Red Carpet Rolled Out For Dublin Film Festival

Taking place between February 20 and March 3 – the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019 (Virgin Media DIFF 2019) has unveiled its full line-up featuring 125 events across 12 days.

The festival will shine a spotlight on all types of cinema, ranging from Irish to international over every genre. It will open with the Irish premiere of Handsome Devil director John Butler’s new film Papi Chulo.

The comedy drama tells the story of a lonely, gay TV weatherman (Matt Bomer, Magic Mike) who strikes up an unusual friendship with an older straight migrant worker from Mexico (Alejandro Patiño). Dealing with themes of friendship, class, ethnicity and economic migration, Butler – along with his leading men – will be in attendance at the opening gala.

Another high-profile guest visiting Virgin Media DIFF this year is Extras star and acclaimed comedian Stephen Merchant as the festival screens his solo directorial debut Fighting with My Family. The comedy-drama tells the story of the Bevis family, who all are professional wrestlers, as they try to work through the issues that arise when sister and brother duo, Saraya and Zak, audition for roles in WWE.

Other high-profile guests to walk the red carpet at the festival include​ Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour), Lucy Fry (Wolf Creek) and ​Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver) who visit for the world premiere of ​She’s Missing. This thriller from Irish writer and director Alexandra McGuinness is about a woman whose best friend goes missing at a rodeo after meeting a mysterious man.

2019 BAFTA Rising Star Award nominee and Killarney actor ​Jessie Buckley​, attends Virgin Media DIFF with her new film​ Wild Rose for the Closing Gala. Starring alongside the twice Oscar-nominated ​Julie Walters, this heart warmer centres on a woman who dreams of getting out of Glasgow and emulating the country singers she idolises by making it as a singer in Nashville.

Notable Irish movies to screen as the festival include Neil Jordan’s latest thriller Greta centring on a lonely, mysterious widow whose friendship with a naïve young woman becomes increasingly disturbing; the Kevin Barry penned Dark Lies the Island featuring an all-star cast of Irish big names including Pat Shortt, Charlie Murphy, Tommy Tiernan and Moe Dunford and; Dublin set coming of age drama Dub Daze.

Documentary lovers will be well-catered for too. There is When Hitchcock Met O’Casey, exploring the collaboration between one of Ireland’s most noted playwrights and cinema’s greatest directors for the 1930 film adaptation of Juno and the Paycock. Featuring extensive, incisive interviews with family members, academics, filmmakers and actors, it tells the story of how these two iconic figures met and the legacy of their work together.

Sailing doc Maiden centres on the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989 skippered by ​Tracy Edwards and featuring Irish woman​ Angela Heath on the crew. The Irish produced Shooting the Mafia strips back the glamorous image of the Sicilian Mafia, showing the harsh reality of life, death and business at the hands of those who wield it.

Virgin Media DIFF also hosts the world premiere of ​Land Without God. A deeply personal documentary, it movingly focuses on artist and politician ​Mannix Flynn and his family as they recall the effects of decades of institutional abuse, the impact it had, and continues to have, on their lives.

Critically acclaimed international features to be shown are Italian dramas Happy as Lazzaro and Loro; the music focused Her Smell, Leto and Vox Lux and; actor Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid 90s. On top of these there is also the Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz starring thriller Everybody Knows and western The Sisters Brothers featuring Joaquin Phoenix, John C Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal.

There is also the Surprise Film, one of the most popular events in the Virgin Media DIFF programme. However, as always, its identity remains a tightly-guarded secret. In previous years, movies screened in this slot include the much loved Get Out and Unsane.

This year’s shorts programme includes some exciting titles, including ​Psychic, the directorial debut by one of Irish cinema’s most respected actors, Brendan Gleeson. It centres on a charismatic mentalist and his two manipulative sons who are gaining a cult following, played by his real-life sons Domhnall and Brian.

Previously announced guests for the festival include Irish director Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Room) who will attend a Careers in Screen Day. Taking place in the IFI, the event is for young people interested in finding out about working in the film industry.

Meanwhile, writer-directors Bo Burnham and Joe Cornish will attend Virgin Media DIFF with new movies Eighth Grade and The Kid Who Would Be King – which will screen as part of the festival’s Fantastic Flix strand – aimed at audiences aged 4 – 16.

For more details and to buy tickets, visit the festival’s site here.

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