Grainne Humphreys, ADIFF Festival Director

Stephen Porzio caught up with festival director Grainne Humphreys to get a heads-up on this year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival. 

With the prestigious Berlin Film Festival in full swing, what better time is there to shine a spotlight on Dublin’s own annual celebration of cinema, ADIFF 2018. From February 21 until March 4, over 100 movies from across the world will screen and A-listers will be in attendance. Yet, while many presume the life of a film festival organiser must be one of glamour, ADIFF director Grainne Humphreys wants to set the record straight.

“The common perception if you meet civilians, which occasionally you do [Humphreys jokes], is that they think your life is basically a yacht at Cannes and you walk on a red carpet and have dinner in very expensive restaurants. That’s not the case. I was on my first yacht in 25 years last year by complete accident”. She adds, “for anyone who thinks it’s a glamourous lifestyle… I really want to sit them in a small darkened room with a laptop and put them in front of four hours of really terrible film”

Humphreys has been running the festival for 11 years. Warm and genial, she is the opposite of what one would expect from a film festival director. One tends to think of professional cinefiles as culture snobs. While this was the case at Cannes, a festival which turned women away from screenings for not wearing high-heels and has banned Netflix movies from competing for awards, Humphreys believes the key to ADIFF’s success is down to its more ‘calm’ and ‘informal’ vibe.

“We’ve tried to shy away from the celebrity element. The festival never becomes a segregated VIP only event. [Guests] like that. They come as filmmakers.”

As if to prove her point, the festival director seems less interested in discussing the bigger names appearing at the festival, such as Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Cillian Murphy. Instead, the acclaimed directors and character actors scheduled to give Q&As excite her more, particularly Lynne Ramsey (We Need to Talk About Kevin) premiering her latest, You Were Never Really Here.

Phoenix, appearing at ADIFF for another premiere (Mary Magdalene), stars in Ramsey’s film as a war veteran turned contract killer. He uncovers a web of corruption while trying to save a kidnapped teen from prostitution.

Claiming You Were Never Really Here feels as immersive as the virtual reality conference ADIFF is running this year. Humphreys says excitingly about Ramsey, “That’s somebody who is really a story teller. That’s a film where I was gripped, I was moved, I was shocked and when I came out I literally was still moving around, trembling for a couple of hours after.”

Another high-profile guest is Independence Day star Bill Pullman, premiering the Western, The Ballad of Lefty Brown. Humphreys sites this as an example of ADIFF’s reputation as being less celebrity-focused paying dividends.

“It’s a small passion project. [Pullman] knows film festivals and the kind of energy and support that a festival audience can give. A lot of the time you are sending invitations out but a lot of the time [filmmakers] are looking towards film festivals to give their projects a kind of profile or positioning. They get a sense they will connect with audiences”.

What hidden gems should audiences seek out at the festival? Humphreys praises Irish documentary The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, Belgian crime thrillers Above the Law and The Racer and the Jailbird and Indonesian film, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts. She also thinks opening-night film Black 47, a Western set during the famine, starring Hugo Weaving and Barry Keoghan, could be this year’s most successful Irish film.

However, the movie she seems most enthusiastic about is Thirst Street, an American indie from director Nathan Silver. “Nathan has been around 15 years and makes these low-budget but really clever melodramas. Thirst Street is about a female air hostess who is dumped by her boyfriend and goes to Paris. It has this wonderful whimsical aspect to it but a witty voiceover from Anjelica Houston spins it in another direction”.

To prepare for ADIFF, Humphreys watches over 30 movies a week, culminating in around 12,000 per year. This experience has left her with plenty of feedback for filmmakers.

“So often it strikes me that a lot of filmmakers don’t go to the cinema enough. If they went to the cinema, they would realise there are standards for telling a story. A lot of the time people think long, slow, boring serious movies about the weight of the world make people feel important. No. They don’t. They make them feel terrible. If you have something that makes an audience feel happy or makes them view their world differently, that’s a plus and something you mark as special”.

Talking about the current health of Irish film, Humphreys says that the quality and quantity of Irish movies has ‘doubled’ since she began as ADIFF director. She believes Irish actors and directors happy to work both internationally and domestically helps bring money into the industry, that the rise of TV has given filmmakers the ability between movies to ‘hone their craft’ and that Ireland’s four film studios keep important professionals constantly working.

Ending the interview, Humphreys states, “It used to be quite lonely going to festivals a few years ago. You’d say, ‘oh, we have a great Irish cinema’ but nobody ever knew anyone. Now we have a well-known, well-structured industry”. Perhaps, if things progress, Dublin could compete with Berlin or Cannes someday.

 

The 2018 Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place from 21 February – 4 March 2018.

 

 

Preview of Irish Film @ ADIFF 2018

 

 

http://filmireland.net/2018/01/26/film-festivals-2018-here-abroad/

 

 

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Podcast: Interview with Grainne Humphreys, ADIFF 2017 Festival Director

 

Film Directors John Butler and Jim Sheridan with Grainne Humphreys - ADIFF Festival Director when details were announced of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017 which will take place from from 16th February 2017 to 26th February 2017. The world’s best films are coming to Audi Dublin International Film Festival with Vanessa Redgrave, Nathalie Baye, Kerry Fox, Ross Noble, Ben Wheatley, and Anna Friel joining top Irish talent Jack Reynor, Moe Dunford, Cillian Murphy, John Butler and Aiden Gillen on the red carpet. The 2017 programme rolls out the red carpet in cinemas right across the city for a rich mix of new films from across the world accompanied by top International and Irish guest talent that will see tens of thousands of Irish film fans seek out new cinema experiences across the eleven days and nights of the festival. Tickets go on sale and the digital programmewill be available to browse and download from 18.30 on 18th January at www.diff.ie, by phone on +353 1 687 7974 or in person at DIFF, 13 Ormond Quay. Pictures: Brian McEvoy No repro fee for one use
Film director John Butler and Jim Sheridan with Grainne Humphreys at the launch of ADIFF 2017. Picture: Brian McEvoy.

Grace Corry sat down with Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director of Audi Dublin International Film Festival to delve into the delights of this year’s festival.

 

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place 16 – 26 February 2017.

Check out our preview of the Irish films screening at this year’s festival

Check out the full programme here

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Podcast Interview: Grainne Humphreys, ADIFF Festival Director

JDIFF-GRAINNE-HUMPHREYS

June Butler chats to Grainne Humphreys, the festival director of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival, about the selection process involved in the festival and what’s in store for Irish film lovers this year, including Sing Steet, Viva and this year’s films from Reel Art, an Arts Council scheme designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme, operated in association with Filmbase.

Check out our preview of the Irish films set to screen at this year’s festival.
 
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The 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival takes place 18th and 28th February 2016. 
 
Click here for the full programme

 

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7th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival Highlights

The eagerly awaited line-up for the 7th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is beginning to take shape and festival goers can expect the programme to build and expand upon the major successes of the 2008 festival. This year’s programme marks Gráinne Humphreys second year at the helm as festival director and she is planning another showcase of the best in contemporary world cinema along with a glittering array of special guests and high-profile gala events.

Among the first films to be confirmed for this year’s festival include Laurent Cantet’s The Class, unanimously voted the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and the first French film to win the award in over 20 years. Featuring a multicultural cast of first-time teenage actors, The Class has been described by critics as ‘utterly engrossing from start to finish’ and creates an astonishingly rich slice of life in a tough Parisian neighbourhood.

Tomm Moore’s animation feature The Secret of Kells is set to premiere at the festival and brings the story of the boy behind the famed Book of Kells to life complete with stunning visuals and music from trad wizards Kila while Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s breathtakingly photographed Three Monkeys, winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, will feature as part of the special showcase of contemporary Turkish cinema.

This year’s retrospective focuses on Belgian auteur Chantal Akerman, described by the Village Voice as ‘arguably the most important European director of her generation’ and a leading light in experimental, deeply personal filmmaking. Akerman has had a profound impact on feminist filmmaking discourse and has proven herself to be an uncompromising and dedicated practitioner of the cinematic arts.

Finally, after the success of last year’s partnership, Dublin City Public Libraries, in association with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are preparing a very special film quiz. Libraries across the city will field teams of three older people (over 55 years) who will compete in the film quiz final on February 7th in Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse St, Dublin 1.

The 7th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival runs from February 12th to the 22nd. For more information, please visit the website at www.jdiff.com

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