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DOCS IRELAND 2024

The sixth Docs Ireland unveils its selection

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- A wide-ranging overview of Irish documentaries will be combined with top-tier international content, Asif Kapadia will be honoured, and there will be a focus on films from Palestine and Finland

The sixth Docs Ireland unveils its selection
The Flats by Alessandra Celesia

The sixth edition of Docs Ireland has unveiled a rich selection of non-fiction film screenings and events in its festival programme. Running from 18-23 June in Belfast, the festival will showcase documentaries covering a diverse array of topics, including feminism, colonialism, music and health.

The gathering opens with the award-winning documentary The Flats [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(France/Ireland/UK/Belgium), directed by Alessandra Celesia and victorious at CPH:DOX (see the news). It follows four people from the New Lodge flats, a working-class Catholic community in Belfast. No Other Land [+see also:
film review
interview: Basel Adra, Yuval Abraham
film profile
]
(Palestine/Norway), created by a collective of activists (Yuval Abraham, Basel Adra, Rachel Szor and Hamdan Ballal), will be closing the festival and serves as a form of resistance to ongoing injustices, following Palestinian activist Basel Adra as he resists the forced displacement of his people in Masafer Yatta in the West Bank.

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Docs Ireland’s Pull Focus Competition celebrates excellence in Irish documentary filmmaking. This year’s line-up includes Alan Gilsenan’s IFTA-winning The Days of Trees (Ireland); Andrew Gallimore's One Night on Millstreet (Ireland), which captures Steve “The Celtic Warrior” Collins through a historic boxing match; and Don’t Forget to Remember (Ireland) by Ross Killeen, where an artist explores his grief over his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Also featured is Burkitt (UK/Ireland) by Éanna Mac Cana, exploring his personal experience with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, and the life and work of Irish surgeon Dr Denis Burkitt. Leo Regan uses years’ worth of footage and material to convey the complex life of his good friend Lanre Fehintola in My Friend Lanre (UK). Katherine Waugh and Fergus Daly’s essay film I See a Darkness (Ireland) delves into the historical relationship between photography, cinema and science. Neasa Ni Chianáin’s The Alexander Complex (Ireland) unravels the bizarre tale of a group of “gentlemanly explorers”, while Colm Quinn’s Ransom 79 (Ireland) explores a historic fraud case that collides with immediate mortality. The opening film, the aforementioned The Flats, wraps the selection.

The Maysles Brothers Competition for Observational Documentary honours the best filmmaking from around the world. Union (USA) by Stephen T Maing and Brett Story follows the Amazon Labour Union as it takes on one of the largest corporations globally. Nicolas Philibert’s On the Adamant [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Philibert
film profile
]
(France/Japan) explores the day-to-day life of a floating asylum, while Agent of Happiness [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Bhutan/Hungary) by Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó provides an intimate look into the daily lives of Himalayan communities through the perspective of two “happiness agents”. Hollywoodgate [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Germany/USA) by Ibrahim Nash’at follows the Taliban in the immediate aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Flying Hands [+see also:
interview: Paula Iglesias, Marta Gómez
film profile
]
(Spain) by Paula Iglesias and Marta Gómez homes in on the stigma of disability in a mountainous region of Pakistan, whereas Once Upon a Time in a Forest (Finland) by Virpi Suutari is a modern fairy tale set in the enchanting embrace of a Finnish forest. No Other Land is the final entry in this competition.

Docs Ireland welcomes Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning director, writer and producer Asif Kapadia (Diego Maradona [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Asif Kapadia
film profile
]
, Amy [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) for a special “in conversation” event alongside filmmaker Lisa Barros D’Sa. Kapadia will delve into his past work, creative processes and his upcoming project 2073, a genre-bending documentary set in the future. Additionally, he will be honoured with the Docs Ireland International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Documentary. Furthermore, the festival will pay tribute to pioneering broadcaster, documentary filmmaker and musician David Hammond, presenting him with an Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Documentary, and will feature screenings of some of his most iconic documentary shorts.

This year’s festival shines a spotlight on Palestine and Finland. The Focus on Palestine, in partnership with Filmlab Palestine, highlights three films – Three Promises, Between Two Crossings and Restriction – alongside seminars and discussions, all serving as fundraisers for Medical Aid Palestine. Meanwhile, the Focus on Finland brings three world-class documentaries directed by women to the forefront: Once Upon a Time in a Forest, Homecoming [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Suvi West and Anssi Kömi, and The 3 Rooms of Melancholia by Pirjo Honkasalo.

The festival takes pride in presenting some of Ireland's finest new short films. This year is no different, as it offers four Irish short programmes with films covering a wide spectrum of topics. These range from a real-time depiction of the burning of a refugee camp in Ireland, through an intimate portrayal of a man's nurturing of his pigeons, to a midwife's exploration of the Peruvian jungle, and beyond.

Docs Ireland is supported by Northern Ireland Screen through the Department for Communities, Belfast City Council, Screen Ireland and the BFI/Film Hub NI. The festival is sponsored by TG4, BBCNI and Yellowmoon.

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