The Dublin International Film Festival is marrying strong local and international fare for its second edition with 97 features and numerous shorts being shown over ten days at three city centre cinemas.

The festival opens on February 12 with the world premiere of Alan Gilsenan's Timbuktu with Eva Birthistle and closes on February 22 with the world premiere of Lance Daly's The Halo Effect starring Stephen Rea. Both titles are funded under the Irish Film Board's funding initiative for low budget films.

Irish-made, directed and or produced titles are concentrated in the festival's Xtra-Vision Irish Premiere programme which includes international co-productions such as Blind Flight, and the Golden Globe winning Osama, along with Shimmy Marcus's Headrush, Sean Walsh's Bloom, Karl Golden's The Honeymooners, Robert Allan Ackerman's Golden Globe nominated The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, and expatriate director David Caffrey's Grand Theft Parsons.

The documentary programme includes three of the current Academy Award nominees - My Architect, The Fog of War and Capturing the Friedmans - together with Nick Broomfield's Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, and Christian Charles's Comedian, a study with Jerry Seinfeld of the working processes behind stand-up comedy routines.

To mark the six-month Irish presidency of the EU there will be a programme, 'Welcome to Europe', of films from countries joining the EU on May 1. The films include Somnabuul (Estonia); Pupendo (Czech Republic); Under the Stars (Cyprus); Spare Parts (Slovenia); Close Your Eyes (Poland); The Lease (Lithuania) and The Python (Latvia).

Other European interest is focused on new work from veteran directors such as Bertolucci's The Dreamers, Von Trotta's Rosenstrasse, and Alain Resnais' Pas sur la Bouche, alongside the output of younger talent from France, Scandanavia and Italy, which has a programme strand to itself.

The subject of the Festival's retrospective programme this year will be Spanish director Julio Medem who is expected to be in attendance for screenings of Basque Ball, Vacas (1991), The Red Squirrel (1993), Tierra (1996), Lovers Of The Arctic Circle (1998), and Sex and Lucia (2002).

An extensive line-up of American films includes many featuring strongly in the current awards season, including Monster with Charlize Theron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 21 Grams with Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro, The House of Sand and Fog with Ben Kingsley, Pieces of April with Patricia Clarkson, and The Cooler with Alec Baldwin.

The festival programme is rounded off by several films each from Asia (Battle Royale II, Zatoichi, Blind Shaft ), Canada (The Saddest Music In The World, The Barbarian Invasions), and the UK (16 Years of Alcohol, The Principles of Lust, One Last Chance).