Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival returns to the big screen as 2022 programme announced

The 20th Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival will returns to the capital from February 23rd to March 6th for its first physical festival in over two years.

The 2022 programme was launched at the Light House Cinema by Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys at

Back where it belongs in cinemas, the Festival is excited to present to live, in person audiences the finest domestic and international feature films, short films and documentaries and a host of premieres, galas and special events alongside additional online programming. The landmark 20th anniversary edition promises to be a celebration of cinema and an event to remember. 

The Festival will welcome a host of onscreen talents including Carrie Crowley, Alan Cummings, Moe Dunford, Vicky Phelan, and George MacKay alongside filmmakers and creatives Neil Brand, Nathalie Biancheri, Adam McKay, Laurent Larivière, and Joi McMillon to mention but a few. 

“We are all thrilled to celebrate our 20th anniversary year as a living, breathing cinematic experience. I am particularly delighted to premiere the superb line up of new Irish films and show these new works alongside their international counterparts,” said Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys. “It’s a festival programme which I am extremely  proud of, packed with discoveries and gems. I’m thankful as ever to all our partners and friends for their support in helping us to realise a physical festival and to my colleagues for their commitment to making this the best festival possible. It has been a labour of love – so please enjoy.”

Audiences can look forward to an exhilarating 12 days with over one hundred events to choose from bookended by Festival opener An Cailín Ciúin, Colm Bairéad’s spell-binding portrait of an Irish childhood; and closing night’s My Old School, Jono McLeod’s look at the 1990’s Brandon Lee story, one of the strangest and most notorious imposter cases of modern times.  

The 2022 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival continues to highlight the strength of Irish cinema, with a stellar Irish programme weaving throughout the Festival. Set over the course of one night in Belfast, Nightride is a real-time, one-shot thriller about a dealer trying to pull off one last job in order to go straight. 

Other Irish gems include Nathalie Biancheri’s Wolf featuring an impressive cast including George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp; Young Plato, the fascinating documentary about maverick headmaster Kevin McArevey in Belfast’s Ardoyne area who uses the wisdoms of ancient Greek philosophers to encourage his pupils to challenge the mythologies of war and conflict; Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy’s Irish language feature Róise + Frank, which tells of grief stricken Róise who comes to believe a mysterious dog is the reincarnation of her late husband, Frank; and the world premiere of Dónal Foreman’s highly anticipated The Cry of Granuaile.  

Offering escapism, horror and thrillers have come into their own over the last few years and the selection screening at Festival are some of the most exciting of their genres. Filmed in iconic locations around Dublin, Conor McMahon’s comedic horror Let the Wrong One In, features a strong Irish cast alongside Buffy icon Anthony Head. 

Kate Dolan’s highly anticipated psychological thriller You Are Not My Mother will receive its Irish premiere at the Festival after its successful debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Acclaimed TV director Lee Haven Jones’ (CasualtyDoctor Who) will present his debut feature The Feast, told in the Welsh language, it centres on a mysterious young waitress tasked with serving privileged guests at a remote dinner party. 

Jenna Cato Bass’s South African supernatural thriller, Good Madam cleverly uses genre to address how past racial suffering can resonate with and haunt those affected generations later; South Korea’s entry for the 2022 Oscars, Escape From Mogadishu is the nail-biting political thriller based on a true story; whilst in 1980s period thriller drama Superior, a woman on the run goes home to hide with her identical twin, changing both their lives. 

Audiences’ continued love of documentaries is reflected in the 2022 programme. Domestic stories this year include the vital Vicky, Sasha King’s exclusive and intimate journey into Vicky Phelan’s fight to expose the truth of what happened in the Cervical Check Scandal for all women but also her own personal fight to stay alive. Seamus Murphy’s The Peculiar Sensation of Pat Ingoldsby examines Irish writer Ingoldsby’s unique world through his poems and candid anecdotes, bearing witness to his visceral relationship with his beloved Dublin and in How to Tell a Secret, filmmakers Anna Rogers and Shaun Dunne take an artistic approach to HIV disclosure.  

Documenting Irish music and culture, acclaimed music video maker Myles O’Reilly turns his lens to music documentary with the powerful Dark Horse on the Wind about Irish folk singer and songwriter Liam Weldon, who had a lifelong interest in the songs of the Irish Travellers and whose music reflected a strong awareness of poverty, disadvantage and exploitation; whilst the musical cultures of Ireland and India meet through the work of two of their greatest composers, acclaimed Indian classical musician Ustad Wajahat Khan and renowned Irish musician Peadar Ó Riada in Dónal Ó Céilleachair’s documentary Continuing Traditions. In Alan Gilsenan’s film-poem Ghosts of Baggotonia, the cultural life of the area around Baggot Street is explored and in North Circular Luke McManus takes us on a journey of the sights and sounds of the legendary artery that links some of Dublin’s most beloved places.  

Click here to watch the VMDIFF22 Trailer.

The international selection of documentaries takes an in-depth look at subjects from a focus on individual subjects to lesser known stories. Thomas Robsahm’s documentary Aha: The Movie, which includes candid new interviews with the band as well as previously unseen footage, takes a fresh look at the band that reinvented the music video as an art form; whilst Julia Cohen and Betsy West’s insightful and mouth-watering documentary Julia shows how Julia Child changed the way people thought about food, television and even women after finding fame in her 50s; Benjamin Bergmann and Jono Bergmann’s documentary Mau delves into the career of design visionary Bruce Mau and his optimistic push to expand the boundaries of design; whilst the career of Ann Hui, one of Hong Kong’s most influential filmmakers, is explored in Keep Rolling.  

Looking at the more unusual Mads Hedegaard’s Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest casts an eye on the Copenhagen gaming scene and infamous gamer Kim Cannon Arm; Jin Huanqing’s Dark Red Forest takes a majestic look at one community of 20,000 Buddhist nuns in Tibet; Venice Film Festival winner Special Jury Prize, Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il Buco is an immersive exploration of theground-breaking discovery of Calabria’s Bifurto Abyss in 1961; other gems include Bianca Stiger’s testament to life before the Holocaust, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, narrated by Helena Bonham Carter and Pietro Marcello’s keenly observed Italian documentary Futura

Offering much needed levity, comedy films are in abundance in the programme, from French/German/Irish co-production About Joan in which Isabelle Huppert heads a starry cast; to flamboyant comedy from top filmmaker Fernando León deAranoa The Good Boss, starring Javier Bardem; Joachim Trier’s latest comedy-drama The Worst Person in the World, for which Renate Reinsve won best actressat Cannes; professional goalkeeper for Iceland turned director, Hannes Þór Halldórsson’s wild blend of action, Cop Secret, a comedy and a satire on mainstream Hollywood blockbusters; American indie comedy drama Red Rocket; Todd Stephens’ flamboyant Swan Song; German playful black comedy ; quirky, offbeat drama imagines a world where our dreams are for sale, Strawberry Mansion; Iranian road movie and Audience Award winner at London Film Festival, Hit The Road; tender comedy The Odd Job Men; French romantic comedy Anais in Love and Anca Damian’s animated comedy The Island

Festival audiences will get exclusive opportunities to watch some of the most highly anticipated and recognised films from across the world including: Antoneta AlamatKusijanovic’s debut Murina, executive-produced by Martin Scorsese it scooped theCamera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival; Happening, Audrey Diwan’s adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s acclaimed novel which won Golden Lion at Venice International Film Festival; Luzzu, for which lead actor Jesmark Scicluna received a Special Jury Awardat Sundance; Nitram, which won Caleb Landry Jones the Best Actor accolade at Cannes Film Festival for the titular role; and Cannes Film Festival breakout hit Playground.  

New films by internationally acclaimed filmmakers offer many gems: François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine starring Sophie Marceau, André Dussollier and Charlotte Rampling; Terence Davies’ Benediction which tells the story of the remarkable life of acclaimed British poet Siegfried Sassoon; Mia Hansen- Love’s charming Bergman Island starring Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth; Gaspar Noé’s most personal film Vortex; Chinese film icon Zhang Yimou’s (House of Flying Daggers) testament to the magic and strength of cinema One Second; Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) breathes a fresh new perspective to a well-known story in animation Where is Anne Frank; and Paul Verhoeven brings us to 17th-century Renaissance Italy in a tale of illicit sexuality Benedetta

Stories continue to range across the world from Western The Drover’s Wife, The Legend of Molly Johnson, set in Australia’s remote Outback; Shortlisted for the Palme d’Or, Casablanca Beats tells of the power of hip hip in the Moroccan city; Dina Amer’s powerful first feature You Resemble Me which looks at identity and Islamic radicalisation; Evolution by acclaimed Hungarian filmmakers Kornél Mundruczo and Kata Wéber (Pieces of a Woman); history, politics and France’s passion for food combine in comedy/drama Délicieux; Ukrainian film Reflection, a compelling and potentially prescient statement on the horror of war; Bouli Lanners’ tender, engrossing drama Nobody Has to Know; Lisa Bierwith’s tender romance Le Prince; Laura Samani’s powerful debut Small Body; Queena Li’s atmospheric fable Bipolar;psychological drama True Things starring Ruth Wilson, as well as a selection of films that show the power of sport, football focused For You Diego, and the highs and lows of gymnastics in Olga

The 2022 Festival Retrospective celebrates the work of Sarah Maldoror continuing the focus on trail blazing Black Women Filmmakers initiated in last year’s event.  

Featuring 48 shorts across six different screening presentations, the Festival Shorts Programme will be the biggest showcase of this unique artform yet with a selection of highlights from Screen Ireland’s funding schemes, a new selection of some of the best shorts from Glasgow Film Festival, four Virgin Media DIFF presentations and the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, in association with Screen Ireland.  

Realising the central role of festivals within the domestic film industry, the Festival has a number of Industry initiatives, including the Aer Lingus Discovery Award for emerging talent, First Frame Film Student Initiative sponsored by Warner Media, which will welcome Academy Award winning writer-director-producer Adam McKay who will also receive the Volta Award marking his contribution to film, the Young film critics initiative and various talks and events throughout the Festival.  

The Surprise Film continues to be one of the most popular events in the Festival programme but, as always, its identity remains a tightly-guarded secret known only to the Festival Director. 

All Festival screenings and events will adhere to government guidelines and Covid safety regulations.  

Close Search Window