Eight things we learned at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival

Armie Hammer, Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy in 1970s mode for Free Fire.

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival was one of the best of recent years, writes Esther McCarthy


Cillian Murphy rocks the 1970s moustache. He grew the facial hair for Ben Wheatley’s shoot ‘em up arms smuggler thriller, Free Fire.

Wheatley, it emerges, had fun encouraging facial hair from all of the males in his cast.

“I think there’s ten different variations on beard and moustache [among the cast],” Murphy told us.

“I remember going, ‘Ben, are you sure everyone should have a ’tache?’ and he was like, ‘Ya, I think so’.”


Emer Reynolds’ new documentary is set to be one of ADIFF’s breakthrough smashes.

The Farthest, set around the launch of the Voyager space probes, drew huge cheers from the audience and is already notching up plaudits and reviews.

Screen International called it: “The right film at the right time, a cathartic moment in which audiences will shed tears for a little machine made of silicon and aluminium”.

Reynolds received two awards for her work from Dublin Film Critics Circle: Best Irish Documentary and the George Byrne Maverick Award.


The surprise film went down a treat.

Always the first screening to sell out at ADIFF, the surprise film at a festival first started by the late Michael Dwyer, has drawn gasps, cheers and groans over the years when the curtains parted to reveal the festival’s best-kept secret.

This year’s movie, American comedy horror Get Out, looks set to be a big hit for Jordan Peele, making his directorial debut. It reaches cinemas on March 17.


Jacqueline Wilson has no notion of putting down her pen.

The much-loved children’s author — who beguiled just about everyone she met over a weekend in Dublin for the Fantastic Flix programme - may have written over 100 books.

But at 71, she can’t see herself not writing for at least a few hours every day.

She’d not written for two days when we met, and admitted she was already pining to write again.


ADIFF’s shorts programme shows there’s much to be excited about from our future filmmakers.

As a jury member in this year’s competition, I was seriously impressed with the range of native talent from the very competitive shorts programme.

James Doherty’s short Breathe, about the relationship between a Traveller boy and his father, drew special mention.

Best short went to Graham Cantwell’s terrific Lily, the story of a girl who turns the tables on the homophobic bullies in her school.

It’s smart, timely, funny and carried by a great young cast. German short Speechless was a deserved international winner.


Handsome Devil is a star-maker of a movie.

Like last year’s Sing Street, John Butler’s follow-up to The Stag focuses on its fine young cast.

The coming-of-age drama about two teenagers forced to share a room in a rugby-obsessed boarding school features established actors like Andrew Scott and Moe Dunford.

But it’s the two young leads, Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Galitzine, who get to shine.


Niamh Algar is an actress to watch.

The festival awarded her a Discovery Award for her work in a number of shorts as well as her lead role in Lorcan Finnegan’s directorial debut, Without Name.

The horror drama is one of the breakthough Irish films shown at the festival and was quickly snapped up for a forthcoming national release following its Dublin screening.


2017 looks like a bright year for Irish documentaries.

From raves for Emer Reynolds’ doc The Farthest, to the very deserved international success of In Loco Parentis, about Ireland’s only boarding school for primary-age children, our traditional of storytelling looks set to have a bountiful year.

Other well-received Irish documentaries included The Piano Lesson, and Notes on Rave in Dublin, about the 1990s rave scene.


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