New Film Festival ‘Doc Fest Ireland’ to Launch in Belfast

Brand new annual festival – Doc Fest Ireland – will take place in Belfast from June 12 -16 this year.

Launched by Belfast Film Festival – taking place April 11 – 20, 2019 – Doc Fest Ireland will be different in that it will showcase only documentary films. Organisers say it will present both new Irish and international features and shorts, promoting a dynamic programme of events that are both entertaining and provocative.

Chair of Doc Fest Ireland, internationally renowned documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins (The Eyes of Orson Welles), said“Belfast is one of the most interesting cities in the world. It’s a city in transition and undergoing rapid social change. It is a fascinating place to take the temperature of the UK and Ireland. Add in the fact that the team behind Doc Fest Ireland is passionate and experienced, and that Ireland has a great tradition of documentary film, and it’s hard to think of a better place to launch a dynamic new documentary festival.”

The last five years have seen a surge in feature-length documentaries from Ireland, with many securing theatrical releases. Hard-hitting post-conflict legacy films such as Sinead O’Shea’s A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot, and Belfast-based Sean Murray’s Unquiet Graves are making waves in the industry. Meanwhile, Belfast based Fine Point Films filmography includes Emmy-nominated Elián, Alex Gibney’s No Stone Unturned and Bobby Sands: 66 Days, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Organisers say the success of Belfast Film Festival’s sold-out pilot Irish Documentary Festival in 2018 highlights the strong interest in documentaries. They say there is a need for festivals in Ireland that focus on this type of film exclusively.

Doc Fest Ireland will also host a series of industry events and master classes and pitching and information sessions for new and emerging filmmakers including the BFI/Doc Society New and Emerging Talent Day.

The festival is now seeking submissions for Doc Market, an opportunity for filmmakers to meet with industry professionals including international funders, broadcasters, distributors and exhibitors from across the UK, ROI, US and EU. Companies such as Irish Channel TG4 and flagship BBC documentary strand Storyville will be in attendance.

Doc Market will be a hub for funding, sales and distribution of Irish and international documentaries and a place where local talent can continue to thrive. Find out more about Doc Market here.

Meanwhile, Doc Fest Ireland will present awards for:

  • Best Irish Feature Documentary (The Pull Focus Award)
  • Best Irish Short Documentary
  • Best Observational Documentary (Maysles Brothers Award)
  • Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Film Award.

More information and application guidelines for the festival can be found here.


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