Key People




Grainne Humphreys has worked in film programming for over twenty years, she started her career working with young audiences with the Junior Dublin Film Festival in 1994. In 1995, she joined the IFI as Education Officer and expanded her role to include programming seasons on Andy Warhol, Agnes Varda  and Harold Pinter. She was became Assistant Director in 2001 and programmed both the Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Festival and the Dublin French Film Festival from 2002- 2007. Among other project, she co-edited Ireland into Film, a series of publication on a number of key Irish films. She has served as a jury member on a number of international film festival and has coordinated a number of Irish film seaons at international events. She is a Board Member of the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and has been Festival Director of the Dublin International Film Festival since 2007. 

Siân Cunningham - General Manager

Siân Cunningham has worked in the arts for over 15 years. She was General Manager with Dance Ireland for 9 years until 2015. As General Manager her role also included responsibility for the management of the organisation's venue, DanceHouse. Most recently for Dance Ireland as Project Coordinator, she led on a 2-year EU Culture Programme funded project focusing on leadership in dance called Léim.  Prior to working for Dance Ireland she worked for the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon in areas including Artists' Services, Local Arts Development and the Auditoria Project.

Sarah Ahern - Projects Manager / Programmer: Fantastic Flicks & Short Film

Sarah Ahern is a Projects Manager for the Dublin International Film Festival and has been with the Festival fulltime for 2 years. Before that she worked in Film & TV Production and Graphic Design. Sarah's role at DIFF is integrated closely with the programming team and spreads across Shorts, Fantastic Flicks, audience development, industry engagement and key festival relationships with partners and funders. A huge part of Sarah's work with DIFF is being a part of how it engages its artform with diverse communities through its programme and events, with Dublin as its hub - DIFF celebrates experiences, cultural cinema and entertainment, the film lovers and the film-makers.

Liam Ryan - Production Manager / Programmer: Short Film & Industry

Since the first edition of the Dublin International Film Festival in 2003 it was something I immediately felt compelled to be a part of and I am very proud to say that has remained true for every edition of the Festival since. My DIFF career began as  Volunteer, working Front of House, and from there worked across different roles in the Organisation – Venue management, Admin, Volunteers Management to the exciting intersection of duties I now oversee as the Festival Production Manager. I currently get to work alongside the programme department with regard to our Short Film and Industry programmes while event managing the Festival across all our venues and spaces. My background is Film & TV Production, freelancing for several years as an Assistant Director and Production Manager on a multitude of projects as well as Producing some films of my own and traveling to various festivals with those. I think DIFF is such an exciting part of the film industry and cinema landscape in Dublin and I love talking to our audiences during the whirlwind festival for the finest congregation of film and movie lovers annually in Dublin.  


Gaby Smyth - Board of Directors (Chairman)

Gaby Smyth is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and is partner of Gaby Smyth & Company, Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditor.  The firm has been in practice for almost twenty years, specialising in the literary, music, film and theatre arts – representing and advising many of the major Irish practitioners in these areas. 
Gaby has also been involved with many arts organisations in Ireland; he has been the chairman of the boards of Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Corn Exchange Theatre Company, and TEAM Educational Theatre Company; and is just completing a five –year term as the first independent chairperson of Screen Producers Ireland. Gaby is a founding director of the Dublin International Film Festival, and has just commenced a term as chairperson. 

Paddy Breathnach - Board of Directors

Paddy Breathnach started his directing career making natural history documentaries for Eamon de Buitlear. He went on to direct a number of sports documentaries and observational documentaries for his company Treasure Films.

His first feature, Ailsa, won the Euskal Media Award for Best First/Second Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival.  Breathnach’s second feature I Went Down (BBC films) starring Brendan Gleeson, also won the New Directors at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1997. At Thessaloniki and Bogota, Paddy won the Best Director Award.  The film was released in many territories and was screen at festivals including Sundance.

In 1997/98 Breathnach produced SouthPaw, a feature that was selected for Sundance in 1999. It got a US and UK theatrical release.

Breathnach then went on to direct Blow Dry, which was released in the US, UK and Ireland in Spring 2001, for Miramax. It starred Natasha Richardson, Alan Rickman, Rachel  Griffiths, Bill Nighy and Josh Hartnett and Rachel Leigh Cook. It was also released worldwide. His next film was Man About Dog, which was produced by Robert Walpole and Simon Channing Williams (The Constant Gardner) and was released in 2003 becoming one of the most successful independently produced Irish films at the Irish box office.

Breathnach completed ‘Shrooms, a horror film set in Ireland in 2006. It was released in the UK in autumn 2007. It took $3 million dollars at the UK box office and so became one of the best performing Irish films in the UK in some years. It was released  worldwide thereafter opening in the top ten in both Spain and Russia.  He completed another horror Redmist in 2008. In 2012 he completed the feature length documentary “An Oiche a Gineadh m’Athair” for TG4.

He has made numerous TV Commercials for which have won awards. He is a board member of The Dublin International Film Festival and is vice chair of The Screen Director’s Guild of Ireland. He is also on the board of the Irish Film Institute.

Sue Bruce-Smith - Board of Directors

Sue Bruce-Smith started working in film at Palace Pictures in 1985, initially as Print and Bookings manager and then as Marketing and Distribution Manager. In 1989 she joined the British Film Institute’s production division as Head of Sales and after 4 years there moved to BBC where she was responsible for determining  BBC Worldwide’s strategy with regards investment in feature film production, working closely with BBC Films on titles such as Mrs Brown, The Snapper,  Persuasion and Brothers in Trouble.   She joined Film4 in 1997 as Film Sales Manager and became Director of International Sales and Marketing overseeing such titles as East Is East, Sexy Beast and Charlotte Gray. Four years later she left Film4 to move to Dublin with her family joining independent production company Little Bird. Whilst there, she executive produced Marc Evans’ Trauma and Brad McGann’s In My Father’s Den. In September 2004, she re-joined the new incarnation of Film4 as Head of Commercial Development, tasked with helping to steer the financing and distribution strategies for Film4 films She was an executive producer on Miranda July’s second feature film The Future and more recently Roger Michell’s Le Weekend. Her title recently changed to reflect her increasing responsibility for managing the future commercial and brand strategy for the division. Sue is currently a board member of Protagonist Pictures, The Dublin International Film Festival and a governor of the London Film School.

Jonathan Kelly - Board of Directors

Jonathan Kelly is a solicitor and head of the media and finance practices of law firm Philip Lee. His professional involvement in the film and television industries spans more than twenty years and his clients now include many producers, banks and other financiers. He also works extensively in the area of PPP and project finance. Jonathan is a member of the main board of educational charity Camara Education. He joined the board of the Dublin International Film Festival in 2007.

Clare Duignan - Board of Directors

Clare Duignan has had a distinguished career in broadcasting, culminating in her role as as Managing Director RTÉ Radio, and prior to that as a Director of Programmes, RTÉ Television. RTÉ is Irelands' Public Service Broadcaster. She previously progressed though various senior management positions, include Head of Features, Group Head, Features and Current Affairs, and Head of Independent Productions, in which role she was engaged in supporting and mentoring many start-up film and  television production companies.
She has extensive board experience as non-executive director. As well as her membership of the board of the The Dublin International Film Festival, she is also currently a board member of Business to Arts and sits as a member of the DCU Industry Advisory Panel, and the National Film School Advisory Board. She was previously a director of The Arts Council, a member of IADT Governing Body and of the National Theatre Advisory Board.

Hugh Linehan - Board of Directors

Hugh Linehan is responsible for the development of digital content at The Irish Times. Previously, he held the position of Features Editor, and prior to that was the first editor of the newspaper’s weekly entertainment supplement, The Ticket. He was previously a film and television critic, and editor of the magazine Film Ireland. Prior to that, he spent five years in film and TV production, working on feature films including The Dead, The Commitments and Into the West

David McLoughlin - Board of Directors

David McLoughlin is the Chief Executive and Head of Development of Wexford Festival Trust, a position which involves overall executive responsibility for the World renowned and critically acclaimed Wexford Opera Festival; incorporating Wexford Opera House ( Ireland’s only purpose-built opera house and one of the country’s most modern multi art-form receiving performance centre); and the Wexford Festival Foundation: (the organisation’s philanthropic fundraising arm, whose directors include Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Peter Sutherland, and the Trust’s President, Sir  Anthony O’Reilly). The Foundation has to date raised over €5.3m from individual philanthropists towards the capital redevelopment costs of the 7,000 m² dual auditoria 12-month-per-year multi performance art form Opera House and Cultural Centre. 
Wexford Opera House, which has, since its official opening in 2008, showcased productions in numerous performance art-forms including opera, drama, dance, orchestral, choral, ballet etc. in the multi art-form receiving performance centre. Prior to this David occupied various senior positions in the Irish film and television industry including CEO of Dublin Film Festival, Head of Production with Irish Screen, Director of his own production company: Distinguished Features Ltd, CEO of Screen Producers Ireland and Co-Founder and Chairman of the Dublin International Film Festival.

James Morris - Board of Directors

Chairman of Windmill Lane Pictures Ltd, James Morris is a History and Political Science graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He trained as a Film Editor in London and later returned to Dublin where he set up as a Film Editor and later founded both Windmill Lane Pictures and Windmill Lane Recording Studios in the early nineteen eighties. Windmill Lane is synonymous with the early U2 videos and albums and pioneered the introduction of digital post production for film and television in Ireland. In 1990 he sold the Windmill Lane music recording business to the Chief engineer Brian Masterson who moved the music recording studio to Ringsend as part of a merger with the Ringsend Road Studios.
He led the Windmill Consortium that was awarded the franchise to set up Ireland’s first Independent National Television service in 1989 and in 1998 he was appointed Chairman of TV3 when the station was launched.  As a shareholder and director of the company he held this position until the Channel was sold to private equity investors Doughty Hanson in 2006.
In 1990, with the backing of Paul McGuinness and U2, he founded The Mill in London, a film and television post production company. In 1998 The Mill joined forces with Ridley and Tony Scott to set up Mill Film which James co-chaired with Ridley Scott. He was appointed CEO of Shepperton Holdings in 1999 until the Studios were sold to Pinewood Studios in 2001. He remained as a shareholder and on the Board of the Mill until it was sold to private equity investors The Carlyle Group in 2007.
In 2005 he was appointed as Chairman of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board in which position he served two 4 year terms ending in January 2013. He is on the Board of the Dublin International Film Festival and in 2008 he was appointed to the Board of IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organisation.

Margery Simkin - Board of Directors

Margery Simkin is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, serving on the Foreign Language Academy Award Executive Committee, where she inaugurated the Global Glimpses program that brings the 5 nominated foreign language awards to Washington DC where they are co-presented with the National Geographic Society with a special emphasis on outreach to young people working in politics and policy. Margie is Casting Directors Feature Shop Steward for the Union (Teamsters Local 399). She is on the jury for the Off Plus Camera Film Festival in Krakow. She has presented at the Whistler Film Festival and also at the Dublin International Film Festival. She is a lecturer at numerous institutions including NYU, AFI, NY Film School, Chapman University, California Arts Center and UCLA. Margie was the Casting Director on Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Brazil, Field of Dreams, Twelve Monkeys, Erin Brockovich, Marley & Me, Avatar and Pacific Rim.

Anne-Marie Curran - Board of Directors

Appointed Managing Director of Drury Porter Novelli in June 2010, Anne-Marie has over 15 years experience in the public relations industry. Anne-Marie combines her management role with strategic client support across a range of publicly quoted companies, blue chip corporates and public sector clients.

A graduate of University College Dublin (U.C.D) with a B.A.  International in French and German, Anne-Marie has an MA in Public Relations from the Dublin Institute of Technology. In 2007, she graduated with a Diploma in Legal Studies from King’s Inns and in 2009 completed a diploma in Executive & Business Coaching. Prior to joining Drury Porter Novelli, Anne-Marie was with Fleishman-Hilliard for five years. Anne-Marie is a guest lecturer in Public Relations at DIT and the Smurfit Business School. She sits on the board of Orbis Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust and has been involved with the Oesophageal Cancer Fund’s Lollipop day for over a decade.