Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland Belfast have announced the six projects selected for Year Three of its cross-border filmmaking talent development programme, IGNITE.
The documentary film projects cover a wide range of stories, including saving the corncrake population in north-west Ireland, an exploration of a housing estate in the west of Ireland, the experience of attraction through blindness, an Irish language feature documentary about the Irish fiddle maestro Seán McGuire, an international hunt to reveal the identity of a young girl who turns up at Dublin’s GPO, and a mixed ability rugby community on their journey to the World Cup
IGNITE is a bilingual talent development programme led by Cork International Film Festival and Docs Ireland and directed towards emerging Irish and Northern Irish documentary filmmakers embarking on their first or second non-fiction feature film.
Answering the Call: The Corncrake Project
Director: Martin Danneels
Producer: Laura Cranley
Set on Ireland’s rugged north-west coastline, Answering the Call follows an audacious plan to save a tiny population of corncrakes by changing the mindsets of farmers. Writer: Geoff Power
Martin Danneels, Director
Martin was born in Bruges but moved to Ireland in 1998, having worked for Canal+ in Belgium previously. After a stint in TV3, he co-founded Red Pepper Productions in 2000, and has since directed most of the company’s documentaries, singles and series. Martin has a special interest in social issues, such as homelessness and addiction, but also the complicated relationship that exists between ourselves and our natural environment.
Laura Cranley, Producer
Laura has been working in the Irish Independent TV sector since 2005. Moving to Belgium in 1991, she started her career as an animation editor before moving on to Canal+ Belgium, where she worked on on-air promotional material. Moving home in 1998, Laura worked in TV3 as a producer before co-founding Red Pepper, producing most of the company’s output to date. She is a board member of Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) since 2018 and graduated from the Advanced Producers Programme with Screen Skills Ireland at TUD in 2020. Laura speaks fluent Dutch.
Geoff Power, Writer
Geoff is a writer and a freelance documentary maker. He also teaches creative writing at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise. He has written several plays; his latest, Stronger, was staged at last year’s Dublin Theatre Festival. Produced by Gúna Nua Theatre Company, it had a ten-day production run at Smock Alley Theatre. Geoff has a keen interest in the built and natural environment and, on two occasions, travelled to Southern Africa to volunteer with the Cheetah Conservation Programme in Botswana. He has visited many nature reserves in other African countries, as well as South America and Central America.
And There We Were
An exploration of how a housing estate in the west of Ireland came to be known as Little Belfast.
Christina Bennett, Director
Christina Bennett is a filmmaker and artist, living in the west of Ireland. Her work references her own displacement and events surrounding the conflict in the north of Ireland. Her film work has been selected for festivals in Ireland, the UK and USA as well as being used in her art installations, creating an immersed audience experience. She continues to examine experiences of displacement, telling stories of those who have lived ordinary lives through extraordinary times.
Bonnie Boyle, Producer
Bonnie Boyle is a director and producer based in County Clare. She is drawn to explorations of creativity and its capacity to sustain and propel us through challenges. Her short poetic documentary ‘Interwoven’, an exploration of the choreography of the mechanics around us, is now showing at film festivals. She is currently working on a documentary based on a journey through Palestine. Bonnie has studied anthropology, sociology, mediation and therapeutic arts all of which have a direct link to the way she engages with and makes films.
If Love Be Blind
The film explores the role of visual media in shaping our attitudes towards desire, the experience of attraction through blindness, and the invisible part other senses play in the process.
Bob Gallagher, Director & Producer
Bob Gallagher is an award-winning filmmaker described by Werner Herzog as a ‘good soldier of cinema’ and by Totally Dublin as ‘one of the nation’s premiere creative forces in the visual arts’. Gallagher was hand-picked to attend a workshop with Herzog at the EICTV in Cuba, emerging with two short documentaries. He is also the creator of some of the most iconoclastic music videos to emerge from Ireland in recent years. He recently completed his first feature length documentary, about traditional singing on the Inishowen peninsula, and is currently in development of his debut drama feature ‘The Song Collector’.
Mo Mheantóir Seán McGuire
An Irish language feature documentary looking at the real legacy of the Irish fiddle maestro Seán McGuire. Who was this tour de force? What was the truth behind the many stories that surrounded his life? Who was the real man? Myth or legend?
Méabh O’Hare, Director
Méabh O’Hare is director of Sonas Productions, the Belfast-based independent production company. They specialise in music and arts-based programs. As producer and director Méabh has a long and impressive track record making Irish language documentaries for a range of broadcasters including TG4, BBC NI, and RTÉ. Méabh is also a highly recognised traditional musician that has performed and toured extensively. From a young age, Méabh was taught fiddle by the legendary Seán McGuire. She has appeared many times on national television, performing and presenting traditional music programmes. Méabh was awarded the prestigious TG4 young traditional musician of the year award in 2000.
Karol Lynch, Producer
Karol Lynch has been a producer with Sonas Productions for the last seven years. He has produced programmes for broadcasters such as TG4, BBC and RTÉ. He began his production career as a sound engineer but now specialises in producing primarily music documentaries and music performance based programmes. He is also an accomplished musician touring extensively throughout American and Europe, He has performed at some of Europe’s biggest festivals.
Searching for Samantha (Ar Thóír Samantha)
When a young girl turns up outside the General Post Office in Dublin unable to speak, it sparks an international hunt to reveal her identity. But that’s just the start of the story.
Ciara Hyland, Director
Ciara Hyland is a highly experienced writer and director focusing on cutting edge history that reveals something about who we still are today. She is passionate about the visual, cinematic telling of emotionally impactful stories that resonate widely – often focussing on women and their experiences. Previous broadcast documentaries include Cogadh ar Mhná / A War on Women on sexual violence during the War of Independence and Forgotten: the Widows of the Irish Revolution on the wives of the men executed during 1916 and their subsequent lives. She’s currently directing Croíthe Radacacha/ Radical Hearts on eight same-sex couples who were at the heart of the Irish Revolution.
Ciara Buckley, Producer
Ciara Buckley is producer based in Cork who is passionate about history, social justice, feminism and Indigenous rights. Her work is heavily focussed on the power and connection of people’s stories. Ciara believes that film can be a powerful impetus for social justice.
Try! follows the colourful and diverse mixed ability rugby community in Ireland on their journey to the World Cup.
Oisín Mistéil, Director
Oisín is a director and editor based between Galway and Dublin who works in both the English and Irish languages. With a background in making documentaries for TG4, he has directed and edited multiple episodes of TG4’s award-winning documentary series Finné (2017-2022). He also wrote and directed the authored family history documentary Ar Thóir na Crown Jewels for TG4 in 2019, as well as the light-hearted apocalypse documentary, Go mBeirimid Beo (2021).
In 2020, he wrote and directed the comedy-drama Le Ceangal for TG4, which won a Celtic Media Award the following year. For his documentary work in 2020 he was nominated for Réalta Óg na Bliana at Gradaim Chumarsáide an Oireachtais (Rising Star Award at the Irish Language Media Awards). He is currently in production as director of the eight-part documentary series Tithe Cois Uisce for TG4.
Claire McCabe, Producer
Claire is a producer based in Dublin. She is an alumnus of the Rotterdam Film Lab and IDFAcademy. She has recently co-produced a feature documentary, The Ghost of Richard Harris, which had its World Premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and will have its Irish premiere at Cork International Film Festival in November 2022. Her feature film, Holy Island, premiered at the 66th Cork International Film Festival and had an Irish/UK theatrical release in October 2022.
Claire’s short film, An Encounter, has won five international awards including the Academy Qualifying Grand Prix Award at the 66 th Cork International Film Festival. Her short film, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You, had its North American premiere at SXSW, its Canadian premiere at Fantasia Film Festival and has also won five international accolades. Her latest short film Safe as Houses had its World Premiere at the 34th Galway Film Fleadh.
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), IGNITE is a cross-border partnership that seeks to foster a new generation of Irish documentary filmmakers from the north and south of Ireland.
The scheme is project-led, and supports the progression of the selected projects and their teams, through training that focuses on the development process of documentary, from inception to exhibition. During this comprehensive training initiative, participants gain a grounding in all facets of developing their project, and acquire market knowledge of the documentary industry, learning about the current trends in non-fiction film production, and giving them an expansive understanding of the sector. The programme includes workshops, masterclasses, and in-person conversations with established documentarians, broadcasters, funders, sales agents, and other industry professionals. All training takes 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.
The programme provides a long-term engagement, comprising:
- Training days at Cork International Film Festival in November 2022, and Docs Ireland in June 2023.
- Regular online training days from November 2022 – June 2023
- The opportunity to attend a leading International Documentary Film Festival.