of the festival but also deliver them in a new, exciting ways. It’s a truly audience-focused festival and especially at a time when the enjoyment and entertainment which film brings is more important than ever.”
The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 box office is now open at www.diff.ie. VMDIFF acknowledges the continuing support of the Arts Council and Screen Ireland.
Keep your eyes out for further coverage of VMDIFF21 here at Film In Dublin.