The 9th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is just 3 weeks away. The festival launches it’s programme later tonight, with the festival itself running from February 17th to 27th. That’s 11 days, 130 screening and a whole host of special events, panel discussions, public interviews and industry masterclasses.

The festival opens with Richard Ayoade’s (of The I.T. Crowd fame) directorial debut Submarine, a coming of age story based on the Curtis Brown Prize-winning novel by Joe Dunthorne, that has been wowing at festivals worldwide. This is followed by a succession of Irish premières including George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon; Emilio Estevez’s second feature The Way, starring his dad Martin Sheen; and the brand new Liam Neeson starring action-thriller Unknown.

Other great movies lined up for the festival include Anton Checkov’s The Duel starring Fiona Glascott and Andrew Scott; the new Woody Allen movie You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger; Irish film Wake Wood from the legendary Hammer Films starring Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle and Timothy Spall; Ken Loach’s thriller Route Irish, set on the most dangerous road in Iraq, and his son Jim Loach’s first feature Oranges and Sunshine as well as two of the shortlisted films for best foreign language Oscar, Incendies (Canada) and Life, Above All (South Africa).

A sure-fire highlight of the festival will be the launch of the Jameson Cult Film Club in Ireland, with Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey fronting a special interactive screening of the magnificent The Usual Suspects. There’s also a focus on the cinema of Romania, with acclaimed movies The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu and Hello, How Are You? screening. Latin American and French cinema is featured too, with Diego Luna’s directorial debut Abel and Preludio (a movie filmed all in one shot) appearing, alongside Guillaume Canet’s Little White Lies, and François Ozon’s Potiche. The multi-Cesar winning Potiche will actually be the Closing Gala of the festival.

Irish cinema is not forgotten, with 18 features and documentaries and 20 short films set to unspool during the 11 days. The 2011 Irish Talent Spotlight features the work of director Juanita Wilson, animator David O’Reilly and actor Aiden Gillen. There will also be a focus behind the scenes of the industry with a number of events: Screentest is a series of careers related panel discussions; a Screenwriting Panel discussion held in association with Dublin City Libraries, and the new screenwriting competition Untitled. Exploring the blurring boundaries between cinema and computer games, the Off The Grid event will also bring gaming ‘industry legend’ Charles Cecil to Dublin for a masterclass in interactive storytelling.

There’s countless more highlights, including a 50th anniversary screening of West Side Story, that are too numerous to mention. Suffice to say that the festival has a little something for everyone.

Full details can be found on the JDIFF website, where bookings can be made from midnight tonight. You can also follow events on Facebook, Twitter, and on the brand new JDIFF iPhone and Android apps. See you there!

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