IFI Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival (25 – 28 September 2014)
Featuring two world premieres and seven Irish premieres in a packed programme of documentary film, the IFI Stranger Than Fiction is once again set to challenge, reveal, inform and inspire Irish documentary fans and filmmakers from 25thto 28th September 2014. The programme includes a new film from Kim Longinotto that captures the history of love on screen, a profile of notorious Irish-American crime boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, restored footage of the liberation of Europe in 1945, the fabricated case against Ai Weiwei, a profile of the late, great film critic Roger Ebert and the world premiere of Showrunners which reveals the writer/producer masterminds behind quality U.S television. There will be a host of Q+As with Irish and international guest directors and a series of industry special events presented in partnership with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board.
Ross Whitaker, Festival Programmer announced the programme today, saying “I’m excited to be presenting what I feel is one of the strongest line-ups we’ve ever had for IFI Stranger Than Fiction and to welcome prestigious guests like Kim Longinotto and Andre Singer to Dublin, as well as wonderful emerging talent Amir Amirani, whose brilliant We Are Many will open the festival. The Irish line-up is incredibly strong too and we’re delighted to be premiering the new Christina Noble documentary In a House That Ceased to Be and the new film on US TV writer/producers, Showrunners. Every film is a world, Irish or Dublin premiere and I’m sure audiences are really going to connect with the programme.”
This year’s opening film, We Are Many, examines the massive anti-Iraq-War marches of February 2003, the biggest ever global protest mobilisation. It is a personal and political film told on an epic scale and was the breakout hit of the prestigious Sheffield DocFest. Director Amir Amirani will take part in a live post-screening Q+A .
Activism remains a key theme of this year’s festival. The world premiere of In a House that Ceased to Be will introduce an intimate, emotional and startlingly frank portrait of Dublin-born children’s rights campaigner Christina Noble. Director Ciarín Scott will take part in a post-screening Q&A . An award winner at the Galway Film Fleadh, Sinead O’Brien’s Blood Fruit celebrates the 11 Dunnes Stores workers who refused to handle fruit from Apartheid South Africa and, in a legendary show of international solidarity, went on strike for 2.5 years.
Showing him returning from 81 days solitary detention and under house arrest, Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case captures the world-renowned artist and activist as he is faced with a gigantic lawsuit by the Chinese authorities while still finding new ways to challenge the authorities and make the case for change. Director Andreas Johnsen will take part in a post-screening Q&A.
Political and armed struggle is at the centre of Concerning Violence, a stunning archival examination of the African liberation struggles of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Voiced by Lauryn Hill and with text drawn from Frantz Fanon’s seminal anticolonial text, The Wretched of the Earth, it’s one of the most compelling documentaries of the year. The horrors of WWII and the Nazi genocide are laid bare in Night Will Fall, a shelved documentary project, now restored, of the liberation of Europe and the Nazi Concentration Camps that was masterminded by cinematic luminaries like Hitchcock, Wilder and Sidney Bernstein. The film will be followed by a Q&A with celebrated documentary filmmaker Andre Singer, well-known for his collaborations with Werner Herzog.
Another preoccupation of this year’s crop of documentaries is the history of cinema itself. Renowned documentary director Kim Longinotto with take part in a live Q+A after her new film Love is All, that takes on a sumptuous historical journey of love on screen, accompanied by an original score from Richard Hawley. Life Itself, the latest from award-winning Hoop Dreams helmer, Steve James, is an affectionate love letter to the late, great American cinema critic Roger Ebert. It Came from Connemara , followed by a Q&A with director Brian Reddin, tells the story of B-movie icon Roger Corman’s five years of making films in Connemara in the mid-1990s.
One of the most notorious crime bosses in the USA is profiled in Whitey: United States of America V. James J. Bulger. Part courtroom and part telling exposé of the murky world where undercover FBI agents meet high-level criminals, it’s a riveting and frightening picture of Whitey Bulger’s reign and how exactly he survived so long.
The quality television revolution of the past 20 years comes into focus with the Festival’s closing film, the world premiere of Showrunners. Irish director Des Doyle, who will take part in a live post-show Q+A, brings the role of the television showrunner to the fore, talking to the masterminds behind Lost, Boardwalk Empire, The Big Bang Theory, Battlestar Galactica and The Good Wife. This is a documentary for the box-set generation.
In addition to the feature programme, there’s a wealth of talented actuality filmmakers in the two short film selections. Reality Bites Documentary Shorts is the world premiere of this year’s crop from the prestigious Reality Bites scheme from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board. Many have gone on to play major festivals and win international awards and this year’s batch is as strong as ever. They’ll be competing alongside the films in the Documentary Shorts selection that is programmed in association with Eat My Shorts and features both Irish and international short films. A Jury Award will be presented for Best Short and Audience Awards for Best Feature and Short.
The Festival, in partnership with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board, will be presenting a selection of special industry events that foster talent, create international connections and bring filmmakers and audiences closer together. Two stand-alone workshops are available: How to Make a Winning Documentary Short and Getting Places in Feature Documentary, and there’s also a Documentary Industry Day that will include seminars, masterclasses including one with multi award-winning documentarian Kim Longinotto, and panels for documentary producers and directors.
Tickets are on sale now from the IFI Box Office in person, on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie/stf. You can find out more about all the films and events in IFI Stranger than Fiction on the website.
Tickets are priced €9.20 except for the opening film which includes a post-screening reception and costs €13. Daily Membership costs €1 for Non-Annual Members and will be added to the ticket price. Special Events cost €5 Enjoy more of the Festival for less with a special package price of 5 films for €40 – available in person only.
IFI Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival – Timetable of Events
We Are Many + Q&A Thursday 25th, 7pm
Blood Fruit Friday 26th, 6.30pm
Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger Friday 26th 8.30pm
Documentary Shorts Saturday 27th 1.30pm
Night Will Fall Saturday 27th 3.15pm
Reality Bites, Documentary Shorts Saturday 27th, 5pm
Love is All + Q&A Saturday 27th, 6.15pm
In a House That Ceased To Be +Q&A Saturday 27th 8pm
It Came from Connemara + Q&A Saturday 27th, 10pm
Concerning Violence Sunday 28th, 2pm
Life Itself Sunday 28th, 4pm
Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case +Q&A Sunday 28th, 6.30pm
Showrunners + Q&A Sunday 28th, 8.30pm