The Oscar-winning director of Loughinisland documentary, No Stone Unturned, Alex Gibney, will take part in an event on the opening night of the new all-Ireland documentary film festival, DOCS IRELAND.

Gibney will participate in an ‘In Conversation’ event with Brian Henry Martin and will also be presented with the “Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Film Award”.

The event marks the opening night of the first ever all-Ireland, industry focused, documentary festival, showcasing the hottest new films from award-winning documentarians.

The new festival will also host a series of industry events, master-classes and pitching sessions for new and emerging filmmakers and give them the chance to meet with the most influential people in the sector to pitch ideas and learn about the business side of filmmaking, from expert filmmakers.

The festival has attracted the biggest names in the industry including Dogwoof, BBC Storyville, 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 from 12-16 June in Belfast.

The full programme for the festival will be unveiled at noon on Wednesday 12 May at Belfast City Hall.

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

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

It’s a coup to have Alex come and join us for the opening night of DOCS IRELAND and we’re honoured to be able to present him with the Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Film Award.

The importance of documentary films today cannot be understated. It’s more important than ever that we celebrate those brave and creative voices who seek out the truth no matter what it is or where it takes them.

The launch of this festival is another sign of just how exciting and energetic the film industry is here. We’ve just celebrated our best-ever Belfast Film Festival with special guest, the megastar Aamir Khan. Now the fact that Alex is joining us shows that Belfast is not just punching above its weight when it comes to the film industry, it is knocking out the competition.
Brian Henry Martin, Co-Chair – DOCS IRELAND

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.

The fact that Belfast is hosting the first ever all-Ireland industry focused documentary festival is an illustration of how vital we are to the sector.  We are looking forward to hosting over 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.
  • Game of Thrones: The Last Watch – Thursday 13 June, 6.30pm, The Strand Cinema – This documentary delves deep into the mud and blood to reveal the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in the very real studios, fields and carparks of Northern Ireland.
  • 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.
  • Shellshock Rock – Sunday 16 June, 3pm, Ulster Museum – A seminal documentary on the Northern Irish 1970’s punk rock scene.
  • 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.

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