Interview: Tess Motherway, Dublin Doc Festival Director

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Dee O’Donoghue chatted with Dublin Doc Festival Director, Tess Motherway, after the event to discuss her impressions of the night and why she feels the Dublin Doc Festival is an important platform for documentary filmmakers.

 

How many entrants were there in total and was this amount up on last year?

We had over 80 entrants this time around due in part to our engagement with online submission platform Film Festival Life, which accounted for almost half of the entries.  This was indeed an improvement on last year and allowed us to cast our net wider in terms of the films that we received.

 

The theme of the festival was Interior/Exterior and Mindscape/Landscape – how did the seven selected films meet this thematic criteria above all other entrants?

The aim of each screening is to carefully curate short documentary film in a programme that complements each film.  I’m always guided by the entries, I like to see what filmmakers are engaging with, the subjects that excite them, and work the programme around what we receive.  I take a long time to consider and review all the films, but it was quickly clear that this year’s strongest entries had the common thread of interior/exterior.  I then got to work selecting films that worked well together and engaged with this theme in varying and interesting ways.

 

Did you receive much international interest and how are you hoping to attract more international entrants next year?

Most of our entries were actually international, which is great, and a good measure of how far the festival is reaching.  We always have strong Irish representation in the programmes, being an Irish festival, but the demographic of films submitted depends on so many factors.  We really pushed the boat out with this year’s screening launching a new website and setting up more social media accounts and actively engaging with other festivals and filmmakers.  This has had a huge effect on growth and I’m confident that it will result in even more submissions.

 

Why do you think it is important to hold a Dublin Doc Festival?

I think it’s really important to offer the hugely talented short documentary filmmakers out there (of which Ireland has many) more opportunities to show their films as I think short documentary film has limited opportunities within film festival shorts programmes to be shown.  Dublin Doc Fest was founded with the objective of creating a new platform for documentary film in Ireland and, being a documentary filmmaker myself, my aim is to present short documentary in carefully curated programmes and non-traditional screening spaces.

 

Were you pleased with the success of the event and how do you hope to exceed this year’s festival next year?

I was delighted with this year’s event. We were completely sold out and there felt like a real buzz about it, especially online. We received really positive feedback and people are already asking when the next will be, can it be bigger and when can they enter their films. Our next step is to put together a solid funding and sponsorship plan to enable us to put on a bigger, longer event. I chose the name Dublin Doc Fest with the ambition of it becoming a full festival some day and that is still my goal. Next year I’d love to have a few screenings take place, I’d also love to take a different approach with the film festival structure and bring something new to the way things are done.

 

The third Dublin Doc Fest took place on Saturday, 28th February 2015 at 7pm in The Irish Georgian Society, City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin.

 

You can read Dee O’Donoghue’s report from the festival here

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