Ignite Negative

Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland are delighted to announce eight new projects for Year Four of its cross-border Documentary Talent Development Programme, IGNITE-Docs.

IGNITE-Docs is a talent development programme directed towards emerging Irish and Northern Irish documentary filmmakers embarking on their first or second non-fiction feature film. It is a cross-border partnership that aims to foster a new generation of cinematic documentary filmmakers, an innovative collaboration between the island’s first and newest film festivals, Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland.

The participants and projects for year four are:


Director: José Miguel Jimenez Gonzalez

“Amanda” intimately explores Irish painter Amanda Cullen’s life, from teenage institutionalisation to her transformative journey through art-making. The film is a visually immersive, non-linear diary, which crafts a portrait of the artist’s resilience.


Director: Paul Webster

As time runs out for the Black Rhino in South Africa, an elite dog trainer in Cork trains a specialist anti-poaching dog for delivery to another Irishman, a conservationist working on the frontline.

Jamie Griffin: Merlin Twist

Director: Nathan Griffin

An isolated yet ingenious teen skater in rural Ireland uses social media to propel himself from tricks in his cramped country shed to winning one of skateboarding’s biggest tournaments.

Our Lady Rebecca

Director: Nicky Larkin

From celebrity stylist at the Eurovision to heroin-addicted sex-worker in Soho, Rebecca Tallon DeHavilland was Ireland’s first trans person. Ireland never forgave her for it.

Seamus Ennis: The Last Notes of an Era

Director: Feilimí O’Connor

Producer: Aisling Ni Fhlaithearta

Embark on a captivating journey into the heart of Irish music in ‘Seamus Ennis: The Last Notes of an Era.’ This biographical documentary explores the extraordinary life of Seamus Ennis, the ‘Godfather of Irish Music,’ whose quest to preserve tradition during the Second World War era shaped global musical landscapes.


Director: Garret Daly

Producer: Martina McGlynn

An up close portrait exploring 40 years of rock n’ roll at the iconic venue Slane Castle, a natural amphitheatre by the banks of the River Boyne and home to the best loved concert series Ireland has ever seen.

From Belfast to Palestine

Director: Peadar Ó Goill

Producer: Ainle Ó Cairealláin

Night raids and tear gas attacks are among the challenges of life as a Belfast native sets out to open a gym in the Aida Refugee Camp.

The Worst and the Best

Director: Cathy Dunne

Producer: Maggie Ryan

This cinematic documentary follows a professional dancer throughout her first pregnancy and interrogates what it means to be a woman whose identity is so interwoven with their career, on the cusp of motherhood.

Created in collaboration between Cork International Film Festival (Ireland’s first and largest film festival and destination for cinematic documentary) and Docs Ireland (the all-Ireland documentary focused festival from Belfast Film Festival), this cross-border partnership seeks to foster a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from the north and south of Ireland.

Feature documentary in Ireland has developed exponentially over the past decade, with countless award-winning non-fiction films gaining traction and being showcased both nationally, and on an international level; through festivals, cinema releases, television broadcast and VOD. The aim of IGNITE-Docs is to aid in the long term sustainable growth and artistry of talent in the Irish documentary film community, through training and skills development, mentorship and drawing from the resources and expertise of both festivals.

The scheme is project-led, and supports the progression of the selected projects and their teams, through training that focuses on the development process of documentary, from inception to exhibition. The scheme aims to foster a new generation of non-fiction creative documentary talent from all over the island of 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 developing their project, and will acquire market knowledge of the documentary industry, learning about the current trends in non-fiction film production, and giving them an expansive understanding of the sector. The programme includes workshops, masterclasses, and in person conversations with established documentarians, broadcasters, funders, sales agents, and other industry professionals. All training takes place in an intimate environment, which will allow a hands-on approach; facilitating maximum learning potential and the opportunity to network and foster new relationships.

The 2023/2024 programme provided a long-term engagement, comprising:

  • Training days at Cork International Film Festival in November 2023, and Docs Ireland in June 2024.
  • Regular online training days from November 2023 – June 2024
  • The opportunity to attend Sheffield Doc Fest in June 2024.