30 May 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
DIFF gives sneak peek at some of the festival highlights for 20th anniversary edition
03 Dec 2021 : News Desk
Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival
The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival celebrates 20 years in 2022 and has issued a first-look at their upcoming programme, which includes a number of new Irish and international projects as well as a host of special events planned celebrate the landmark event.

The Festival will host luminaries from the world of the silver screen, with a combined programme of unique in-person events and screenings alongside with a selection of cinematic treasures to watch at home.

Hugely versatile and captivating star of the big and small screen, Ruth Wilson will return to Dublin for the Irish premiere of the ambitious and absorbing psychological thriller True Things, adapted from Deborah Kay Davies’s acclaimed novel, True Things About Me. Bored by the daily tedium of her office job, Kate (Ruth Wilson) is sleepwalking through life when a chance sexual encounter with a charismatic stranger (Tom Burke) awakens her. High on infatuation and the exhilaration of this new relationship, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this mysterious new man. Hoping he will provide the escape she so desperately desires, she embarks on an emotionally dangerous journey that slowly begins to consume her. 

Celebrations of music and film have been highlights of the Festival over the last two decades, and in 2022 acclaimed composer Neil Brand will present an evening of music by immortal comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. From their earliest days on opposite sides of the Atlantic in Music Hall and on the stage, to their individual comedy films before they were paired up by Hal Roach, and on to their silent masterpieces before the arrival of sound, Neil will tell the touching story of the world’s greatest comedy team, who could not have been two more different men.

Fully illustrated with stills, clips (both silent and sound) and Neil’s superlative piano accompaniment and culminating in two of the Boys’ best silent short films, Big Business and Liberty, this is a show that promises gales of laughter throughout, as well as getting under the skin of two warm, funny men who continue to make the world laugh when it needs it most. 

Horror and thriller genre filmmaking has gone from strength to strength in Ireland over the last few years. Showcasing one of Ireland’s most exciting female directors, the Festival will screen Kate Dolan’s creepy and unsettling psychological thriller You Are Not My Mother, after its successful debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Deeply rooted in Irish folklore, it stars Carolyn Bracken (Dublin Murders), Paul Reid (VikingsRitual), Ingrid Craigie (BloodSeven Days in Entebbe), Jordanne Jones (Dead Still, Rebellion),  and last year’s VMDIFF Aer Lingus Discovery Award winner Hazel Doupe (Float Like a ButterflyCalm with Horses). Produced by Deirdre Levins (VivariumSea Fever) for Fantastic Films the film is funded under Screen Ireland's POV scheme, a production funding initiative established in 2018 to support new and emerging female filmmaking talent with distinct voices.

The Festival has also announced that Sundance triple award winner HIVE is this year’s Festival Access Tour film. HIVE is a searing drama based on the true story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi), who, like many of the other women in her patriarchal village, has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo. In order to provide for her struggling family, she pulls the other widows in her community together to launch a business selling a local food product. Against the backdrop of Eastern Europe’s civil unrest and lingering misogyny, writer-director Blerta Basholli’s debut feature is an incisive, devastating portrait of loss and our uphill journeys to freedom. HIVE will tour to venues outside Dublin during the Festival, in association with access>Cinema, and with the support of the Arts Council.

 “We not only survived, but after a challenging and successful 2021, we are back, bigger and better and more determined than ever to deliver a memorable 20th anniversary event,” said Festival Director, Gráinne Humphreys. “Alongside a rich and diverse programme of new Irish and International films we will host a photographic exhibition of previous festival guests, screen previous Audience Award Winners and create an interactive map of unique Dublin film locations to visit and explore.”

“We invite our friends, old and new, fans and guests to join us on this fascinating collective festival journey and help us embrace the return of the cinematic experience all set against the beautiful backdrop of glorious Dublin,” Humphreys added.

Paul Higgins, Vice President of Commercial at Virgin Media said: “It’s great to be back working with all our friends at Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. We’re excited to announce these festival highlights full of diverse, new, and emerging voices from Ireland and around the world. Our ambition this year is to further extend the reach and accessibility of the festival for multiple audiences including viewers across our own Virgin Media content platforms.”

As announced previously, in advance of the 2022 Festival, Virgin Media DIFF will hold a special screening on December 16 of Adam McKay’s much anticipated Netflix comedy, Don’t Look Up, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, where McKay will be presented with a Volta Award to mark his outstanding contribution to film.

DIFF created the Volta Award in honour of James Joyce who in 1909, opened the Volta

Picture Theatre, Ireland’s first dedicated cinema in Dublin. Previous recipients include Daniel Day Lewis and Al Pacino. Don’t Look Up tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn of an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. 

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival takes place from February 23 - March 6 in cinemas and with a selection of films also available online. 

The full festival programme will be revealed on 26 January with tickets to go on sale from 12 noon that day.

All Festival screenings and events will adhere to government guidelines and Covid safety regulations. 

Currently available from diff.ie the Festival Pass priced at €250 will give access to the Festival's regular cinema tickets as well as 20% discount on special presentations. Online 5 x film pass vouchers and 10 x film pass vouchers are also available to purchase.

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