My Old School brings the curtain down on a truly wonderful 20th Anniversary Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 

The curtain came down on the 20th Anniversary Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival last night with the Irish Premiere of My Old School, director Jono McLeod’s look at the 1990’s Brandon Lee story, one of the strangest and most notorious imposter cases of modern times. The Festival were delighted to welcome McLeod and fellow Scot, actor Alan Cumming to Dublin to close out a truly wonderful 12 day celebration of Irish and world cinema. 


Also announced on the Closing Night were the hotly anticipated Dublin Film Critics Circle (DFCC) Awards, crowning Vortex as Best Film, with the Best Irish Film award going to An Cailín Ciúin.


Speaking about the Awards, DFCC Chair Tara Brady said: "It is always a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the critics' jury at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. This year, the Dublin Film Critics' Circle were especially gladdened by several exceptional Irish films, and, in particular, two wonderful Irish language movies, Róise & Frank and An Cailín Ciúin. We are proud to be in a position to pay tribute to such talents as Kelly Campbell and Tristan Heanue. 


We felt honoured to watch an irresistible performance from Udo Kier, and to welcome new work from such masters of the medium as Terence Davies, Sean Baker, and Gaspar Noe. It was equally thrilling to encounter tremendous films from emerging talents, including HiveHappeningCannon Arm and the Arcade QuestMaisiePlaygroundVicky, and Small Body.


Since we last held the awards ceremony in early 2020. cinema has been overshadowed by an existential threat. It's great to be back watching Gráinne Humphreys' creatively curated programme."


Further DFCC accolades were awarded to: Laura Samani, (Small Body) for Best Director ; Anamaria Vartolomei, (Happening) for Best Actress; Udo Kier, (Swan Song) for Best Actor; Terence Davies, Benediction for Best Screenplay; Frédéric Noirhomme, (Playground) for Best Cinematography; Róise & Frank for Best Ensemble. Sean Baker, (Red Rocket) for Best Editor and writer/director Blerta Basholli, (Hive) for Best Debut Feature. The Best Documentary title went to Maisie with Vicky taking Best Irish Documentary. The Special Jury Prize went to Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest.


The DFCC this year announced writer/director Tristan Heanue (Harvest) as recipient of the George Byrne MaverickAward and director Kelly Campbell (An Encounter) as recipient of the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award. Full awards details and recipients are available on


This year’s festival outreach was again amplified by a very special partnership with a group of extremely enthusiastic film writers and film critics. Co-ordinated on behalf of Young Irish Filmmakers, the Young Film Critics initiative aims to create more informal education space for young people to engage with international and youth-authored/classic and independent cinema (film and animation, including silent era). This year, the group of nearly 30 young people watched a selection of films from the programme and wrote up reviews as well as created podcasts on specific films. The group also participated in a writing workshop with Finn Halligan (chief film critic Screen Daily) as well as meeting with filmmakers Harry Wootliff (True Things) and Colm Bairéad (An Cailin Ciúin). The Festival is delighted that the young people will share their work on the festival website. 


Speaking about this year’s festival, Gráinne Humphreys, Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Director, said “There have been an extra special intensity to the audience responses to the screenings in this year’s festival.  From the tears flowing after our Opening Night film An Cailín Ciúin to the laughter of our comedy strand (Róise and FrankThe Good Boss amongst others) to the emotional drain of Gasper Noe's Vortex to the nerve shredding horrors You Are Not My Mother and The Feast.. it has been a roller coaster! I must pay credit to the tireless festival  team who have worked so hard to bring this year’s film show to life - to the filmmakers whose work we celebrate and the audiences who joined us, we are tired but very happy”


Niamh O’Driscoll, Head of Brand and Marketing, Virgin Media, said: “This year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival returned the movie magic back to cinema screens.  The team delivered a full live programme which connected with so many new audiences across Ireland and around the world.  As we come to the end of the Festival, Virgin Media would like to thank all the festival team, filmmakers, distributors, venues and especially the audiences that made this year’s Festival such a huge success.”


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