Minari scoops Virgin Media Audience Award at the 2021 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival

The 2021 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival announced its final prestigious Virgin Media Audience Award winner today following a hugely successful event with advance sell outs, capacity audiences and increased sales, an all-Ireland reach and an enhanced international footprint.


Proving to be a real favourite at the Festival, Lee Isaac Chung’s tender film about a Korean-American family, Minari, scooped this year’s hotly contested Audience Award. The film was also a winner with the critics, receiving the gong for Best Screenplay at the Dublin Film Critics Circle (DFCC) Awards announced on Sunday. Audiences chose Irish short To All My Darlings as their favourite short.


Other favourites throughout the Festival included Apples, which won the Best Film category at the DFCC Awards and To The Moon which was awarded Best Irish Film; Acasa My Home, which won the Festival Documentary Competition, as well as Best Documentary at the DFCC Awards and The Dissident which won the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Award and also  received a DFCC Jury Award.


Although the main programme has come to a close, the Festival is delighted that Playback x VMDIFF: Irish Hip Hop & R&B a dynamic programme of some of the best contemporary hip hop music videos in Ireland today will travel internationally. Commissioned by the Festival and curated by producer Michael Donnelly V and musician Erica Cody Playback will travel to 8 festivals and arts centres across the US and the world including Paris, Berlin, New York, Moscow, Mumbai and Ottawa, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs.


This year’s virtual Festival reached well beyond Dublin with people tuning in throughout the country with particularly strong numbers from Cork, Limerick and Galway, and with industry events attracting participants from as far afield as the US and South America. As well as increased viewing numbers this year, Festival organisers noted a wider audience spread across the programme and increased multiple ticket purchasing.


Festival Director Grainne Humphreys and Managing Director Helen Hutton are already relishing the prospect of retaining and building on the new audiences and new connections forged in 2021.


The Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition in association with Screen Ireland winners were announced as Allie O’Rourke and Becky Cheatle (Punch Line) and Rehan Ali (Water Under the Bridge), who will share a production fund of €60,000 for their short films. Both Punch Line and Water Under The Bridge will premiere on Virgin Media Television and on Virgin Media’s On Demand platform and a preview screening in conjunction with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival later in the year.


Full list of Festival Awards winners below:



Minari Lee Issac Chung



To All My Darlings, Lia Campbell



Best Film – Apples, Christos Nikou

Best Irish Film – To The Moon, Tadhg O’Sullivan

Best Director – Lili Horvát, Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Best Actress – Joanna Scanlon, After Love

Best Actor – Goran Bogdan, Father

Best Screenplay – Lee Issac Chung, Minari

Best Cinematography – Viktor Kosakovskiy and Egil Håskjold Larsen, Gunda

Best Documentary – Acasa My Home, Radu Ciorniciuc

George Byrne Maverick Award – Ivan Kavanagh, Son

Michael Dwyer Discovery Award – Zofia Stafiej, I Never Cry

Jury Awards –

Kyle Gallner, Dinner in America

Noah Hutton, Lapsis

Zoé Wittock, Jumbo

Bryan Fogel, The Dissident



Rachel Carey, Deadly Cuts

Burschi Wojnar, Kathleen Was Here

Hazel Doupe, Kathleen Was Here

Saileóg O’Halloran, Kathleen Was Here



Acasa, My Home, Radu Ciorniciuc

Special mention

The Reason I Jump, Jerry RothwelL



Sue Bruce-Smith Award for Best Irish Short - Her Song, Éabha Bortolozzo and Jack Kirwan

Special Mention – Kathleen was Here, Eva Birthistle

Best International Short – Anita, Sushma Khadepaun

Special Mentions – 

Omé,Wassim Geagea 

I am Afraid to Forget your Face, Sameh Alaa



The Dissident, Bryan Fogel



Allie O’Rourke and Becky Cheatle, Punch Line


Based on true events, Punch Line tells the story of how a transgender female stand-up comedian reframes a transphobic attack she experiences during the day in her routine that evening. The story explores diversity and inclusion from the perspective of a trans woman who is the victim of repeated assaults, physical and verbal but she owns the experience in a way that she triumphs over it.


Rehan Ali, Water Under the Bridge


Water Under The Bridge tells a coming of age story about a character who is traumatised by the loss of his father and experience as a refugee, told by someone who lived in a Direct Provision centre from the age of six to 16. While the film will explore diversity and inclusion from a race perspective it also deals with themes of being gay and mental health.


The Festival would like to acknowledge the continuing support of the Arts Council and Screen Ireland.


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