The Irish documentary feature How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story has won the Audience Award at the 2016 Irish Film Institute Documentary Festival, which took place over the weekend.

Directed by Des Henderson and produced by Ed Stobart, the film looks back at the work of the Project Children organisation, established in 1975 by NYPD bomb squad member Denis Mulcahy, which allowed over 20,000 children from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds to escape the Troubles and live together in the United States over the course of a summer. The children’s summer project ran for 40 years, before finishing last year. The organisation’s internship programme, established in 1995, continues to bring students to the US to live and work.

Sunniva O’Flynn, Head of Irish Film Programming at the Irish Film Institute, commented:

In a programme filled with powerful, award-worthy documentaries How to Defuse A Bomb: The Project Children Story was the deserving winner. The film’s appeal is in its telling of a story of a vast humanitarian project which impacted many thousands of lives but had until now been untold. We are delighted that our audience gave it their whole-hearted stamp of approval.

The documentary, narrated by Liam Neeson, is due to broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland in December.

Toasted, directed by Gregory Dunn, won the Audience Award for Best Short at the Festival on Saturday.

The IFI Documentary Festival ran from September 22nd to September 25th, and showcased the best in both Irish and international documentary. The programme included nine Irish premieres, one world premiere, and a screening of Peter Lennon’s seminal work, The Rocky Road to Dublin, featuring a special Q+A with Blindboy from the Rubberbandits.

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