IFI Family Film Festival 2023 will be a before-back-to-school blast

The Irish Film Institute’s annual all-ages festival is a great opportunity for parents to encourage their kids’ interest in arts, storytelling and animation, take in family films from other parts of the world, and get a few cinema screenings in at the tail end of the summer. The 2023 edition of the IFI Family Film Festival will be taking place from the 18th – 20th August. Featuring local legends, wicked workshops and lots of filmic fun, it really is a celebration of cinema for all the family to enjoy.

Visitors to the fair city of film for this festival can enjoy Irish premieres of The Inventor, a film about Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliant inventions, see Ireland’s own Puffin Rock & The New Friends as Gaeilge, take part in workshops on X and see shorts and features from all over the world.

The IFI today announced details of this year’s Family Festival jam-packed with fun for all members of the family to enjoy. Take part in fun science and art activities in the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci ahead of the opening film, The Inventor, a film exploring the life of one of the greatest geniuses of all time. The charming programme of Short Tales 1 specially curated for young viewers features animals, sandcastles, dealing with bullies and playing in the rain – a perfect intro to film for a little one’s first visit to the cinema. Short Tales 2 includes music-making, lost socks, sisterhood and grieving as themes in this varied selection for older viewers. 

Make puffin art ahead of the premiere screening as Gaeilge of Creag na bPufiíní agus na Cairde Nua (Puffin Rock & The New Friends), the new animated collaboration between Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon and the Derry studio Dog Ears. Anime fans will be well catered for with Deep Sea (Shen Hai), a visually stunning film set under the sea showing in 3D. Other films on show as part of the festival include Exodus, a gripping tale of a people smuggler who reluctantly agrees to help a 12-year-old fleeing Syria find her family; Taika Waititi exec-produced Red, White & Brass, the story of a Tongan rugby fan attempting to sneak into the World Cup by performing in a marching band; and Adventures in the Land of Asha (Jules Au Pays D’Asha) following Jules who meets an indigenous girl, Asha, and learns of the traditions of her tribe in Northern Quebec. 

You can also put your exploring hat on and discover the history of the IFI building and delve into its archives with a self-guided trail as part of the IFI Family Trail & Heritage Week while you are in for a screening. 

Speaking about this year’s festival, IFI Head of Education Alicia McGivern said,

We are delighted to be opening our IFI Family Festival 2023 with a preview of the latest film from Jim Capobianco, director of Ratatoille. In a co-production with Dublin’s Curiosity Studio, and with Cartoon Saloon’s Tomm Moore in supervisory role, The Inventor is a highly creative and fun animation on the life and inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. The weekend follows with our selected shorts programmes, some Ireland premieres in live action and animation, and finishing off with the New Zealand hit film, Red White and Brass, about the greatest Tongan rugby fans ever.’

See more info on the films and events of the festival below.

Opening Activities: The Da Vinci Mode Friday August 18th (17.15 – 18.15)

Before the festival’s opening film about Leonardo da Vinci, join RTÉ Kids presenters and artists in the IFI Foyer. Bring out your inner genius with fun science and art activities. 

  • The Inventor (Jim Capobianco & Pierre-Luc Granjon) Friday August 18th (18.30)  8+         

The insatiably curious and headstrong inventor Leonardo da Vinci leaves Italy to join the French court, where he can experiment freely, inventing flying contraptions and incredible machines, and studying the human body. Embark on a journey with the greatest genius of all time, inspired by the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Short Tales 1 Saturday August 19th (11.00) 4+ (SR)

First cinema outing? Try this mostly dialogue-free selection of international short films, specially chosen for our Festival. Animals, sandcastles, dealing with bullies, playing in the rain – all this and more in a charming programme for younger viewers.

  • Short Tales 2 Saturday August 19th (13.00) 8+ (SR)

Music-making, lost socks, sisterhood and grieving are just some of the themes in this varied selection for older viewers. Including live action drama and animation from Senegal, China, Ireland and more, this varied programme is fun, engaging and stimulating.

For full details on all short films see www.ifi.ie/familyfest/

  • Adventures in the Land of Asha (Jules Au Pays D’Asha) (Sophie Farkas Boll) Saturday August 19th (15.30) 8+ (SR)

Northern Quebec, 1940. 9-year-old Jules moves with his family to the country. Forbidden from school as he has a rare skin disease, Jules spends his days exploring, when he meets a mysterious indigenous girl, Asha, who introduces him to the wonders of the land and the traditions of her tribe, both under threat from the settlers. French with English subtitles.

  • Deep Sea (Shen Hai) (Xiaopeng Tian) Saturday August 19th (18.30) 11+

A mesmerising anime in which young Shenxiu is washed overboard and finds herself in a wondrous undersea world of creatures and colour, recalling the finest Miyazaki creations. Meeting cunning restaurant owner Nanhe, they embark on a search for her estranged mother with the help of talisman Hyjinx. A wildly imaginative, stunningly visualised plot of adventure, family and loss, showing in 3D.

  • Creag na bPufiíní agus na Cairde Nua (Puffin Rock & The New Friends) (Jeremy Purcell) Sunday August 20th (11.00) IFCO: G. Irish language version

Agus Creag na bPuifíní faoi bhagairt, tá dúshlán ag Oona agus a cairde ubh phuifín a shábháil sula dtiocfaidh stoirm mhór ar an oileán.

When Puffin Rock is under threat, Oona and friends face a difficult quest to save a missing puffin egg before a storm engulfs the island.Irish with English subtitles.

Make your own puffin art before the show and explore the IFI foyer seascape.

  • Exodus (Abbe Hassan)Sunday August 20th (13.00) 10+

A timely, gripping story in which people smuggler Sam reluctantly saves 12-year-old Amal, whose family have gone missing in their flight from the war in Syria. Believing them to be in Sweden, Amal persuades Sam to accompany her, and an unlikely friendship emerges as the pair make their way north in this moving migration tale. Arabic with English subtitles.

  • Red, White & Brass (Damon Fepulea’i) Sunday August 20th (16.00) 8+

Get some Rugby World Cup fever at the closing film, from the producers of Hunt for the Wilderpeople. When Tongan rugby fan Maka fails to get tickets to the 2011 World Cup to see his home team, he comes up with a hare-brained scheme to get in by performing as a marching band. No instruments or skill, but tons of passion and humour in this ‘based on real events’ underdog tale.

  • IFI Family Trail & Heritage Week 2023 

Saturday August 19th – Sunday August 20th (12.00 – 15.30)

Follow the IFI Family Trail and find out about the IFI. Uncover the building’s hidden history and delve into the inner workings of our unique cinema and archive. Self-guided free trail available from 12pm – 3.30pm.

All films at the IFI Family Film Festival 2023 are €6.50 (includes opening night event). Family Tickets are also available (film events): €20.00 (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children)

About Luke Dunne

Luke is a writer, film addict and Dublin native who loves how much there is for film fans in his home county. A former writer for FilmFixx and the Freakin' Awesome Network, he founded Film In Dublin to pursue his dual dreams of writing about film and never sleeping ever again.

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