I went to a bloggers' briefing tonight at Tripod before the official launch and Grainne Humphreys gave us a rundown of the best of the programme and what she's looking forward to. So here are her tips:
Richard Ayoade (Moss from the IT Crowd) directs the opening film Submarine, a wacky and offbeat comedy, apparently, starring Paddy Considine.
From a first-time director to a veteran: Francois Ozon directs the closing night gala, Potiche. It's what sounds like a thoroughly Ozon-esque comedy starring Catherine Deneuve as a dissatisfied bourgeois housewife who gets a new lease on life when her grumpy husband suffers a heart attack.
In between, there is a French season, as well as a series of film from Romania and Latin America.
An Italian comedy called Le Quattro Volte, which is meant to be very funny.
In terms of Irish films, there's David Keating's Wakewood, the first Hammer Studios film in a very long time. It's "The Wicker Man set in Cavan" according to Ms Humphreys. That I have to see! Paddy Jolley's stylish The Door Ajar will also be worth a look, as will Paul Fraser's My Brothers.
Documentaries: there's Werner Herzog's batshit-crazy sounding (well what did you expect?!) Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Shimmy Marcus' documentary Good Cake, Bad Cake, The Story of Lir, about a Dublin band billed as the next U2 who never really made it. The band members from Lir and Marcus himself will be in attendance, and the band will play a gig afterwards. They will then go on tour with the film!
There are also a number of Hollywood flicks, including Emilio Estevez's thoughtful family drama The Way, starring his dad Martin Sheen (father and son will both be at the screening). Jaume Collet-Serra is following up Orphan with the doppelganger action thriller Unknown, starring Liam Neeson. Matt Damon is on the run (again), this time with Emily Blunt in the cool-sounding adaptation of Philip K. Dick's The Adjustment Bureau.
A number of classic movies will be screened, including The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, West Side Story and African Queen. The Usual Suspects will be screened ("in a non-film location") with Kevin Spacey in attendance.
The film I'm probably most looking forward to, cos I'm a geek, is The Tingler. William Castle's 1958 gimmick-classic about unlucky folk with monsters growing on their spine. If they get scared and don't scream, their spines get snapped. And Castle promoted the film by putting electric shock devices into random cinema seats. Cue the screaming...
In other activities, games guru Charles Cecil will be taking part in a panel and turning a movie into a game. There's a festival directors panel. And there will be a screenwriting panel, with Brian O'Malley, Brendan McCarthy, Thomas Hefferon and Carmel Winters, which I for one am stoked about.
And very lastly, I will of course be going to the Surprise Film (assuming I can get a ticket!)
There was then a launch party with free drinks, and Maura Tierney popping up to say a few words. I was ridiculously excited to see Abby from ER in the flesh!
Bring on the festival - times are hard and I need to spend some time at the movies...