Docs Ireland Organisers Give Their Recommendations For the New Film Fest

New Belfast-set film event Docs Ireland launched its programme this afternoon (May 30) at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin City Centre.

Taking place June 12 – 16, it’s the first ever all-Ireland industry focused documentary festival, showcasing the hottest Irish and international films from award-winning filmmakers. Movies to screen this year include Werner Herzog’s Meeting Gorbachev, Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona, Alex Gibney’s The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley and Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames.

Speaking about the origin of Docs Ireland, director Michele Devlin told attendees at the Project Arts Centre: “We decided that we would move all the documentary content from the Belfast Film Festival into a new festival, one we thought would really work as an all-Ireland event. So that if somebody in Japan or Spain or Canada looks to Ireland and to documentary events, they would think ‘Docs Ireland – that’s where we want our film to be screen.'”

Discussing the festival line-up, programmer Stuart Sloan added: “The programme features documentaries from five continents in twenty languages with 42 per cent of films coming from female directors. We’re also delighted to support the ever growing non-fiction sector in Ireland with the Pull Focus strand which is solely Irish content.”

“This year, we have a cash prize of £2,500 for the winner of Best Irish Documentary. Highlights include Gaza which recently played at Sundance, Feargal Ward’s Memory Room, Adrian Duncan’s Floating Structures and Seamus Murphy’s A Dog Called Money.”

Speaking about the reason for the rise of Northern Irish documentaries, Sloan told Travel Ireland: “It’s because of the Troubles why the non-fiction sector in NI is more established and mature than the fiction. While filmmakers might not be making as much films about the conflict any more, that’s where they cut there teeth and developed their abilities to portray complex, non black and white issues.”

Sloan also gave us his personal recommendations of what to check out at the festival: “One of my favourite documentary makers is Penny Lane, the only person with two films at the festival. First is Hail Satan. It’s about the movement in the US of using Satanism to target people who want to join church and state. That’s something very relevant to Northern Ireland, where we still have a lot of Draconian laws related to religion. The movie is funny, light-hearted but also has very serious issues at its heart.”

“The other film she made is The Pain of Others. It’s about a disease called Morgellons which is considered a delusional disorder. Yet there’s a whole community of people, nearly all women, using Youtube to describe how their suffering from it. The documentary tells their story. But then like all good docs tells a wider story about women’s place in society and technology.”

Meanwhile, box office manager for the festival Simeon Costello is excited to see Chinese documentary Present Perfect: “It’s about online streamers in China – people who live stream everything from them just sitting down at their jobs, playing video games, chatting and eating food. It looks really interesting.”

The new festival will also host live events with documentarians Alex Gibney and Mark Cousins, as well as a marketplace titled DocMarket. The latter 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.

Docs Ireland 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.

To see the festival’s full programme, follow this link.

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