A joint initiative of Cork International Film Festival & Docs Ireland, Belfast, supported by TG4, the Arts Council of Ireland, Screen Skills Ireland and Arts & Business NI

Ignite is a pilot bilingual talent development programme directed towards emerging Irish documentary filmmakers embarking on their first or second non-fiction feature film.

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 festival from Belfast Film Festival), this cross-border partnership will foster a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from north and south.

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 will be 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.

Commenting on the announcement of this new collaborative talent development initiative, Cork International Film Festival Director and CEO, Fiona Clark, stated

We believe that the timing is right to begin this homegrown documentary talent incubator, as there is a huge amount of talent emerging in Ireland, who need a structural resource and training ground to help them understand their potential and gain the confidence to seriously pursue a career in documentary film.

Docs Ireland Festival Director Michelle Devlin said of the new partnership with Cork Film Festival:

Our Festivals are uniquely placed to deliver a meaningful new professional development programme; in terms of geographical location on the island, the corresponding dates of both festivals, the knowledge base and expertise within both festival teams of the documentary film industry, and the strong, high calibre industry connections of both festivals, not to mention the vital need to strengthen creative and filmic cross border relations between the north and south of Ireland in the wake of Brexit.

The scheme will be project-led, and will support the progression of the selected projects and their teams, through training that will focus on the development process of documentary, from inception to exhibition. The scheme will foster 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 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 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 an intimate environment, which will allow a hands-on approach; facilitating maximum learning potential and the opportunity to network and foster new relationships.

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

  • Training days at Cork International Film Festival in November 2020, and Docs Ireland in June 2021.
  • An out-of-festival training event in early Spring 2021.
  • The opportunity to attend a leading International Documentary Film Festival.

Projects in the Irish or English language, as well as those that are bi-lingual, are accepted and encouraged.

Deadline for applications is Friday 25 September. Successful projects will be announced in early October.

Further information on Cork International Film Festival & Docs Ireland:


Cork International Film Festival is Ireland’s first and largest film festival and celebrates its 65th anniversary edition this November 4th – 15th. The Festival is proudly supported by principal funder the Arts Council, alongside Cork City Council, Screen Ireland, Creative Europe MEDIA, Cork County Council, Screen Skills Ireland, Culture Ireland, Creative Ireland, Rethink Ireland, ESB Energy for Generations Fund and the Gate Cinemas. Principal Media Partner is RTÉ and Media Partners are the Irish Examiner and Red FM.

Doc Day at Cork International Film Festival is the festival’s flagship industry event, and seeks to inform, inspire and connect established and emerging non-fiction directors, producers and writers with international producers, directors, programmers, sales agents, distributors and film sector leaders to further understand and develop opportunities in the documentary landscape.

For full details, visit corkfilmfest.org, or see:

Facebook: @CorkFilmFestival

Twitter: @CorkFilmFest

Instagram: @CorkFilmFest


Docs Ireland is an industry focussed, all Ireland International Documentary Festival which will be held annually. The first edition was held in June 2019 and was proudly supported by principal funder NI Screen, alongside TG4, BBCNI, Arts & Business NI, Screen Ireland, Belfast City Council, Film Hub NI, Tourism Ireland, Department for Communities, and the British Council.

In its first year Docs Ireland successfully attracted over 5,500 people from Ireland, the UK, Europe, Canada and North America including leading members of the international documentary industry..

The festival offered opportunities for business development in the area of documentary production through its Doc Market –  Ireland’s first ever documentary film marketplace, and a new talent day which was held in partnership with BFI Docs Society. In 2019 Docs Ireland awarded monetary prizes for the best new Irish Feature (Gaza) best Irish Short Doc (Strong at the Broken Places) and the international Maysles Brothers observational doc award (Island).

For full details, visit belfastfilmfestival.org/docs-ireland, or see:

Facebook: @DocsIreland1

Twitter: @DocsIreland

Instagram: @docsireland