The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (26 February – 8th March) returns for its 2020 edition, bringing with it 12 days of the best of  world cinema to Dublin alongside an exciting range of new Irish films. You can see the full programme here.

Below we preview the Irish films on offer.


DIR: Lorcan Finnegan • WRI: Garret Shanley, Lorcan Finnegan

26th Feb @ 18.15 / 21.00, Cineworld

Review of Irish Film @ DIFF 2020: Vivarium

A sci-fi suspense thriller, steeped in satire on suburbia and parenthood. A young couple looking for a starter home. Persuaded by a strange real estate agent, they decide to visit a brand-new development of homes on the outskirts of the city. The picture-perfect estate laid out under a sunny sky is attractive, but the couple gradually start to realise they are trapped in a scenario of nightmarish proportions. The estate appears to expand and all efforts to escape bring them back to the same house – then a baby boy appears.

CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg

Filmmakers in attendance.



DIR: Tom Sullivan • WRI: Tom Sullivan, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin

28th Feb 18.15, Light House Cinema

Review of Irish Film @ DIFF 2020: Arracht

Told in the Irish language, and set on the eve of The Great Hunger, Arract (meaning Monster) tells of a fisherman who takes in a stranger on the request of a priest. Events that follow lead to tragic personal struggles, but hope may come in the form of a young girl who needs his help.

CAST: Dónall Ó Healaí, Michael McElhatton,Saise Ní Chuinn

Filmmakers in attendance.


Broken Law

DIR/WRI:  Paddy Slattery

28th Feb @ 20.45, Cineworld

Broken Law review

A respected Garda finds his loyalties tested to the absolute limit in this crime thriller which tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law.

CAST: Ally Ni Chairain, Gary Lydon, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Graham Earley, John Connors, Ryan Lincoln, Tristan Heanue

Filmmakers in attendance. 


“a rich and compelling film that successfully articulates the frustrations and pitfalls of life in contemporary Ireland”

Street Leagues

DIR: Daniel F. Holmes

29th Feb @ 18.00, Cineworld

Featuring contributions from actor Colin Farrell, Street Leagues spotlights the redemptive power of sport, told through the personal testimonies of the homeless men and women who have found a sense of belonging and purpose in the beautiful game. It follows the Irish Street Leagues as they aim to progress through a major tournament.

Innocent Boy

DIR: John Connors • WRI: John Connors, Tiernan Williams

29th Feb 18.30, Light House Cinema

Innocent Boy, Review, John Connors

An all-Traveller cast stars in this drama about a young boy who uses the power of his imagination to cope with some tough realities in his life. Jack lost his mum at a young age, has a hearing impairment and is misunderstood and bullied at school. But joy and escape come in the fantasy world he has created with his best friend and beloved mare, Queenie. Innocent Boy was the winner of the 2019 Virgin Media Discovers Competition, chosen from over 600 submissions. Virgin Media Discovers is a short film competition to discover and support the very best filmmakers in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Rose Plays Julie

DIR/WRI: Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor

29th Feb @ 20.30, Light House Cinema

Rose Plays Julie

A veterinary student who has a loving relationship with her adoptive parents but is determined to track down her birth mother – and now has a name and number. Initially rejected, she is undaunted, even if it means uncovering troubling truths.

CAST: Aiden Gillen, Ann Skelly, Orla Brady

Filmmakers in attendance.


Screen Ireland Shorts #1

1st Mar 17.30, Light House Cinema

A selection of Screen Ireland shorts curated by Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.


New York Our Time

DIR: Vivienne Dick

2nd Mar 18.30, IFI

New York Our Time,  DIR: Vivienne Dick

Celebrated filmmaker and artist Vivienne Dick weaves a personal and philosophical documentary remembering 1970s New York in its heyday for bohemian artists and musicians. Featuring contributions from many of her contemporaries at that time, the film also contrasts the “No Wave” movement with contemporary culture amid present-day concerns.

Filmmakers in attendance.



DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic

3rd Mar 18.30, IFI

skin and soul film perry ogden, Film Ireland Review, DIFF

Skin+Soul was funded under the Arts Council Reel Art scheme which is designed to provide film artists with a unique opportunity to make highly creative, imaginative and experimental documentaries on an artistic theme.

Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Violet Gibson

DIR: Barrie Dowdall • WRI: Barrie Dowdall, Siobhán Lynam

4th Mar @ 20.30, Cineworld

The extraordinary true story of the Irish woman who shot Mussolini is brought to life in Barrie Dowdall’s documentary. Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, shot the dictator at point-blank range as she faced a Fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the enormous personal price she paid.

CAST: Olwen Fouéré, Paraic Cullen, Susan Barrett, Laura Kelly

Filmmakers in attendance.


Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

DIR: John Connors 

5th March @ 10.00, Cineworld

Jade McCann was working in media when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2018. She decided to share her story with her followers as she underwent treatment for the disease. Her dad, Anthony, had been diagnosed with stage four cancer just three weeks before her diagnosis. This documentary tells how they faced into illness, resilience and hope together.

Cast: Anthony McCann, Eoin McCann,Jade McCann, Kim McCann

When Women Won 

DIR:  Anna Rodgers WRI:  Anna Rodgers, Zlata Filipovic, Hugh Rodgers

5th March @ 16.00, Light House Cinema

When women won’ tells the emotional inside story of the Together for Yes campaign to repeal the 8th amendment and change Irish society forever. In the aftermath of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, three Irish feminists joined forces and set about establishing a grassroots, women-led social movement. Working with teams in every county in  Ireland, they ultimately delivered a landslide victory. Compelling and insightful, this documentary brings you back to the highs and lows of the tumultuous campaign, and captures the most seismic shift in Irish society in the past 35 years.

Calm With Horses

DIR:  Nick Rowland • WRI: Joseph Murtagh.

5th Mar 20.30, Light House Cinema

Set in rural Ireland, it tells the story of exboxer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, who has become a feared enforcer for powerful local drug-dealing family the Devers. He’s also trying to be a good and supportive dad to his five-year-old son, Jack, who has autism. Already torn between criminal dealings and family obligations, Arm’s loyalties are truly tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Anne Devlin

DIR/WRI: Pat Murphy

6th Mar 18.00, IFI

Pat Murphy’s groundbreaking, remastered drama about the woman commonly known as Robert Emmet’s housekeeper feels timely in the ongoing conversation about forgotten women in Irish history. Brid Brennan shines as Devlin, a woman of principles who refuses to be broken or betray her beliefs amid temptation, punishment and great suffering.

CAST: Bosco Hogan, Brid Brennen, Des McAleer

Pat Murphy in attendance



DIR:  Peter Mackie Burns • WRI: Mark O’Halloran

6th Mar 20.15, Light House Cinema

Colm is a man struggling with the death of his destructive father and other personal crises. Unable to confide in loved ones, he seeks solace in the arms of a young male prostitute, putting family life at even greater risk.   CAST: Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor   Filmmakers in attendance.


Windmill Lane

DIR: Alan Moloney

7th Mar 20.30, Cineworld

Windmill Lane

Director Alan Moloney’s film shows how a grimy warehouse in an inconsequential part of Dublin’s docklands became one of Ireland’s most important cultural cornerstones. Windmill Lane would become a mecca for music and the arts, with its output inspiring many at a time of remarkable cultural and social change in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.


Sea Fever

DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman

7th Mar 20.45, Light House Cinema

A young marine biology student is struggling with life among the closely-knit crew of a fishing trawler. But when many of them are struck down by a strange and lethal infection, they must work together if they are to survive.

CAT: Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Hermione Corfield

Neasa Hardiman in attendance.


End of Sentence 

DIR: Eflar Adalsteins WRI: Elfar Adalsteins, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, David Collins

A young ex-con and his father as they go on a road trip to scatter the ashes of their mother and wife. They aim to find common ground but get a lot more besides

CAST: John Hawkes, Logan Lerman, Sarah Bolger



DIR: Phyllida Lloyd • WRI: Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell

8th March @ 18:15, Cineworld

The story of Sandra who has parted ways with her possessive and domineering ex-partner. Sandra sets out to rebuild her life from scratch in order to provide a happy and peaceful home for her two young daughters.

But she finds herself struggling to fight back against a shattered housing system in the movie, which is set in and was filmed in Dublin. Undaunted, she sets about building her own place to call home, as she is determined to rebuild her and her family’s lives.

CAST: Clare Dunne, Ian Lloyd-Anderson, Conleth Hill, Harriet Walter.



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