Words: Mark Linehan
Jameson Dublin Film Festival: The Films Not To Be Missed (Part 1)
"Listen I got it! A bread van comes flying around the corner, as a pensive and suited Matt Damon looks on pursued by Montgomery Burns who is searching for the location of the Cave of Forgotten Dreams while the audience listens to the rousing strains of the Ballymun choir."
Sounds like a crazy Hollywood pitch (although I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing it made) but read on and you will discover a sense of the narrative accompanying this year's Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. February is usually the month where Cupid seems to have monopolised the hearts and minds of love crazed humans. However, has the nappy-wearing underage archer ever come up with a decent film festival? No, he has not. Lovers of film will be glad to know that JDIFF is going stronger than ever and - with over 120 films, from Ballymun to Bosnia, Istanbul to Iraq, from the touching tale of the choirs of Kinshasha to the hidden truths of Hurricane Katrina - it is bringing much more light to February. There is no excuse. If you want to be transported in time, strapped in by suspense, hiding in horror, informed, educated, or just tickled, then grab your eyes and get along to at least one of the many brilliant flicks on offer.
Here are my picks for the Festival, which officially kicks off on February 17th. It comes in three sections, tune back in next week for the following two. Firstly, we'll kick off with...
HOMEGROWN HEROES - IRISH TALENT AT JDIFF
As If I'm Not There
A harrowing tale set during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Based on true accounts of witnesses attending the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, it follows Samira, a modern schoolteacher in Sarajevo who takes a job in a small country village just as the war is beginning. Serbian soldiers soon overrun the village, shoot the men and keep the women as laborers and sex objects. This is the first feature from the award winning Irish director Juanita Wilson. Her previous short, The Door, received an Academy Award nomination and it looks like the graduate of NCAD and DIT will be one to watch for 2011.
As If I'm Not There will screen on Saturday 26th February 17:00 CINEWORLD 17
Using a battered bread van three brothers travel across Ireland trying to replace their dying Father's watch. This offbeat adventure set in 1987 follows Noel, Paudie, and Scwally as they embark on a journey of wild Ireland and themselves, as they fulfil their goal of finding an arcade machine in the small town of Ballybunion. This is a moving and funny story of how siblings sometimes have to go as far as they can just to get home. This is the debut feature of up-and-coming director Paul Fraser. The film’s screenwriter Will Collins won the Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Award in 2007. Not to be missed.
My Brothers will screen on Friday 25 18:30 in CINEWORLD 11.
Good Cake, Bad Cake
The year was 1982 and U2 had just released the seminal and huge selling album The Joshua Tree. Ireland became the oracle of the A&R men. Record company representatives flocked here to find another Fléadh Four. In Donoughmeade five teenagers were playing music and this soon perked up the ears of the industry. They became LiR and every man and his gramaphone listening dog were tipping them as the "next U2." This is a story of dashed dreams and sacrifices as we embark on a journey into success and failure and the impact it can have on friends and the continuing hope for some of them that "maybe next year will be the one." Not just for fans this is a touching journey into the perils of showbiz.
Good Cake, Bad Cake will screen on Feb 18 20:30 in Cineworld, and will be attended by Director Shimmy Marcus and the members of LiR
An inspiring story of how one man embarked on a journey to bring children from Ballymun in North Dublin together through music. Frank Berry's documentary follows professional music teacher Ron Cooney as his dream to provide music lessons to a community deprived of access to free education comes to fruition. Local teenagers (Tara, Wanye and Darren), work with composer Daragh O'Toole to create and perform an original orchestral suite. This is the incredible journey of a man with a mission and a single recorder who through fifteen years of hard work and determination has created a musical community now ready to record a full album. A joy to watch and featuring prescient lessons about determination which hit home more in these hardened times than ever before.
Frank Berry will attend the screening at 19 Feb at Cineworld 18:30.
Next week, Mark will be chronicling the Hollywood Heavy Hitters that will appear at the Festival, as well his Special Selection: Best of the rest not to be missed.