Ignite Large

Ignite is 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.

It is a bilingual pilot talent development programme directed towards emerging Irish and Northern 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 new all-Ireland documentary focused festival from Belfast Film Festival), this cross-border partnership will seek to foster a new generation of 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 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.

About the Programme

The scheme is 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 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,
  • acquire market knowledge of the documentary industry,
  • learn about the current trends in non-fiction film production,
  • provide 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.


To apply for the Ignite Documentary Talent Development Programme, please complete the application form below, including full details of the project, and the director and producer attached:

Ignite Application Form (in English)

Ignite Application Form (as Gaeilge)

We would appreciate it if, when submitting your application, you complete the Ignite Diversity Form for both members of your creative team. It is completely anonymous, and is used for the purpose of the diversity monitoring of both Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland. The form is available below:

Ignite Diversity Form (in English)

Ignite Diversity Form (as Gaeilge)

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

Full Ignite guidelines are available to view here

If you have any questions or queries, please contact ignite@corkfilmfest.org

Ignite 2020-2021 Participant List

Beatle Island – Gillian Callan (Director), Ciara Bresnihan (Producer)

A utopia lost off the West Coast of Ireland. Beatle Island is a tragedy about a group that attempted to create a new form of society on John Lennon’s island in Clew Bay, and the conflicts they had with the people of Westport. 

The Honeypot – Laura Smith (Director), Lorraine Harton (Producer)

“If you find us, don’t revive us”. When burglars came across this note, they inadvertently stumbled upon the tragic trail of intrigue and deception left by international con-woman Julia Holmes.

Untitled Hydebank Film – Ross McClean (Director / Producer)

Ryan spends his last season as an inmate caring for a flock of sheep inside a Northern Irish prison’s walls. Upon release, he is thrust back into a precarious political environment as he ventures to raise his own flock, putting faith in the only occupation he has known to bring him solace.

Hy-Brasil – Michael Barwise (Co-director), Sean Mullan (Co-director)

A journey to find what you’re looking for. A storyteller embarks on a voyage to find the phantom island of Hy-Brasil, allegedly located 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland. 

Pascal – John Conway (Director), Mairéad Ní Thréinir (Producer)

An old man living alone in a battered caravan, perched on the edge of an island on the Connemara coast. His legs are failing, his cancer is spreading, he couldn’t care less. He’s back on the island where he was born to live out his days, content in the knowledge that he didn’t waste a moment.

Searching for Space – Cara Holmes (Director), Evan Horan (Producer)

An intimate portrayal of a community of activists, creative artists and misfits told through lesbian lines – one of the oldest LGBT+ helplines in the world.