Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival announces 2021 Virtual Lineup
The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (VMDIFF) launched its full programme today, 3rd February, with Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth joining Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys in an online celebration of the power of film to bring people together and explore the world in new ways. Tucci and Firth will also return to the Festival for a post-show discussion after the Virgin Media Opening Gala presentation of moving drama Supernova, joined by director Harry Macqueen.
Running 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 in the safest way possible. This year the festival will come to you via our Festival screening portal Eventive.
Shining a spotlight on some of our amazing domestic film talent, the Irish selection includes Rachel Carey’s deliciously dark comedy Deadly Cuts as this year’s Virgin Media Closing Gala; Cathal Nally’s gangster comedy 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.
An exciting new initiative for the Festival, 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. The dynamic 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).
Each year the Festival is extremely proud to host special events with some of the world’s best filmmakers. One of the highlights of the Festival will be the 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. Audiences can look forward to a myriad of exciting post screening Q&As as the festival welcomes Walter Fasano to talk about his charming documentary Pino about artist Pino Pascali, and star of My Little Sister, Nina Hoss,who will take part in a Q&A after the screening.
Documentary film has always been a strong pillar of the Festival to challenge and question the status quo and this year’s programme delivers in spades with gems including investigative journalist Radu Ciorniciuc’s Acasa, My Home; a real-life Babe is the compelling star of Gunda, Viktor Kossakovsky’s intimate account of the life of a pig; Jerry Rothwell’s critically acclaimed The Reason I Jump, which explores the personal experience of living with autism spectrum disorder; Stacey Lee’s fascinating exploration of gender disparity within the world of Electronic music, Underplayed; Irish director Paul Rice’s documentary about the LGBTQ experience in Russia, A Worm in the Heart; sixty Trinity College students from fourteen countries chronicle their forever changed world in Covid 19 lockdown Is Anybody Out There and two exciting explorations into the world of filmmakers with the fascinating Kubrick by Kubrick and He Dreams of Giants Terry Gilliam’s attempts to make a film about Don Quixote. The Documentary competition judges this year include Josh Siegel film curator at MOMA and acclaimed British documentary maker Kim Longinotto.
The 2021 Festival Retrospective featuring work by Amma Asante and Maïmouna Doucouré will focus on Black Women Filmmakers highlighting those filmmakers who led the way. About celebration and visibility this vital and engaged programme will provide Irish audiences the opportunity to discover many filmmakers whose films were previously hidden from view.
This year VMDIFF will present an impressive seven programmes of Irish and international Shorts, including Screen Ireland Short Film Selection, a Young Audiences selection and the Warner Media LGBTQ selection, as well as hosting the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, in association with Screen Ireland.
Realising the central role of festivals within the domestic film industry, VMDIFF has a number of Industry initiatives, including the Aer Lingus Discovery Award for emerging talent with judges including Franklin Leonard (founder of the Black List), First Frame Film Student Initiative sponsored by Warner Bros which will welcome famed US producer Dede Gardner, the Young film critics initiative and various talks and events throughout the Festival.
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.
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.
Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director
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.
Niamh O’Driscoll, Head of Brand and Marketing – Virgin Media
The 2021 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival box office is now open at www.diff.ie
The Festival would like to acknowledge the continuing support of the Arts Council and Screen Ireland.