Ignite Documentary Talent Development Scheme

Inaugural 2020 Ignite documentary development programme participants announced

Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland have announced their inaugural 2020 Ignite documentary development programme participants. This exciting venture is a cross-border partnership which seeks to foster a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from the north and south of Ireland. The programme is a pilot bilingual talent development initiative directed towards emerging Irish and Northern Irish documentary filmmakers embarking on their first or second non-fiction feature film. 

The Ignite team were amazed and overwhelmed by the number of project applications we received for the inaugural Ignite scheme, with 57 projects submitted for only six available places, affirming the desire for this type of training and networking opportunity. The selection committee took time and care in selecting the projects to take part in the scheme, and we are delighted to welcome our first cohort of Ignite participants for the initiative.

Roisín Geraghty, Ignite Co-ordinator

Projects include Beatle Island from Director Gillian Callan and Producer Ciara Bresnihan, which centres on a group attempting to create a new form of society on John Lennon’s island in Clew Bay, The Honeypot, from Director Laura Smith and Producer Lorraine Harton, a story of intrigue and deception left behind by international con-woman Julia Holmes, and Hydebank, from Director and Producer Ross McClean, following a shepherd inside and outside of prison walls. The other projects are Hy-Brasil, from Co-Directors Michael Barwise and Sean Mullan, which takes us on an intriguing voyage in search of a phantom island allegedly located 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland, Pascal, from Director John Conway and Producer Mairéad Ní Thréinir, telling the story of an old man living alone in a battered caravan on the Connemara coast, living out his days back where he was born, content in the knowledge that he didn’t waste a moment; and Searching for Space, from Director Cara Holmes and Producer Evan Horan, an intimate portrayal of a community of activists, creative artists and misfits told through ‘lesbian lines’, one of the oldest LGBT+ helplines in the world.

The selection committee for Ignite was Fiona Clark, Festival Director and CEO and Roisín Geraghty, Industry Manager from Cork International Film Festival, Michele Devlin, Festival Director, and Stuart Sloan, Programmer from Docs Ireland, Trevor Birney CEO of Fine Point Films, and Proinsias Ni Ghrainne, Commissioning Editor with TG4.

Speakers and trainers for the first training event on November 4th and 5th include filmmaker Kim Longinotto, filmmaker, fundraiser, engagement specialist Tracie Holder, Pitch Trainer David Pope and filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan.

Created in collaboration between Cork International Film Festival (Ireland’s first and largest film festival and destination for cinematic documentary) and Docs Ireland (the new all-Ireland documentary focused festival from Belfast Film Festival), this cross-border partnership will seek to foster a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from the north and south of Ireland.

Feature documentary in Ireland has developed exponentially over the past decade, with countless award-winning non-fiction films gaining traction and being showcased both nationally, and on an international level; through festivals, cinema releases, television broadcast and VOD. The aim of Ignite is to aid in the long term sustainable growth and artistry of talent in the Irish documentary film community, through training and skills development, mentorship and drawing from the resources and expertise of both festivals.

The scheme is project-led, and will support the progression of the selected projects and their teams, through training that will focus on the development process of documentary, from inception to exhibition. The scheme will foster a new generation of non-fiction creative documentary talent from all over the island of Ireland to pursue their first or second feature, and to provide them with a platform to develop the spectrum of skills and knowledge required to succeed as a feature documentary filmmaker on an international level.

During this comprehensive training initiative, participants will gain a grounding in all facets of developing their project, and will acquire market knowledge of the documentary industry, learning about the current trends in non-fiction film production, and giving them an expansive understanding of the sector. The programme will include workshops, masterclasses, and in person conversations with established documentarians, broadcasters, funders, sales agents, and other industry professionals. All training will take place in an intimate environment, which will allow a hands-on approach; facilitating maximum learning potential and the opportunity to network and foster new relationships.