Pull Focus | Documentary Festival

Pull Focus | Documentary Festival

09 – 16 August 2018

Belfast Film Festival launches ‘Pull Focus’ – A celebration of contemporary documentary, with a focus on Irish and Northern Irish documentary making.

In 2006, the international legend of documentary filmmaking, Albert Maysles came to the Belfast Film Festival, they had set up a new competition focusing on the art of observational documentary that was the Maysles signature style.  Documentary work is an important part of the Festival’s history, it has screened hundreds of world-class documentaries through the years.  The focus on this genre has allowed the Festival to host exciting speakers and discussions, and to explore important socio-political issues and ideas affecting the world, and engage audiences in the discourse around an ever-changing Northern Ireland.

Irish documentary on both sides of the border is becoming world-renowned and increasingly prolific, and Pull Focus, Belfast Film Festival’s new documentary event, provides an opportunity to profile these films. This pilot programme celebrates the best new work being produced by documentarians across the island.

Documentaries will be screening throughout the month of August, kicking off on Thursday 9 August with The Image You Missed, Donal Foreman will present his meditation on his father, Arthur McCaig’s (Irish Ways and Patriot Games) filmmaking legacy in Northern Ireland. The closing film is the world premiere of Sean Murray’s Unquiet Graves, a powerful and visceral examination of collusion and the search for justice. I, Dolours a controversial film which turns a camera onto the life of former IRA activist Dolours Price will be premiered.  Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival Mark Cousins presents his latest documentary hybrid The Eyes Of Orson Welles a love letter to one of cinemas greatest artists.

Special guests of the festival will include filmmakers Donal Foreman (The Image You Missed), Seán Murray (Unquiet Graves), Producer and writer (I, Dolours), Ed Maloney, Director Feargal Ward (The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid), Director Mark Cousins (The Eyes Of Orson Welles) and Director of Camino Voyage, Dónal Ó Célleachair.

As well as highlighting the quality of contemporary documentary, there is a focus on the great tradition of documentary in Northern Ireland. The programme includes work from the godparents of non-fiction filmmaking such as David Hammond, Anne Crilly, Margo Harkin and John T Davis.

Programmer Stuart Sloan said the selection of documentaries:

‘”Explores issues very important to our society, personal and political, and we hope that our programming continues to contribute, to the broader critical discourse on equality.”

For interviews or further information visit belfastfilmfestival.org or call 028 9032 5913


Summary of New Documentaries:

The Image you Missed, Director Donal Foreman 2018

Drawing on over 30 years of unique and never-seen-before footage, The Image You Missed is an experimental essay film that weaves together a history of the Northern Irish Troubles’ with the story of a son’s search for his father (Arthur McCaig). The film creates a candid encounter between two filmmakers born into two different political moments, revealing their contrasting experiences, the role of images in social struggle and the competing claims of personal and political responsibility.

 Unquiet Graves, Directed by Seán Murray 2018 (Cert. 12A)

This feature-length documentary investigates the role the British government played in the murder of over 120 civilians in Counties Armagh and Tyrone from July 1972 to 1978.

 I, Dolours, Directed by Maurice Sweeney 2018

A cinematic yet intimate and complex portrait of Dolours Price, militant IRA activist, hunger striker and dissident Republican who two years before she died gave a filmed interview on the condition that it would not be broadcast in her lifetime. Now for the first time, her story can be told in full and entirely in her own words.

 While You Live, Shine, Directed by Paul Duane 2018

A moving, powerful journey deep into the oldest music in the Western world, guided by the eccentric musicologist who has dedicated his life to understanding & preserving it. An immersive sonic & visual feast that leaves the viewer feeling they’ve looked into a way of life that the 21st century has left behind. A call to arms for a different way of listening to music, understanding humanity and living as a community.

The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, Directed by Feargal Ward 2017

Despite pressure from the authorities, a gentle Irish farmer refuses to sell the property he inherited from his ancestors. The power of the American company (U.S. microchip manufacturer Intel) trying to buy his land is great, but the main character’s resolve is even greater.

Wonderful Losers, Directed by Arunas Matelis 2018

The film reveals the unseen world of Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. For most people, the cyclists at the back of the race are simply losers. They call them water carriers, domestics, optimists. Wonderful Losers uncovers the invisible side of “Giro d’Italia” – one of the harshest as well as one of the biggest cycling races in the world. Despite its popularity, few people know about the complex, hierarchal structure of the race which often bears similarity to monastic rules, including unconditional acceptance and self-sacrifice.

The Silver Branch, Directed by Katrina Costello 2017

The Silver Branch is a philosophical vision-poem on the life of farmer/poet Patrick McCormack, a descendant of the generations of farmers who have lived on the wild landscape of the Burren in County Clare. Patrick and his rural community are drawn into a divisive battle with the Government, leading him and a small group of friends to the Supreme Court to decide on the fate of this iconic wilderness.

 The Eyes of Orson Welles, Directed by Mark Cousins 2018

Mark Cousins dives deep into the visual world of legendary director and actor Orson Welles to reveal a portrait of the artist as he’s never been seen before – through his own eyes, sketched with his own hand, painted with his own brush.

Granted exclusive access to hundreds of private drawings and paintings by Orson Welles. Executive produced by Michael Moore, The Eyes of Orson Welles brings vividly to life the passions, politics, and power of this brilliant 20th-century showman, and explores how the genius of Welles still resonates today in the age of Trump, more than 30 years after his death.

Camino Voyage, Directed by Dónal Ó Célleachair 2017

A crew including a writer, two musicians, an artist and a stonemason embark on the Camino by sea, in a traditional boat that they built themselves on an inspiring, and dangerous, 2,500 lm modern-day Celtic odyssey all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain. Starring Oscar-winning musician Glen Hansard, traditional Irish musician Brendan Begley, Artist Liam Holden, Stonemason Brendan-Pháid Moriarty and writer and poet Danny Sheehy.



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