John Butler’s Papi Chulo Opens 17th Virgin Media Dublin Film Festival

We may be based in the Glasgow area and our film festival focus might be on Glasgow, but at the same time Dublin has its own festival. Earlier today Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival launched it’s 17th edition Programme.

This year’s fest will run from February 20th until March 3rd, with a packed programme, featuring over 125 events across 12 days including the finest local and international feature films, short films and documentaries, along with a dedicated children’s and young people’s programme and a host of special events featuring industry leaders.

Kicking off this year’s festival in style will be the Opening Gala and Irish premiere of Papi Chulo, the new film from Irish director John Butler (Handsome Devil, The Stag). Joining John on the red carpet for the premiere will be the stars of the film, Matt Bomer (Magic Mike and The Magnificent Seven), and his co-star Alejandro Patiño. The comedy drama tells the story of a well-heeled, lonely, gay TV weatherman who strikes up an unusual friendship with an older straight migrant worker from Mexico and deals with themes of friendship, class, ethnicity and economic migration.

Stephen Merchant visits the Festival for the premiere of his new movie, Fighting With My Family, bringing with him the true, colourful and crazy story of the rise of WWE Superstar Paige. Merchant wrote and directed the film, which tells the story of reformed gangster and former wrestler Ricky, his wife Julia, daughter Saraya (Florence Pugh)and son Zak (Jack Lowden) who make a living performing in tiny venues across the country. Ricky and Julia want a better life for their children and when brother and sister get the chance to audition for WWE, it seems the family dream is coming true and all their troubles will be solved, but their family bonds are soon put to the test. Wrestling fans seeing the movie should also keep an eye out for a memorable on screen appearance from champion wrestler turned movie star, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who also produced this film.

The closing gala will a film set in Glasgow starring Jessie Buckley(Beast) Wild Rose. An infectiously joyous heart warmer, where Rose-Lynn dreams of getting out of Glasgow and emulating the country singers she idolises by making it as a singer in Nashville, but life decisions and circumstances soon find her facing what she perceives as a choice between family and stardom.The film also stars the much-loved Julie Walters and Hotel Rwanda’s Sophie Okonedo.

It’s not all about the latest from Hollywood, the festival supports local Irish talent including Neil Jordan’s psychological thriller Greta, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and French actress Isabelle Huppert. A film described as a dark, delicious treat. Dark Lies The Island, pitch-black comedy centring on a small Irish town over a week-long period, starring Pat Shortt, Charlie Murphy, Tommy Tiernan and Moe Dunford. Psychic, the directorial debut by Brendan Gleeson, about a charismatic psychic and his two manipulative sons who are gaining a cult following, played by his real-life sons Domhnall and Brian. BAFTA nominated Wren Boys is the story of a Catholic priest from Cork who drives his nephew to prison to marry a maverick gay inmate on a bleak Stephen’s Day.

Other Highlights include Bo Burnham‘s much loved Sundance hit Eighth Grade. The 40th anniversary of one of pop culture’s most iconic movies, The Muppet Movie. Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour), Lucy Fry (Wolf Creek) and Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver)will be in town for the world premiere of She’s Missing. The drama thriller by Irish writer and director Alexandra McGuinness is about a young woman, Heidi, whose best friend goes missing at a rodeo after meeting a mysterious man. She sets out across the desert, unveiling astonishing secrets and encountering the unexpected violence of life on the road.

Speaking about the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019 programme, Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director said: “As well as celebrating the best of Irish film talent, the programme for this year’s festival once again features a global line-up including world premieres and visits from the industry’s best known stars. We’ve found some fantastic titles for this year and we’re looking forward to sharing these discoveries. Whether it’s feature films, documentaries exploring topical themes or a celebration of Charlie Chaplin’s iconic The Kid, the 2019 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival definitely celebrates the love Irish people have for cinema and those who make it. We’re delighted to be working with Virgin Media as the festival’s title sponsor for three years too. They’re known for their association with the best movies and television content as Ireland’s leading connected internet provider and our partnership will allow us to bring some of the world’s most exciting cinema to a wider audience.”

For more information and to purchase tickets visit

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