Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys revealed an historic first for the festival with Irish language feature film An Cailín Ciúin to open the 20th anniversary edition of the Festival.

The complex and delicate coming-of-age drama explores questions of family, neglect and loss through the eyes of its young protagonist. The full Festival programme will be announced on Wednesday 2nd February.

In addition the Festival announced the world premieres of the 2021 Arts Council funded films The Cry of Granuaile (Authored Works) and The Ghosts of Baggotonia, How to Tell a Secret and North Circular (Reel Art). In celebration of this milestone year afficionados will be treated to a short season of 20th Anniversary Screenings of four past Audience Award films: Broken Song (2013), Waveriders (2008), The Raid (2011) and Anvil (2009).

'Our Opening Night is the glorious An Cailín Ciúin one of the finest films of recent memory and a dazzling new talent in writer-director Colm Bairead. This superb adaptation of Claire Keegan's Foster is a spellbinding portrait of an Irish childhood, luminous photography and impeccable cast led by newcomer Catherine Clinch in the title role’ Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director.

The achingly beautiful An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) is the feature debut from writer/director, Colm Bairéad. Based on the acclaimed story, Foster by Claire Keegan it will screen in Dublin fresh from its World Premiere at Berlin Film Festival. Set in 1981 in rural Ireland, it tells the story of a quiet, neglected girl sent away from her overcrowded, dysfunctional family to live with foster parents for the summer. She blossoms in their care, but in this house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one painful truth.

‘We are truly honoured that An Cailín Ciúin has been selected as the opening film of this year's Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. The thought of launching what's sure to be an extra special in-person Virgin Media DIFF with the Irish premiere of our film is a real joy for us. The last few years have been an exciting time for Irish language film-making and we're humbled that the festival is giving a platform yet again to this new and exciting wave of Irish cinema’ Colm Bairéad, Writer-Director,An Cailín Ciúin.

Part documentary, part theatre, Anna Rodgers and Shaun Dunne’s How to Tell a Secret is an intimate exploration of HIV disclosure in Ireland. A portrait of a community at a pivotal point of change, the film examines the relationship between advocacy and art, stigma and secrecy.

Luke McManus’s North Circular travels the length of the eponymous road exploring the history, music and streetscapes of this legendary artery that links some of Dublin's most beloved and infamous places. From the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port this documentary evokes many narratives from the history of the nation to the urgent issues of today including the battle to save the legendary Cobblestone Pub. This magical journey is enriched with musical performances from local artists including John Francis Flynn, Séan Ó Túama, Eoghan O'Ceannabháin, Ian Lynch & Gemma Dunleavy.

In celebration of this landmark year and to recognise the wonderful films screened over the past two decades Humphreys has curated 20th Anniversary Festival Screenings, a short season of four films which won the annual Audience Award as voted on by festival audience members.

‘It’s always a hugely competitive element of the festival and much coveted by filmmakers both Irish and international. There is a definite bias towards documentaries but every year brings a new set of films looking for this public endorsement. We will screen two wonderful Irish films opening with the IFTA winner Broken Song and closing with the epic Waveriders. Rounding out the short season are The Raid, the only film in festival history to receive two standing ovations while screening and Anvil whose festival screening in 2009 was followed by a performance that blew the sound system in Cineworld.’ Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director.

The films are free and outdoors daily in Meeting House Square Feb 4th – 7th. Booking at