Chair of Docs Ireland, Mark Cousins and Director of Docs Ireland, Michele Devlin launch the new Docs Ireland programme. Press Eye/Darren Kidd
Chair of Docs Ireland, Mark Cousins and Director of Docs Ireland, Michele Devlin launch the new Docs Ireland programme. Press Eye/Darren Kidd

#DocsIreland: New Irish film festival will bring top decision-makers in documentary film to Ireland

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

The festival, Docs Ireland will take place in Belfast between the 12-16 June 2019.

It is the first ever all-Ireland, industry focused, documentary festival, showcasing the hottest Irish and international films from award-winning documentarians.

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

The festival will attract some of the biggest names in the industry including Dogwoof, BBC Storyville, The Kennedy Marshall Company, TG4, Channel 4, CAT&Docs, USA PBS, RTÉ, Northern Ireland Screen and 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, as well as a number of other special events with Alex Gibney, Margo Harkin, Thom Powers and Don Letts, amongst others.

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.

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

The festival includes screenings, talks and special events. Awards will also be presented for:

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

This is a fantastic time for the film industry in Ireland, there’s a real sense of excitement and opportunity.  We are a nation of storytellers, and it seems year on year our indigenous talent becomes more and more confident and assured in their work.

Documentaries are more popular than ever and 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. By showing people here the very best work from around the world we can light a spark and inspire the next generation of documentarians.

We are looking forward to hosting 30 national and international guests, all of whom are key decision makers in the documentary world.
Michele Devlin, Director – DOCS IRELAND

Other highlights from the festival’s programme include:

    • 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 will 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 – 
      Irish Premiere of documentary feature 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 with 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.