Guth Gafa, the longest-running, audience and industry-focused international documentary festival on the island of Ireland, has announced that the dates for their 13th annual festival will be 20th to 22nd September.

The main film strands for the 13th Guth Gafa Festival will be climate and youth empowerment, a range of hard-hitting films complemented by the addition of a diverse selection of lighter Irish and international documentaries – Guth Gafa believe in having fun while changing society!

Guth Gafa is riding the crest of a wave of creativity in County Meath that has seen an informal coalition of arts organizations, government departments and private stakeholders moving to establish Kells as a centre of excellence for arts and culture. This wide-ranging partnership comprises the Arts and Heritage departments and officers of Meath County Council, the Guth Gafa and Hinterland Festivals, the Type Trail, Soilsiú Films, Kells Local Heroes, and other committed private individuals.

This creative arts coalition aims to advance the development of an Arts Hub in Kells Town. Designed as a multidisciplinary resource, this creative hub has the possibility to provide employment, arts practice spaces, performance and exhibition spaces, and gathering venues for artists and arts’ audiences to share their art and craft.

In support of this dynamic partnership, Guth Gafa has decided to move its 13th annual Documentary Film Festival into the heart of Kells and to host its screenings in newly refurbished pop-up venues in and around the town.

This decision to move the 2019 Festival into Kells town reinforces Guth Gafa’s commitment to being community-based – Guth Gafa is an organisation raising awareness about critical issues of our time through documentary film but also a partner in an active and vibrant rural community.

In the first film strand, Guth Gafa will show films that examine three different aspects of climate: climate change, climate justice and climate action – with film discussions and debates to go with the screenings. The second strand features films that reflect the power of youth – the brave youth across the world who have taken action through protest. March For Our Lives, has shamed adults in the US over gun control and School Climate Strikes here in Ireland and abroad have reproached grownups across the world for failing to protect the kids’ inheritance – the planet Earth.

In the vanguard of these two strands will be a number of films that celebrate empowerment and direct action – a call to arms. Now is the hour, we must do battle with the forces that will, if unchecked, render our kind – extinct. There will also be room in their programme for films that allow younger audiences to understand in a gentle way the problems we face, that across the world there are kids just like them, caring about the planet and their community. Films such as The Breadwinner (Guth Gafa 2018) set in Afghanistan, and the captivating feature the Eagle Huntress (Guth Gafa 2017) set in Mongolia touched the hearts of young viewers and surely ignited the flame of activism in many young bellies.

Riding on last year’s success, Guth Gafa will again entice County Meath teenagers to leave the couch for another selection of film screenings in their Teenage Dreams strand, and there will also be a strand of animated films for the littlies.

Rounding out the shape of the festival as Creatives in Conversation, Guth Gafa, in parallel with the film screenings, will run an intimate festival cafe where audiences can meet before and after the screenings for a glass of wine, cup of coffee or bowl of soup, and participate in in-depth discussions and debates.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to the human crisis we have precipitated and the damage to the planet we have caused through over-consumption and abuse of natural resources. Climate change is real and devastating changes to our world are imminent – we must act now. At the same time, we can take great hope from the courageous work of young people to address this, and other global issues, through School Climate Strikes and March for Our Lives (protesting US gun laws). Having grown up in South Africa to witness the student uprising of 1976, I have absolute faith that the youth hold the key to solving these massive problems: they deserve better and we must support them.
David Rane, Festival Director

The 13th Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival runs in Kells Town from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd September. The full programme will be online from August. For further information, visit their Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Website.

Guth Gafa is supported by Meath County Council, The Arts Council of Ireland, Screen Ireland, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Creative Ireland, LEADER, Failte Ireland and many others.

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