Day four was a day for filmmakers- with two of Ireland’s greatest, in Margo Harkin and John T. Davis, attending Docs Ireland. Emerging voices in film were also showcased in the Short Documentary Competition and we heard about the importance of documentary in acting as a catalyst for debate and change in a panel on The Art of Activism.

We were honoured to present Margo Harkin with the Docs Ireland award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Documentary. We cannot think of a more worthy first recipient of the award. Margo has blazed a trail in documentary film for women across a prolific 30 year career, producing numerous award-winning films that have tackled important historical and social issues on the island of Ireland. Her films include ‘Mother Ireland’, ’12 Days in July’, The Hunger Strike’ and ‘Waveriders’. Margo took part in a Q & A at the Ulster Museum with Michael Hewitt of Doubleband Films about her career and work.

Also at the Ulster Museum, filmmakers Wuraola Majekodunmi, Gillian Callan, Treasa O’Brien and Anna Rodgers took part in a panel discussion on The Art of Activism, addressing pertinent political issues here in the North, such as Marriage Equality and Abortion Rights, and how film can be used as an affective agent of change.

Meanwhile at QFT there was a packed day of films, beginning early in the morning with the Short Documentary Competition. Shorts are an important cornerstone of any festival and Docs Ireland was privileged to present 26 of the best shortform Irish documentaries from the last year with many of the filmmakers in attendance. Also at QFT, directors Tom Burke, Ciaran O Maonaigh and Oisin Kearney presented their films Losing Alaska, Padraigin Ni Uallachain and Bojaya: Caught in the Crossfire, respectively. Other highlights included John T. Davis’ recent film Heart on Line, followed by a musical performance from the talented man himself, and the marvelous new documentary from Penny Lane, ‘Hail Satan?’

Day four also saw screenings across the city at the Beanbag Cinema, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Vault Artists Studio and Odeon at Victoria Square. Another packed day of discussion and film then came to a close with a spectacular screening of Man of Aran at St. Joseph’s Church- featuring live musical accompaniment from Una Monaghan, Ceri Owen and Sile Denvir.

Four days down, just one to go! See you all for the concluding day of the first ever #DocsIreland on Sunday!