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Daily Mail, Friday, February 16, 2007

Page 47

Daily Mail, Friday, February 16, 2007 Page 47

FFiillmm IIttss FFrriiddaayy!!

Big stars, small budgets - it’s Dublin’s answer to Sundance ...

by Danielle McGrane
by
Danielle
McGrane

The Jameson Dublin Film Festival, February 16-25, various venues

T HE Jameson Dublin Film Festival, now in its fifth year, is set to open in Dublin tonight. And as with all the best things in

life, it has got better (and bigger) with age.

An estimated 700 people will buy season tickets and an audience of 40,000 is expected to attend the 109 films being shown in a celebration of world cinema. With Ireland having one of the highest cinema going public per capita in the world, Dublin is the ideal location. What’s more, we can now boast an impressive array of home-grown stars to support the event. Colin Farrell caused a media frenzy at the opening of the first festival and since then it has man- aged to attract a host of A-listers and film makers to keep the movie buffs happy. Last year Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Cillian Murphy fought for the spotlight, while an actor who has created his own media frenzy in the last few weeks, Ralph Fiennes, attended a Question and Answer session after his film The White Countess. This year, among the stars mak- ing an appearance are Gabriel Byrne, Ed Burns (otherwise known as Mr Christy Turlington), actor/writer Lenny Abrahamson, actress Ruth Negga and legendary film director, Wim Wenders. One of the highest profile films at this year’s festival is the crowd pleaser, Once. The Frames front- man, Glen Hansard, wrote the music and starred in this film, which won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The film has already sold out, along with a special screening of the sci-fi classic Metropolis.

One of the aims of the festival is to bring independent and foreign films to a broader Irish audience.

Many films explore real life issues

and moral dilemmas that challenge the audience more than the usual Hollywood blockbuster

‘Every year there are films that

create controversy and we have a few this year already creating a stir,’ says Festival Manager, Richard Carolan.

At the forefront of this year’s con- troversy is the documentary Deliver Us From Evil, about renowned paedophile Fr Oliver O’Grady. ‘Any film that touches on this subject matter is going to be controversial but I don’t think peo- ple are put off by the subject,’ adds Richard.

Another controversial film is Mine Your Own Business, an anti-envi- ronmentalist movie by two Irish directors, Anne McElhinney and Phelim McAleer.

Both films have already gener- ated a lot of interest and the direc- tors will be standing up to public scrutiny after the screenings, in audience Q&A sessions — a major part of the film festival.

‘This year over 50 per cent of the movies have somebody involved in the film coming in to talk and take questions,’ says Richard. ‘Gabriel Byrne will be at the opening film, Jindabyne, where he gives one of his best performances to date. The raison d’etre of the festival is to offer something above the normal cinema experience, which is why the Q&A sessions are so important and the lifeblood of the whole festi- val.’

New to this year’s festival are the Volta Awards — awards for career achievement in the film industry. The award is named after Dublin’s first ever picture theatre, on Mary Street, and the curator of which was none other than James Joyce.

‘The Voltas are going to be a part of the festival from now on. The award itself is designed by a Ger- man artist, Bettina Seitz, who is based in Ireland and anyone who has seen it thinks it’s stunning,’ explains Richard.

‘We have already awarded one to

Starring role: Gabriel Byrne
Starring role:
Gabriel Byrne

the Irish costume designer Conso- lata Boyle who recently worked on The Queen. Gabriel Byrne will also receive one as will Jeremy Thomas, producer of Fast Food Nation, and Brendan McCaul from Buena Vista.’

There will also be a screening of short films, presented by the Irish Film Board, and a range of short documentaries shown in associa- tion with Filmbase.

‘These short films are so impor- tant for giving emerging Irish film- makers an opportunity to put their films before an audience,’ says Richard.

‘Opportunities are few and far between for getting their films shown to a few hundred people and a film is nothing until it’s shown to an audience.’

With forty thousand people expected, these film makers are

getting a platform most people could only dream of. And with Jameson signed up to sponsor the festival for the next three years, its future looks secure.

Great news for the next genera- tion of Neil Jordans and Cillian Murphys taking their seats in this year’s audiences, looking to learn a few tricks from the experts.

For more information, visit www.dubliniff.com

ONES TO WATCH ...

CRE NA CILLE

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THIS is the first feature film in Irish to be screened at the festival. Directed by Robert Quinn, it is an adaption of the novel of the same name. The film depicts an intense jealousy between two sisters that continues into the afterlife and is set in a Connemara cemetery. It is a commemoration of 100 years since the birth of the book’s author, Máirtin O’Cadhain.

February 17, 6.20pm, IFI

SCOOP

STILL without a distributor in Ireland, this is the Irish premiere of Woody Allen’s latest film. Scarlett Johannson plays a journalist haunted by the ghost of another journalist, who has escaped a boat ride with death to give her a scoop. It will be screened as a gala presentation on the final Sunday.

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February 25, 11am, Savoy

VENUS

PETER O’TOOLE is in the Oscar runnings for his performance in this film. Unfortunately, O’Toole will not be in

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town when the film is screened as he is in Hollywood doing the rounds of talk shows in a bid to get the coveted award. True to form, he turns in an amazing performance.

February 20, 6pm, Cineworld

PORTRAIT

THE organisers are still unsure as to whether or not Neil Jordan will make an appearance at this sketch on his life. Definitely a director with his own style, this documentary

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made by French man Phillipe Pilard, will be an interesting overview of Jordan’s life and work to date.

Sat 24th Feb 6.20pm IFI 1

THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

PROBABLY the most expensive Chinese movie ever made, this film brings together the creme de la

creme of Chinese actors (the equivalent of Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and George Clooney in an American film). From House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou, this film looks spectacular.

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February 24, 10.30am Savoy

TRAPPED ASHES

A HORROR film that brings together five different stories, by five different directors, with a common thread

running through each of them. One piece was directed by Ken Russell who will be known to many for his appearance in Celebrity Big Brother.

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February 18, 11am, Cineworld

NORTH OF HOLLYWOOD

THE festival takes a look at Canadian film in this showcase of seven films. One to watch is Water, the conclusion of Deepa Mehta’s trilogy which began with Fire (1996) and Earth (1998). Also look out

for Hard Core Logo, a mockumentary on punk music.

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Water: February 17, 8.40pm, Screen 1 Hard Core Logo: February 18, 2pm, Screen 2

COLOUR ME KUBRICK

WRITTEN by Anthony Frewin (Kubrick’s researcher on 2001: A Space Odyssey), this film handles the character of a Kubrick impersonator with

great attention to

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detail. Based on a true story, John Malkovich plays a conman who posed as Kubrick in the 1990s.

February 25, 1.10pm, Cineworld 17