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Entertainment / March 3, 2021

Must-sees from the 2021 virtual Dublin International Film Festival

Still from 'Drifting'
Entertainment / March 3, 2021

Must-sees from the 2021 virtual Dublin International Film Festival

By Emily Mullen

This is the first virtual festival undertaking in DIFF’s 17 years in operation.

At this point, we are well versed with virtual experiences. Be them talks, screenings, wine tastings, cook alongs, or virtual gallery viewings. However, film festivals probably lend themselves best to virtual experiences. The solitary silence is easy to replicate, so too is the popcorn. It’s unsurprising then, that the Dublin International Film Festival has quickly become one of the hottest virtual tickets in town. Running from March 3 to 14, we’ve collated our top picks from the festival:



This much teased short film, created ripples back in January when its trailer showing Normal People’s Paul Mescal was released. Directed by Robert Higgins the 14-minute film centers around the impact of emigration on two friends, played by Mescal and Dafhyd Flynn. The theme of the film is no doubt going to register with a wide-ranging group of people as it hits on friendship, excess, envy, loss, and the mundane. The film has also been largely scored by Daithi who premiered an extract of it at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

Drifting is part of a curated collection of short films which will be screened and a Q&A with filmmakers will be aired at 12 pm on March 3, tickets are €6.50 and are available here.


A Worm in the Heart


This landmark documentary visits six cities along Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway and gathers the experiences of LGBTQ+ people living there. Irish director Paul Rice and his partner the producer Liam Jackson Montgomery speak with diverse members of the community from people from Nobel Peace prize nominees and drag queens about what it means to be queer in Russia.

Alongside a screening of A Worm in the Heart a Q&A with Paul Rice and Liam Jackson Montgomery will be hosted by Lisa Connell, Managing Editor of GCN, at 4pm on March 6, tickets are €8.50 and are available here.



Harry Macqueen’s drama Supernova looks set to tickle this year’s awards judges the right way. Film veterans Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a longtime couple facing the inevitable long goodbye, by taking on what will be their last holiday together. Harking back to his directing debut with Hinterland, Macqueen once again places relationships front and center of this intimate drama.

This sold-out screening airs at 7 pm on March 3 and includes a Q&A with director Harry Macqueen and actors Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, followed by the presentation of our Volta Award to Colin Firth for his contribution to the world of film.



French directors Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh’s debut feature film was a Cannes 2020 breakout star. His name is not the only thing that Yuri (played by Alseni Bathily) shares with Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, who inaugurated the housing project where the teenager lives. The teen draws on his namesake for the resolve to save the huge Cité Gagarine in the outskirts of Paris from demolition. Delving into themes of legacy and marginalisation, the coming of age film is in its entirely own orbit. 

Gagarine airs on March 9, 1:00 pm for €8.50, tickets available here.


Paris Qui Dort


Known as The Crazy Ray, this film is part of a series of classic screenings hosted by the Dublin International Film Festival. Aired in 1925, this sci-fi comedy is wonderfully offbeat and true to the much beloved 1920s aesthetic. Restored into 4K, René Clair’s groundbreaking silent film centres on a worker who finds himself in a fantasy where he uses a ray gun to zap the citizens of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower into a slumber.

Stream Paris Qui Dort from March 7th at 1pm, tickets priced at €8.50 are available


In Conversation with Steve McQueen

Dublin International Film Festival is not just restricted to film screenings. With scriptwriter Mark O’Halloran (of Adam & Paul and Garage fame) in conversation with legendary filmmaker Steve McQueen. Centering around his artistic process, McQueen has signaled that this conversation will reference his Irish ties, most notably his first feature film, Hunger.

In Conversation with Steve McQueen is available for streaming from 7pm on March 5, and it can be preordered now for free, see here.


Playback X DIFF

In conjunction with Playback, Dublin International Film Festival, and with curation from producer Michael Donnelly V and Erica Cody, Playback X DIFF was born. The project champions Irish Hip Hop + R&B through the creation of 12 music videos alongside specially-recorded interviews with the video directors and music artists like For Those I Love, Mango X Mathman, Denise Chaila, to name a few.

Stream starts at 7 pm on March 7th, tickets are €10.50 and are available here.


Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Greenwich Entertainment

Hungarian writer-director Lili Horvat’s second feature film Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time straddles the sometimes precarious relationship between consciousness and desire. Which sees a neurosurgeon played by Natasa Stork leaving behind her life and career in the U.S. for a man that she loves, spoiler alert when they meet once more he’s adamant that he’s never met her before.

Stream Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time alongside Alone Once short at 7 pm on March 9th, tickets cost €8.50 and are available here.



kate Winslet saoirse ronan ammonite

In what was set to be one of 2020’s biguns’, director Francis Lee reimagines paleontology pioneer Mary Anning’s fossil discovery along the Dorset coast with another rather romantic discovery. Anning played by Kate Winslet falls in love with fellow geologist Charlotte Murchison played by Saoirse Ronan. Starring such heavy lifters have helped Lee’s biopic to delve into much more than simple fossils.

The screening of Ammonite and Q&A with director Francis Lee, hosted by Colm O’Regan is sold out.


Deadly Cuts

Closing out the festival will be some homegrown talent from Dubliner Rachel Carey with her dark comedy Deadly Cuts. Shot on location, with lashings of true blue humour, Deadly Cuts sees a group of hairstylists become unlikely heroes as they save their community from gang members and gentrifiers.

Unsurprisingly this world premiere and Q&A hosted by festival director Gráinne Humphreys with director Rachel Carey alongside cast members Ericka Roe, Angeline Ball, Lauren Larkin, and Shauna Higgins is sold out.

Click here to view the Dublin International Film Festival’s full programme and to purchase tickets.