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IGNITE documentary talent development programme call for applications

Date Posted: June 11, 2021

The IGNITE Documentary Talent Development Programme returns after the great success of year one of the scheme. IGNITE is a bilingual talent development programme directed towards emerging documentary filmmakers on the island of Ireland embarking on their first or second non-fiction feature film.

IGNITE is a joint initiative of Cork International Film Festival & Docs Ireland, supported by TG4, the Arts Council of Ireland, Screen Skills Ireland, Screen Skillnet, Northern Ireland Screen and Arts & Business NI.

During the first programme six feature documentary projects from emerging filmmakers were developed through training, workshops and one-to-one mentoring.

The pilot programme also targeted career development for the participating filmmakers, who included Gillian Callan, director of Beatle Island; Laura Smith and Lorraine Harton, director & producer of The Honeypot; Michael Barwise and Sean Mullan, co-directors of Hy-Brasil; John Conway and Mairéad Ní Thréinir, director & producer of Learning to Fall; Cara Holmes and Evan Horan, director & producer of Searching for Space; and Ross McClean, director of Untitled Hydebank Project.

Docs Ireland will host an information session for the programme on Wednesday 16th June at 11.30am, as part of their online industry festival. To register your interest for this free event, please contact [email protected].

Commenting on the announcement of year two of the talent development initiative, Cork International Film Festival Director and CEO, Fiona Clark, stated “The enormous interest in IGNITE in 2020 demonstrated to us that this type of structured training, talent development and networking opportunity is very much desired in Ireland. Our long-term ambition is to aid the sustainable growth of the Irish documentary film community, drawing on the expertise of both our festivals and providing a homegrown training ground for emerging filmmakers. We look forward to welcoming and working with a new cohort of IGNITE participants in year two.”

Docs Ireland Festival Director Michelle Devlin said of the partnership with Cork International Film Festival, “Our festivals are uniquely placed to deliver a meaningful professional development programme on a number of levels; in terms of geographical location on the island; the corresponding dates of the events; and the knowledge base and expertise within both festival teams of the international documentary landscape. Additionally, both festivals have strong, high calibre industry connections, and agree on the vital need to strengthen creative and filmic connections between the north and south of Ireland in the wake of Brexit.”

Proinsias Ní Ghráinne, Commissioning Editor at TG4, Principal Sponsor said that the inaugural year of IGNITE: “has quickly become a byword for ‘quality training’ in the Irish doc-making scene. This scheme is vital in the advancement of Irish language and bilingual storytelling and for documentary makers to reach international audiences and achieve outcomes outside of TV broadcast in Ireland.”

IGNITE is a project-led scheme, which supports the progression of the selected projects and their teams through training focussed on the development process of documentary, all the way from inception to exhibition. The scheme fosters a new generation of non-fiction creative documentary talent from all over Ireland to pursue their first or second feature, and to provide them with a platform to develop the spectrum of skills and knowledge required to succeed as a feature documentary filmmaker on an international level.

During this comprehensive training initiative, participants will gain a grounding in all facets of project development, they will acquire market knowledge of the documentary industry, learning about the current trends in non-fiction film production, and an expansive understanding of the sector. The programme will include workshops, masterclasses, and in person conversations with established documentarians, broadcasters, funders, sales agents, and other industry professionals. All training will take place in a relaxed learning environment to allow for maximum learning potential and the opportunity to network and foster new relationships.

The IGNITE programme will provide a long-term engagement, comprising:

  • Training days of workshops at Cork International Film Festival in November 2021, and Docs Ireland in June 2022.
  • An out-of-festival training event in early Spring 2021
  • The opportunity to attend a leading International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications is Friday 3rd September. Successful projects will be announced in early October.

For further information, and to apply, please visit or

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