How could the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival possibly top the arrivals of Danny DeVito doing a Q&A for War Of The Roses on Friday and Joss Whedon answering your - and my - nerdiest queries at his screening for Much Ado About Nothing on Saturday? It was going to be tough, but JDIFF were sure going to try.
As the final movies were playing, the Dublin Film Critic Circle convened to give their awards to the best of the best of the festival. Kicking things off with the acceptance of two new members - The Movie Show regular contributor Brian Lloyd, as well as yours truly - DFCC head honcho Tara Brady and the awards host entertainment.ie's own Gavin Burke brought out a cake with sparklers that accidentally set off the smoke detectors in the IFI. Let it not be said that film critics don't know how to throw a party! Then it was on to the awards themselves, which are as follows:
Best Film - Vanishing Waves
Best Director - Mikhail Segal, Short Stories
Best Actor - Aleksey Vertkov, White Tiger
Best Actress - Dilan Aksüt, Night of Silence
Best Debut - Maja Milos, Clip
Best Screenplay - Oriol Paulo, Lara Sendim, The Body
Best Documentary - Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
Best Irish Feature - Babygirl
Best Irish Documentary - Get the Picture
Best Cinematography - Oleg Mutu, Beyond the Hills
Jury Prize - Blancanieves
Jury Prize - After Lucia
Jury Prize - The King of Pigs
Michael Dwyer Discovery Award - Claire Dix, Broken Song
From there, we all rushed off to The Savoy for the Surprise Film. Always the first thing to sell out from when the tickets go on sale, this year the major guesses for what it might be included Matthew MacConnaughey's upcoming drama Mud, new Danny Boyle directed thriller Trance, and Jennifer Garner starrer The Odd Life Of Timothy Green. Starting off with a group of trailers to show us what it WON'T be - The Lone Ranger, The Great Gatsby, the exquisitely demented Fast & Furious 6 - then JDIFF head Grainne Humphreys came out to thank everyone involved with the festival, before telling us we were going to be watching 1974 "classic" Death Wish.
The lights went down, the curtains opened, and it was... Welcome To The Punch. Starring James McAvoy and Mark Strong, it was a sleek, glossy, entertaining but empty (some might say TOO empty) crime thriller. Keep your eye on entertainment.ie for Gav's full review soon.
Finally, it was the Closing Gala of the festival - harrowing documentary Blood Rising - and then we all filed out, headed to The Church for the closing party. Once again, the Jameson flowed, and everyone agreed it was one of the best JDIFFs to date. A huge congratulations and a massive thank you to everyone involved in the Jameson International Film Festival, and to all of the staff at The Church Bar on Mary Street. Despite all of the whiskey, those eleven days and nights will not easily be forgotten.
Here's to JDIFF '14!