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This year the IFI Spotlight is going online. The Spotlight is an annual event from the Irish Film Institute which  present a focus on Irish film and television’s year in review. The Institute will be looking back at 2019 to observe current trends in production, distribution and consumption of new work with a number of guests via Zoom and tickets to the first event are available to some reserve now.

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It can be hard to evaluate the best films of the 2010s, when every damn year of the decade, especially from 2015 onward, have felt like ten years unto themselves. But movies, as ever, offer respite from that chaos. It’s been a decade that has offered impressive new voices in film and given different voices bigger platforms. Names like Jordan Peele, Ava DuVerney, Ryan Coogler and more have opened up important ideas to wider audiences, while also delivering top class entertainment. Long-term talents, from Scorsese and Soderbergh to Bong Joon-ho,  Todd Haynes and Katheryn Bigelow, have changed with the times and done great work, even when it hasn’t been their defining masterpieces, these greats have produced films that audiences have latched onto and continue to engage with in interesting ways, our often noxious online discourse still providing the opportunity to grow cultural conversation. Still, that noxious shite can make even the most ardent film lover never want to talk about cinema again, and the last ten years have seen too many unwinnable bullshit battles waged by people determined to keep their beloved franchises for themselves only, or draft movies, sometimes at random, into the unending culture wars.

Netflix have changed the game completely for film distribution and audience engagement in ways we still haven’t fully processed since 2010, for better and worse, what even counts as a “film” and how we see them have been altered forever. After a relatively wobbly start to the 21st century that now seems impossible, Disney have become a monster in the 2010s, consuming one of the great film studios in the last year in Fox, reshaping history as they see fit, flooding and fixing the market, threatening all the positives in the paragraphs above. 80% of the box office is simply too much for one studio to hold, and cinema as an art form is at risk if the 2020’s continue to allow expression to be supressed in the name of expansion.

You can see some of what’s at stake in some of the great Irish films that have come out this decade, both on screen and off. Wonderful work has been done with local cinema thanks to collaboration with fellow European studios, and great films that in decades past only Irish eyes would have been watching have warmly received worldwide. Check out our Best Irish Films of the Decade list, coming soon, for some of the best of our country’s cinema. More of that in the times ahead of us please, especially for this website’s sake. There are always challenges, but without the vibrant cinema scene that has continued to grow in this country, Film In Dublin would never have started. With that in mind, it’s a good time to delve into some of our writer’s personal favourites of the decade, our Best Movies of the 2010s.

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Director: Greta Gerwig Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep Running Time: 135 minutes

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Not having yet read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women or seen any of the previous film versions means that it’s difficult in many ways to discuss the latest version by Greta Gerwig’s success as an adaptation. Will those who have read the coming of age story of the March sisters cover to cover dozens of times take issue with characterisations that I wouldn’t spot, or balk at Gerwig’s remixing of the story? Possibly, but even without familiarity it is possible to describe how the film feels and to add by way of ringing endorsement that Gerwig’s take on a book around 150 years old is so fresh and vibrant as to shoot it up to the top of the aul’ “must read list”. It feels like someone who loves a story very deeply gush over all the little details of it to you, feeling for the characters like they’re old friends and filling you in with every bit of their lives, a warm and welcoming time in the cinema.

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The arrival of the first trailer for Cats back in July 2019 was one of those landmark occasions in social media history. In a time where quick and constant access to conversation is paired with a media machine designed to pile misery on all sides to leave us more divided than ever, the 2 minute trailer -its first glimpses of the uncanny combination of human faces and cat bodies, its clearly rushed special effects, the enduring brown note that blarps through the voice of James Corden – it all served as a brief and perfect moment of unity. Everyone was confused, everyone was upset. Everyone was transfixed. The sight of “miniature yet huge cats with human celebrity faces and sexy breasts performing a demented dream ballet for kids” was an Event Horizon for the terminally online, something that could only begin to be processed by the immediate and fervent application of memes. Yet the majority of those who had been cursed to watch the trailer were also united in another way: they were absolutely going to watch the film no matter what.

Cats is out in cinemas now, but it appears that the only ones going to see it are those who became unnervingly compelled t0 do so back on that wild summer day. And fans of the Broadway show maybe. Also furries. Still, opening during the busy Christmas period at the same time as a Star Wars (even a terrible one) is turning out to be a bad decision by Universal, with the film flopping at the box office so far. The reviews may be even worse, with critics lining up to skewer the film as if the writer with the most venomous take will be chosen by Old Deuteronomy to die blissfully and be reborn as a person blessed to have never seen Cats. It is “an abomination“. It is “what death feels like“, but also “surprisingly boring“, a film that “will haunt viewers for generations“. And yet, could this terrible nightmare film also serve as a landmark moment in cinematic history? Is Cats in fact a trailblazer in its unifying awfulness, the first Cursed Blockbuster?

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Director: J.J. Abrams Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo Running Time: 142 minutes

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If there is one thing we can surely all agree on, it’s that conversation around Star Wars has long since become exhausting. The most popular thing in the world seems destined to be endlessly divisive, drafted unwittingly into assorted sides of the culture wars, something that has gone from nerd fixation to an inescapable franchise conveyor belt. Surely we can all agree that a children’s movie about lasers and space goblins shouldn’t be taken too seriously one way or another. If you couldn’t care less about The Rise of Skywalker with all the baggage it has, it would be hard to blame you. If you watch it and enjoy the film’s spectacle and fan service, more power to you. But in trying to wrestle with the considerable backlash to The Last Jedi, while both concluding a nine film saga and keeping the franchise in good enough favour to continue into the future all while also also trying (one hopes) to be a functioning narrative and entertaining film in its own right, is all too much for one film to rise above. Instead, it falls down a bit of a pit, but has that ever been much of a problem where Star Wars is concerned? It never quite seems to kill things off the way it should.

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Incredibly, there are only sixteen days remaining in the 2010s, and though every year of the last few years has felt like a decade unto itself in one way or another, one positive thing the 10s have undoubtedly given us is a plentiful supply of great films. And the Light House Cinema will give film fans an opportunity to see some of the best and most beloved of the decade this month and through January, screening a series of the Best of the 10s. The season will run from December 27th until January 5th, with 18 favourites to relive before another ten years of film kicks off for us.

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We here at Film In Dublin would be big fans of the aul Christmas now, whether it’s catching classics at the Light House or taking the time to look out for those in need around us. Or just eating cheese and crackers by the boxful. But even we can admit that the same old thing, year in, year out every December can occasionally wear a little thin. Enter Horrorthon to cater to those who are bloody tired of the Yuletide grind and are looking for something alternative. The Irish Film Institute and Horrothon will be hosting the screening of Deathcember, a Nollaig-nightmare that looks sure to delight horror fans.

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Film Network Ireland are hosting an event this weekend to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the Housing Crisis in Ireland. FNI 20/20 is a weekend filmmaking Festival to raise awareness of the hows and why of the Crisis and to highlight the areas of housing shortages, Addiction and Homelessness in Ireland.

All content produced at this event as well as money raised will be donated to the Peter McFerry Trust. The winning short will be shown with FNI partners The Virgin Media International Film Festival. The event is also sponsored by Dublin Business School, Wildcard Distribution and The Headstuff Podcast Network. This is an over 18’s event.

 

The FNI 20/20 event will involve two screenings on Sunday the 15th of December.

A submission screening : Entry is 15 euro and all submissions to be handed in person via USB  by 6pm, 14th at DBS Balfe Street. The Weekend Shoot and Screen Festival Kicks off on the evening of the 13th of December to the 15th, Entry costing 10 euro.

 

The entire event is set to take place at FNI headquarters at their partners Dublin Business School, Balfe Street, found just off Grafton Street, Dublin 2.

The first info/pitch session takes Place at 18:30pm at DBS, Balfe St on the 13th of Dec-  Concluding at the screening on the 15th at 7pm. Submission Screening deadline is Saturday the 14th of Dec at 6pm.  For Screening 15th of Dec. Tickets are available now via Eventbrite.