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About Us

Docs Ireland is Ireland’s international documentary film festival. It celebrates the best of new international documentary filmmaking, and showcases the work of Ireland’s indigenous non-fiction culture and creatives. Docs Ireland is highly regarded across the world for its cutting edge film programming and its distinctive industry initiatives.  

Established in 2019 as the sister festival of  the long-standing Belfast Film Festival, which happens annually in November, Docs Ireland takes place in June each year in the city of Belfast. Our 2018 pilot programme, the wildly successful ‘Pull Focus’, premiered titles like Camino Voyage, The Image you Missed, Wonderful Losers and a collection of new Irish documentaries which was the vanguard of this exciting burst of documentary creativity across the island. This celebration of home grown talent has become a key part of Docs Ireland – winners of the Pull Focus Competition for best Irish Documentary thus far have been Castro’s Spies, An Buachaill Geal Gáireach / The Laughing Boy and Notes From Sheepland. The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Observational Documentary, which was established in 2008 as part of Belfast film festival is now a jewel in the Docs Ireland crown. We also like to highlight Irish film culture and heritage, and we always have a strong archive selection each year. 

Other competitions include the Irish Short Docs and over the past 5 years we have been honoured to receive some of the best documentary films and filmmakers in the world, such as Penny Lane, Alex Gibney, and the top documentary makers in ireland, such as Trevor Birney, Kathryn Ferguson, Mark Cousins and Margo Harkin.     

The festival is a focal point for cross-border collaboration, international co-productions, sales and distribution. Through our pitching forum, the Docs Ireland Marketplace, we invite international documentary decision-makers to meet one-to-one with filmmakers. Alongside the marketplace, the festival hosts a fulsome industry programme including pitching sessions, masterclasses, a new talent focus & sessions focused on the important issues affecting the documentary industry at home and abroad. 

Alongside our industry programme is our flagship talent development programme IGNITE-Docs, a cross-border partnership with Cork International Film Festival which fosters a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from the north and south of Ireland and throughout the festival there is a strong focus on supporting emerging and new talent through ensuring accessibility to our shorts competition, training and networking. We also offer volunteering opportunities for those wishing to gain practical experience of supporting festivals and working in the documentary sector.

Docs Ireland is supported by Northern Ireland Screen through the Department for Communities, Belfast City Council, Screen Ireland and BFI/Film Hub NI, and is proudly sponsored by TG4, BBCNI and Yellowmoon. Our full list of Funders and Sponsors can be found here.

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