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God’s Creatures starring Oscar nominee Paul Mescal to open 2023 Dublin International Film Festival 
25 Jan 2023 : Lucien Waugh-Daly
Oscar nominee Paul Mescal and Emily Watson in God's Creatures
Dublin International Film Festival has confirmed that God’s Creatures starring Emily Watson, Aisling Franciosi, and first time Oscar nominee Paul Mescal will open the 2023 festival. 

The festival kicks off at the end of next month and will run from February 23rd to March 4th.

Festival director Gráinne Humphreys also announced highlights from the Irish Film Institute season at the Festival, ahead of the full programme launch in early February. These include two Arts Council funded Reel Art documentaries receiving their world premieres - Notes From Sheepland and Fields of Darkness; the Irish premiere of The Future Tense, as well as the unique Accidental Anthropologist offering a snapshot of 1920s Ireland accompanied by a live score. 

Dublin International Film Festival takes place from 23rd February to 4th March in the Light House Cinema and the IFI, alongside a selection of films available to watch at home. 

Directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits), God’s Creatures is set on the north-west coast of Ireland. "In a windswept fishing village, a mother is torn between protecting her beloved son and her own sense of right and wrong. A lie she tells for him rips apart their family and close-knit community".

God’s Creatures is produced by Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly (Lady Macbeth, Ammonite), and written by Shane Crowley, based on a story he co-wrote with Cronin O’Reilly. Receiving its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight, the film also received five BIFA 2022 nominations: Emily Watson for Lead Performance; Paul Mescal and Aisling Franciosi for Best Supporting Performance; Shane Crowley for Best Debut Screenwriter and Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans for Best Original Music.

Following its Irish premiere at the festival, Volta Pictures will release God’s Creatures in Irish cinemas in Ireland on March 24th .        

“Our Opening Night is the wonderful God’s Creatures, a richly rewarding, simmering drama with great emotional depth set amid an elemental landscape with an impeccable cast led by Emily Watson and our own Paul Mescal ‘’ said Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director.

In addition, the festival announced a season of world premieres and unique cinematic experiences in the IFI, including Accidental Anthropologist, showcasing footage gathered in the 1920s by Benjamin T Gault, a conservationist and naturalist, who visited Ireland filming and collecting seabirds and other wildlife specimens. He also captured the people of Cork and Kerry going about their business, farming, church-going and dancing in the streets. Accompanied by a live soundtrack by harpist Deirdre Granville and flautist Aoife Granville, the screening will offer a rare insight into everyday life in these southern counties at the time. 

Staged as a series of voiceover sessions, film duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s The Future Tense is written with gloriously off-balanced precision and dipped in the colour green. The Future Tense unfolds as a poignant tale of tales, exploring the filmmakers’ own experiences in ageing, parenting, and mental illness, along with the brutal history that lies submerged beneath Ireland’s heavy, moist earth.  

Two Reel Art documentaries will receive their world premieres at Dublin International Film Festival. An initiative by the Arts Council this funding programme was designed to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme.  

Centred around the community and landscape of the darkest inhabited place in Ireland, Michael John Whelan’s Fields of Darkness explores diverse physical and metaphorical perspectives on darkness, weaving together stories from archaeology, spirituality, astronomy, music, and blindness. An imaginative tapestry of human and non-human experiences unfolds across millions of years, from the first life stepping on land to the environmental effects of light pollution. 

Cara Holmes’s Notes from Sheepland bursts with candid observations of the lipstick-wearing, always swearing, no-nonsense artist and shepherd, Orla Barry. Through her fields, her digital diaries, and the pedigree sheep she cares for, we discover how the art is in the doing. Barry previously published her book, Shaved Rapunzel, Scheherazade and the Shearling Ram from Arcady. The collection of her performance text and written works explored the different worlds of being an artist and a shepherd.

Taking place from 23rd February to 4th March, Dublin International Film Festival will bring the best in world cinema to Irish audiences – a multi-platform event, the programme will be brought directly to the big screen and to audiences in their homes. The full festival programme will be revealed on Tuesday 7th February at 1pm.

 





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