The documentary awards this year included the Pull Focus Award for Best New Irish feature, the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Observational piece, Best Irish Short, and the Northern Ireland Screen Feature Pitch. Two additional awards included a new award, the Marilyn Hyndman Award for Official Shorts Selection and the LUMI Award for Irish Competition Shorts.


JURY: Mads K.Mikkelsen, Mirjam Wiekenkamp, Heather Haynes

WINNER: Notes From Sheepland, Director: Cara Holmes, Producer: Aideen O’Sullivan

SPECIAL MENTION: I Must Away, Director/Producer: Dennis Harvey

Jury Statement

Special Mention: I Must Away

First of all, the jury would like to give a Special Mention to I Must Away by Dennis Harvey, a filmmaker, whose honesty, openness, kindness, and believe in other people brought us to tears.

Award: Notes From Sheepland

This film is clearly the work of a true artist. With an amazing eye for cinematic quality and deep respect for the land and life of her protagonists, a story is woven together of a woman of lives authentically, uncompromisingly and unapologetically.

But it is also a film about a true artist, an inspiring person who manages to, just like the director, combine feminism, the environment, self discovery and creativity in their work.


JURY: Michael Hanna, Chris Kelly, Raphaëlle O’Loan

WINNER: A Golden Life, Director: Boubacar Sangaré, Producer: Fernand Ernest Kaboré

Jury Statement

Award: A Golden Life

The Jury were unanimous in awarding A Golden Life the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Observational film.

The unhurried pace and beautifully restrained cinematography crafted a wonderful visual poetry that was perfectly complimented by the authenticity of the film participants. The film has one of the most memorable final scenes of recent years, breaking the fourth wall in a way that makes us think about the filmmaker / participant dynamic in a new light while still embodying the spirit of the Maysles tradition.

Click see to view the special thank you message from Director, Boubacar Sangaré.


JURY: Sam Howard, Sheena Walsh, Wendy Erskine

WINNER: The Cities I Live In, Director: Rabie Mustapha, Producer: Michael Hewitt

SPECIAL MENTION: Echo, Director/Producer: Ross McClean, AND The Death of Terence Wheelock, Director: Adam Doyle

Jury Statement

For Sheena, Sam and me, it was a pleasure to judge the short documentary category. The films were outstanding.  So varied in subject matter and approach and yet in each, economy facilitated an expansiveness and complexity.

Special Mention: Echo & The Death of Terence Wheelock

Special mentions go to Echo, a clever and meaningful snapshot into another world, sumptuously captured and beautifully crafted.  And also The Death of Terence Wheelock which in only 19 minutes, provides such a powerful. contextualised account of the circumstances of Terence’s death and his family’s ensuing campaign; it’s a shocking, insistent and tender piece.

Award: The Cities I Live In

But our worthy winner is The Cities I Live In for its evocation of violent places, Belfast and Beirut, its exploration of memory, and its presentation of loss, solace and hope.  It is a beautifully paced film, filled with longing and love.


JURY: Andrew Reid, Greg Darby, Lucy Baxter

WINNER: The Unrest Collective, Director: Lia Campbell, Producer: Anna Callan

Jury Statement

Award: The Unrest Collective

The panel was truly impressed by the quality and range of each of the projects pitched, which made it a very tough decision to select an outright winner.

That said we were unanimous in our belief that the project that would most benefit from the award at this stage in its development is Lia Campbell & Anna Callan’s THE UNREST COLLECTIVE.

It’s a project, and they are a team, who need the time and space to get right into the midst of this amazing opportunity to document the conflicts, contests and collaborations at the core of an international artistic community. We look forward to being able to go with them on this journey.


WINNER: When It Rains, Director: Daniel Ritchie

‘For Marilyn, the process of engagement and community inclusion in every aspect of the filmmaking journey lay at the heart of an authentic film. From the inception of an idea to the final cut, the process had to be a collaborative endeavour to ensured that their stories were authentic, resonant, and reflective of the rich tapestry of human experiences. For this reason, the award goes to When It Rains.’

Dean Hagan (NVTV)

LUMI Award for Irish Shorts Competition

(LUMI Programmers are a group of young people within Queen’s Film Theatre who work to attract new, young audiences to the QFT.)

WINNER: “Where did all the old gays go?”, Director: Cathy Dunne, Producer: Maggie Ryan

SPECIAL MENTION: Echo, Director/Producer: Ross McClean

Jury Statement

Award:”Where did all the old gays go?” 

The winner of this year’s LUMI award goes to the incredible film “Where did all the old gays go?” We believe this film has made a huge impact on young audiences by offering fresh perspectives from older members of the LGBTQAI+ community while raising engaging questions about activism, heteronormative healthcare, and youth-focused queer culture. We felt inspired by the positivity of the film and admired the fact that it was created during the pandemic, showing incredible innovation in overcoming practical challenges.

Special Mention: Echo

We also want to give an honourable mention to “Echo” for its outstanding contribution. It was a very close decision for the judges between these two films. Both tackled similar themes of community and showcased the experiences of older individuals in a way that felt relevant to young audiences. The intimate way “Echo” was filmed had us all on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Congratulations to the filmmakers for creating this incredibly captivating short documentary.