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IFI Documentary Festival underway

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) has released the programme for IFI Documentary Festival 2017. The five-day event kicked off on Wednesday (27 September).

Speaking at the programme launch David O’Mahony, head of Cinema Programming at the IFI, said: “This year’s IFI Documentary Festival programme highlights the exceptional quality of modern documentary filmmaking across the world. It’s fitting and appropriate that so many of this year’s films examine the pressing social issues affecting people globally, on both a micro and a macro scale.

“We’re proud to welcome so many special guests to the festival this year, and we’re delighted that audiences will have the opportunity to engage with these extremely talented filmmakers.”

The festival will showcase the finest original international documentary films alongside Irish documentary-makers with 16 feature length documentaries, seven Irish premieres, and the world premiere of Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect.

Highlights this year include Nothingwood by film-maker Sonia Kronlund. The documentary feature follows the gonzo efforts of Afghan ctor/producer/director Salim Shaheen and his ramshackle repertory group as they embark upon the auteur’s 110th no-budget action feature, leading the increasingly anxious Kronlund deep into the Taliban-controlled territory.

The festival will close on Sunday with the world premiere of Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, a profile of the Pritzker Prize-winning Irish-American architect.

Although Roche has reached the top of his profession, he has not sought fame, and little is known about him here. He is best known in Ireland as the architect of Dublin’s Convention Centre.

The festival features a strong programme of international stories with films from USA, Mexico, UK, the Gambia, Lithuania, the Phillippines, Italy, the Republic of Congo and Cambodia. They include: Motherland a fly-on-the-wall portrait of the Jose Fabella Hospital in Manila, the world’s busiest maternity hospital; and Makala (pictured), a profoundly moving, experiential film, and  winner of Best Film at Cannes Film Festival’s Critics Week 2017.

A number of Irish-produced features also have a distinctly international flavour, including:

  • A Cambodian Spring, winner of the Best International Feature at Toronto Hot Docs 2017, tells the story of three people caught up in the chaotic events shaping modern-day Cambodia
  • Jaha’s Promise, in which Jaha Dukureh returns home from the US to the Gambia to lead a campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Butterfly City, which features the young Lithuanian town of Visaginas, now under threat following the decommissioning of its nuclear power plant.

The Irish shorts programme this year features Mia Mullarkey’s Throwline; Deirdre O’Toole’s Faraway Land; Mairéad Ní Thréinir’s Tit for Tatt; Mike Hannon’s The Cloud of Unknowing; Bob Gallagher’s The Impossible Flight of the Stone; Maurice Gunning’s Sekar Arum; and Kristin Vollset’s No Plan.

There will be an Audience Award for Best Short supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board. Screenscene will this year sponsor the Audience Award for Best Irish Short.

Special guests expected to attend the festival include Mark Noonan and John Flahive who will attend the world premiere of their new film Kevin Roche: the Quiet Architect.

Other guests include Olga Černovaitė and Jeremiah Cullinane for Butterfly City, Ramona S Diaz for Motherland, Michael Fanning and Máire Bhreathnach for Rocky Ros Muc, Chris Kelly for A Cambodian Spring, and Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan, and Jaha Dukureh for Jaha’s Promise.