The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival revealed the winners of its various coveted awards for 2020: Virgin Media Audience, Documentary, Aer Lingus Discovery, Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards, Shorts and Fantastic Flix.

Audiences were the real winners at the 2020 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, with over 110 films and stellar guests including Charlie Kaufman, Niamh Algar, Barry Keoghan, Bob Geldof, Marjane Satrapi, Trine Dyrholm, George MacKay, Clare Dunne, Phyllida Lloyd and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor attending the festival.

The Festival closed on a high last night on International Women’s Day with a very fitting gala screening of Herself, an inspiring story of female resilience and empowerment written by and starring Aer Lingus Discovery Award nominee Clare Dunne. The film received the ICCL Human Rights Film Award, awarded in partnership with the The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) at a special event on Friday 6th March with Liam Cunningham receiving the inaugural Lifetime Contribution Award. Special mention was also given to Daniel F. Holmes’ Street Leagues, which recounts the personal testimonies of the homeless men and women who have found a sense of belonging and purpose in the beautiful game.

John Connors’ debut feature documentary Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day about the late Jade McCann and her father Anthony who died just months apart, scooped the hotly contested Audience Award. Voted for by the audience, who gave a rapturous standing ovation after the World Premiere screening at the Festival, the €5000 cash prize was welcomed by a delighted Connors. Audiences also chose Shaun Dunne’s Iarscoláire as their favourite short in the Festival.

A powerful means to challenge and question the status quo, documentary film has always been a strong pillar of the Festival, and this year was no exception. The beautifully observed Confucian Dream (China USA) a gripping portrait of marital and parental crisis directed by Milje Li was the undisputed winner of the 2020 Documentary Competition.

The Award for Best Irish Short Film went to Welcome to a Bright White Limbo directed by Cara Holmes with a Special Mention for Innocent Boy, directed by John Connors. Best International Short Film was awarded to Quiet Land Good People directed by Johannes Bachmann with a Special Mention for Adnan directed by Steven Chatterton & Mark Arrigo.

The jury for the Aer Lingus Discovery Award had a tough decision in choosing the four winners from this year’s line-up of thirteen emerging and new talents both in front of and behind the camera – Cara Holmes (Director), Claire Byrne (Director), Paddy Slattery (Director, Writer) and Dónal Ó Héalaí (Lead Actor).

After many hours in darkened rooms, the esteemed Dublin Film Critics’ Circle announced their Festival favourites, declaring Supernova as Best Film, Roy Andersson (About Endlessness) as Best Director and Arracht as Best Irish Film. The Michael Dwyer Discovery Award went to Clare Dunne for Herself, and the George Byrne Maverick Award went to Pat Murphy for Anne Devlin.

The Fantastic Flix Childrens Jury composed of the Ark Advisory Committee selected Disney Pixar’s Onward as Best Feature Film and Streets of Fury (directed by Aidan McAteer) as Best Short Film.

Speaking about this year’s festival, Gráinne Humphreys, Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Director, said “ It has been an exciting 12 days celebration of cinema which our audiences have embraced with gusto. I have been delighted to connect Irish audiences to global perspectives in our world cinema programming alongside an exhilarating robust slate of new Irish films, testament to the dynamic vigorous film industry here. We celebrated the best of Irish and international filmmaking talent with a line-up that featured world premieres, new discoveries and visits from the industry’s best known stars.”

Niamh O’Driscoll, Head of Brand and Marketing at Virgin Media said: “This year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival has delivered another hit programme, showcasing an incredible mix of perspectives. We commend Festival Director, Gráinne Humphreys and her team for selecting such a diverse collection of local and international talent including actors, writers, directors, producers and projecting that talent to a world audience. This is Virgin Media’s second year as title sponsor and underlines our commitment to foster creativity in film production and television content, as Ireland’s leading connected entertainment provider and commercial broadcasting company.”

Full awards details and recipients are available on www.diff.ie