28 November 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network

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VMDIFF announces in conversation event with iconic director Steve McQueen for online festival
28 Jan 2021 : News Desk
Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave and Hunger
Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival have announced they will host Steve McQueen for an exclusive in conversation event between the Oscar-nominated director and Irish writer/actor Mark O’Halloran. The Festival, taking place 3-14 March 2021, is moving entirely online this year in accordance with public health advice.

“We had planned a hybrid festival for March 2021, however in deference to the regulations presently in place and in recognition of the difficulties facing so many, the 2021 VMDIFF will now take place entirely online on our festival platform Eventive” said Festival Director Graine Humphreys. “We look forward to the opportunities and new audiences which we hope will attend the festival this March. We are thrilled to welcome Steve McQueen and the many fantastic film talents and films in this year’s festival programme. We look forward to a time in the near future when we will be in a cinema together again.” 

McQueen, a former Turner Prize-winning artist, is best known for his Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave (2013), an adaptation of Solomon Northup's 1853 slave narrative memoir. He also directed and co-wrote the IFTA-Award winning Hunger (2008), a historical drama about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, and Shame (2011), a drama about an executive struggling with sex addiction, both of which starred Irish actor Michael Fassbender in the lead role. In 2018, McQueen released his latest feature film Widows, an adaptation of the British television series of the same name set in contemporary Chicago with a star-studded cast including Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell.

“I’m thrilled to join Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival for a conversation with Mark O’Halloran,” said Steve McQueen. “Since my first film, Hunger, I have formed many special bonds with my Irish collaborators. I look forward to talking to Mark about story-telling and to a virtual visit with my friends in Ireland.” 

The Festival also announced an exciting Young People’s Short Programme for the 2021 festival. 

Dance comes to the fore throughout the programme of shorts, with Naomi Waring’s Ode, documenting the passion of a group of young disco dancers from a community in Northern Ireland; Kristian Mantalvanos and Dublin Youth Dance Company's Artistic Director Mariam Ribón’s Pivot featuring 8 Senior members of the company as they choreograph their experiences of lockdown, and Bonnie Dempsey’s Tina Times Two glorious coming-of-age fable centred around Tina, a lonely young girl whose wish comes true when she discovers a magical friend who is an exact double of herself. 

Pia Strömme’s Charlie Surfer follows 10 year old Charlie, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's, through his ups and downs at surf camp; James Bourne’s The Abandoned Block tells the story of a useless, damaged, forgotten block of marble that becomes one of the greatest and most beautiful works of art in the world, whilst Leah Moore and Douglas Reddan’s Sleuth follows Jake, whose family have been up to some suspicious behaviour. He will not be left in the dark, so he decides it's time to do some detective work.

The Young People’s Shorts Programme will also showcase the premiere of this year’s Screen8 initiative film, The Debs DebacleDesigned to give young people of all backgrounds the confidence and skills to pursue a career in the film industry, Screen 8 was carried out over Zoom in October and November, and the 15-minute film was shot over three days in December. This year the three young people involved in the project wrote a script collectively about the Debs and the effect COVID-19 had on what is a celebration of their final year in school. They all had roles to perform, be it actor, director, editor, or all three and learned a huge amount about each process, led by Filmmaker in Residence at The Digital Hub Helen Flanagan.

The 2021 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival will take place online from 3rd - 14th March.  

The full programme of events and screenings Festival will be announced on 3rd February, selected highlights include the Virgin Media Closing Gala screening of Irish comedy Deadly Cuts and a Festival Retrospective focusing on Black Women Filmmakers including screenings of Amma Asante’s Belle and Maïmouna Doucouré’s Maman(s)

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