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Docs Ireland returns with packed programme of international documentary excellence

Date Posted: June 1, 2022

Sinéad O’Connor, Kenny G, James Joyce and Princess Diana are just some of the interesting people who will be profiled on film as Docs Ireland returns to Belfast for its fourth year.

The international documentary festival will run from Wednesday 29th June to Sunday 3rd July, with film screenings and events in which public audiences and industry professionals will encounter both rising stars and documentary filmmaking legends.

A documentary based on the life and career of Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor is set to open this year’s festival. Directed by Belfast-born filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson, Nothing Compares, which will screen on Wednesday 29th June, reflects on the legacy of the singer, and follows her rise and fall over a five-year period (1987-1992).

Listening to Kenny G by globally recognised documentarian Penny Lane will close the festival on Sunday 3rd July. In her film Lane takes a deeper look at how the acclaimed instrumentalist reimagined the Smooth Jazz genre, while also asking – What is Jazz?

Northern Ireland film studio Doubleband will be debuting its latest documentary, James Joyce’s Ulysses which unlocks the Irish literary great’s masterpiece one hundred years after its first publication.

Music and culture are two key themes of this year’s festival with documentaries including Laurent Garnier: Off the Record, a look at one of the leading visionaries of the house music genre; Tramps! by Kevin Hegge which delves into the flamboyant, fresh style of the new romantics in London in the 1980s; and Songs for Drella a 1990 concert film, only rediscovered recently, which captured the only reunion of ex-Velvet Underground members Lou Reed and John Cale – and the life, dreams and aspirations of the band and its manager, Andy Warhol.

The fourth annual Docs Ireland festival will also give emerging filmmakers the opportunity to meet and learn from seasoned industry experts through a series of online masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions and ‘in-conversation’ sessions.

The documentary focused festival has fast become a forum for new and emerging documentarians to showcase their own films, find routes to broadcast and training, and funding for new work. The Docs Ireland – Northern Ireland Screen Documentary development pitch returns for the third year, presenting six feature documentary project pitches from filmmakers across Ireland, in a competition to receive an award of up to £7,500 towards a pilot for their documentary feature.

Tickets for all screenings and events will go on sale today, Wednesday 1st June, from midday.

Director of Docs Ireland, Michele Devlin said: “The fourth Docs Ireland takes a look at the culture, art and music of the world around us showcasing some of this year’s most interesting global documentaries. As we move past the pandemic, and into an era of recovery and renewal, Docs Ireland looks to shed light on those who do incredible things in the cultural world and showcase it to a wider audience. With documentaries from some of the world’s most celebrated documentarians including Penny Lane and Kim Longinotto, as well as up-and-coming stars such as Anna Rodgers who won our Shorts Award in 2019, there truly is something for everyone in this programme.

“Every year, we are able to bring leading industry experts and influencers to Docs Ireland to interact with and support our emerging local filmmakers. There are no shortages of talented documentarians on our own island, those who are set on bringing fascinating real life stories to the big screen. Through our five days of festival, we will showcase to the global industry why Irish filmmakers are primed to bring new, innovative ideas to the world of documentary making.

“The Docs Ireland Marketplace is a real opportunity for any aspiring filmmaker to meet with leading international documentary industry decision-makers, funders, broadcasters, distributors and exhibitors on a one-to-one basis. They generously give their time to help participants develop their own documentary projects, as well as foster new relationships and opportunities between local and international networks.

“This year’s fulsome programme of screenings and events promises to be one for budding filmmakers and documentary enthusiasts alike and we look forward to welcoming audiences back to five days of film excellence across Belfast.”

Other highlights include:

  • Giving audiences an interactive experience, Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a one-of-a-kind celebration of life and the grand history of the cosmos, transporting viewers into a vast yet up-close-and personal journey that spans the eons from the Big Bang to the dinosaur age, to our present human world and beyond.
  • In partnership with Into Films, Docs Ireland will screen Where is Anne Frank?, an animated fictional piece follows the journey of Kitty, who lives in the current era, the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank dedicated her diary.
  • A special panel event, Discussion: The State of Journalism will hear from some of Northern Ireland’s leading journalists including Gavin Esler (broadcaster, novelist and journalist), Trevor Birney (filmmaker – No Stone Unturned), Alison Millar (filmmaker – LYRA) and Una Mullally (broadcaster and writer) to look at the position of journalism and documentary filmmaking in 2022.
  • Docs Ireland is delighted to team up with The Nerve Centre and Unboxed Our Place in Space to present, award-winning filmmaker Darren Aronofsky in conversation at the QFT, discussing his remarkable filmmaking career (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and The Wrestler) and his new ten part documentary series One Strange Rock, hosted by Will Smith.

Docs Ireland is sponsored this year by Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast City Council, Department For Communities, BFI FAN, TG4, Film Hub NI, BBC Northern Ireland and Yellowmoon.

Programme and ticket information can be found at

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