Award-winning films that explore the relationship between humans and the planet we inhabit dominate the programme of the eighth Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival.
The week-long film festival will get underway on Saturday October 25th and Sunday October 26th in Malin, Co Donegal and continue over the following weekend at Headfort House in Kells, Co Meath.
Over 20 films from 15 different countries, celebrating the groundbreaking work of some of the world’s leading independent documentary filmmakers will be premiered in pop-up cinemas in both venues.
The impact of conflict, globalisation and climate change on the lives of ordinary people resonates through this year’s programme, with a sprinkling of magic thrown in.
“It is one of our strongest programmes to date,” said director, David Rane.
“We are delighted that almost all of the films we are screening this year will be having their Irish premiere at Guth Gafa and many of them have scooped top film awards at major international festivals, including two winners from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.”
Thule Tuvalu, a quietly devastating portrait of two villages dangerously stuck between ice and sea, exposes the impact of climate change on the traditional lifestyles of the inhabitants of Thule, Greenland, the most northerly populated place on earth, and the remote South Pacific island of Tuvalu.
Among the many programme highlights is this year’s Best International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, Waiting for August, which documents the life of a 15-year- old Romanian teenager who is left to raise her six siblings while her mother is forced to work abroad.
Return to Homs, winner of the World Cinema grand jury prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance festival, meanwhile, is a searingly intimate portrait of a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs in western Syria and their resistance against the Bashir al-Assad’s regime.
The Domino Effect, the winner of this year’s Krakow Film Festival, is a tragicomedy about how the sport of dominoes is extraordinarily intertwined with politics, set around the fate of the small Caucasian republic of Abkhazia since breaking from Georgia in a bloody civil war.
Guth Gafa is also proud to be hosting the world premiere of the remarkable Irish documentary, La Violencia, the Untold Truths of Guatemala, a film by Kerry-based Bold Puppy productions, which focuses on the quest for justice of the indigenous Mayan women of Guatemala who were systemically subjected to torture and sexual violence during the country’s 36-year civil war.
Happiness, which won the Best Cinematography award at Sundance, looks through the eyes of an 8-year-old Buddhist monk at progress and change in the underdeveloped nation of Bhutan since the King approved the use of television and internet in 19999, assuring the masses that such development was synonymous with the ‘gross national happiness’ of his country.
The origins of the food we eat will be scrutinised through a number of hotly topical food-themed documentaries, including Canned Dreams from Finland, Food Chains from the USA , Meat and Milk from France, My Name is Salt from Germany, and the Irish-made Blood Fruit. These films will set the scene for panel discussions in both venues on the future of Irish agriculture and food production with input from award winning chef Richard Corrigan and cheese maker, Kevin Sheridan, among others.
The festival will also reflect the changing landscape for making and distributing documentary films. An Honest Liar, a film by US-based directors Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, who will be in attendance, and profiles the colourful life of famed magician turned professional sceptic James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, was made possible thanks to over 3,000 people who donated $246,989 via Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.
In an exciting addition to this year’s programme, the final touches are being put to an international film forum, supported by the Honeycomb-Creative Works Programme, which will take place in the Virginia Park Hotel in Cavan on October 31st and will focus on how independent filmmakers can reach wider audiences and how their work can become a catalyst for change.
With the same selection of films being screened in both Malin village and Headfort House, Kells, festival goers will be able to chose the location that best suits them.
Alongside the films, there’s also a packed programme of industry and social events in both venues.
Full programme details are available on the Guth Gafa website www.guthgafa.com .