New Irish Film Festival Will Bring Top Documentaries and Documentarians

A new all-Ireland documentary festival will see a host of top decision makers, investors and financiers from the international film industry travel to Ireland.

Titled ‘Docs Ireland’, the event will take place in Belfast between June 12 – 16,  2019. It is the first ever all-Ireland, industry focused, documentary festival, showcasing the hottest Irish and international films from award-winning documentarians.

“Documentaries are more popular than ever. There is a huge appetite for them worldwide. The rise of streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix, and the growth of theatrical releases for documentaries, show that there is a hunger for real-life, compelling and beautifully told stories,” says Michele Devlin, Director of DOCS IRELAND, in a statement. “By showing people here the very best work from around the world we can light a spark and inspire the next generation of documentarians.”

The new festival will also host a marketplace, DocMarket. This will involve a series of industry events, masterclasses and pitching sessions for new and emerging filmmakers. It will give them the chance to meet with the biggest decision-makers in the industry and learn about the business side of filmmaking.

The festival will attract some of the biggest names in the industry. These include Dogwoof, BBC Storyville, The Kennedy Marshall Company, TG4, Channel 4, CAT&Docs, USA PBS, RTÉ, Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Ireland and a host of other investors who will be in Belfast to engage with filmmakers and develop new opportunities.

Docs Ireland will showcase the best new documentary films, presenting Irish and international feature length and short documentaries. It will also be running a number of other special events with Alex Gibney, Margo Harkin, Thom Powers and Don Letts, amongst others.

For example, acclaimed American documentarian and Oscar-winning director of Loughinisland documentary, No Stone Unturned, Alex Gibney, will take part in an event on the opening night of the new festival.

During the festival, awards will also be presented for:

  • Best Irish Feature Documentary (The Pull Focus Award)
  • Best Irish Short Documentary
  • Best Observational Documentary (Maysles Brothers Award)

Below is a glimpse of some of the festival programme.

Diego Maradona: Thursday 13th June 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast

Directed by one of the world’s hottest documentary filmmakers today, Asif Kapadia, this documentary focuses on the much-loved but controversial footballer. It includes never seen before footage from Maradona’s personal archive.

The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash –  Thursday 13th June 8.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast

Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the film explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash’s life.

Framing John DeLorean – Friday 14 June, 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast

A deep portrait of the controversial businessman with Alec Baldwin playing John DeLorean in re-enactments of key scenes in his life.

Firing Line with William F Buckley: Bernadette Devlin – Friday 14 June, 4.30pm, Queen’s Film Theatre

An hour-long conversation between the respected American journalist and the Irish civil rights activist filmed in 1972.  Bernadette McAliskey will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Mark Cousins interviewed by Thom Powers PODCAST- Thursday 13th June 6.30pm, Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast.

Thom Powers is the documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival and artistic director of DOC NYC, the largest documentary festival in the USA. He is the creator and host of the podcast Pure Nonfiction where he’s interviewed over 100 documentary filmmakers. For this special Docs Ireland podcast Thom Powers will interview Mark Cousins, award winning filmmaker, writer and curator.

Don Letts In Conversation – Sunday 16th June, 6.15pm Queens Film Theatre

Docs Ireland are delighted to welcome Don Letts, award-winning director, to receive the Shell Shock award for outstanding contribution to music documentary and talk about his career in documentary film.

Seahorse  – Wednesday 12th June 6.00pm, Queen’s Film Theatre  

Directed by Jeanie Finlay, Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges as a gay transgender man. Made with unprecedented access and collaboration over three years, it is an intimate, audacious and lyrical story about conception, pregnancy, birth and what makes us who we are.

Man of Aran Live Soundtrack – Saturday 15th June, 9pm St. Joseph’s Church, Sailortown

Docs Ireland in association with Gradam Ceoil, TG4 has commissioned a new live soundtrack performance by Úna Monaghan, Ceri Owen and Síle Denvir to this classic Irish documentary. The event will take place in the wonderful St. Josephs church in Sailortown.

Closing Night Gala: Gaza – Sunday 16 June, 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast

This elegantly shot, and masterfully crafted portrait of Palestinian life offers a rare chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza.

The full programme for the festival will be presented at an event in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. This will take place 1 – 2pm on Thursday, May 30.

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