Docs Ireland is under way! Our first day had a packed programme of screenings, workshops, Q & As, VR sessions and masterclasses across the city of Belfast- and with a total of 55 features and 34 short documentaries there is still a lot more to come over the next four days!

Our Opening Night Gala saw one of the world’s greatest living documentarians, Alex Gibney, in conversation with Co-chair of Docs Ireland Brian Henry Martin at the Odeon in Victoria Square in front of a sold out audience.

Alex Gibney is the Oscar-winning director of ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ and is one of the most accomplished and productive documentarians of his generation. Alex was talking about his extensive filmography with Brian and taking questions from the audience on his films including ‘Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief’ and ‘No Stone Unturned’. The British Council tweeted out after the event, “Such a great choice for the opening, could have listened to Alex Gibney talk all night and still have wanted more.”

Alex Gibney was also presented with the Docs Ireland award by Chairman Mark Cousins, the first ever recipient of the award. Docs Ireland Director Michele Devlin tweeted, “A fantastic day of discussion and insights. Honoured to have Alex Gibney as our inaugural Docs Ireland award recipient”

Other day one highlights included a packed screening of ‘The Silence of Others’ at QFT. The documentary follows the search for justice of victims of the Franco dictatorship. Dr Laura Aguiar tweeted out afterwards, “So glad I got to see The Silence of Others last night – very moving and powerful film about the fight for justice and the legacy of violence in Spain. Many parallels with Northern Ireland.”

We also had the pleasure of hosting a screening of Jeanie Finlay’s new film ‘Seahorse’, followed by a Q & A with the director. The film tells the story of a man giving birth and QFT’s Mike McKenna tweeted “Working tonight and had the privilege of sitting in on Seahorse at QFT as part of Docs Ireland and it was absolutely brilliant! I highly recommend watching it when you get a chance! Also such an interesting Q&A with the filmmaker Jeanie Finlay afterwards! Come back soon!”

Day one also included events across the city with virtual reality documentaries screening at Queen’s Film Studio, there were expert industry workshops from Paul Pauwels, Andy Glynne and Elizabeth Klinck and architecture film City Dreamers playing at the Strand Arts Centre- a fantastic film about four incredible female architects, it was followed by an engrossing panel discussion on Belfast’s architectural future and the importance of placing people at the centre of designing our cities and spaces.

Earlier in the day the Ulster Museum had played host to a panel discussion on the pertinent issue of Freedom of the Press. Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane tweeted about the event, saying: “Timely & insightful discussion expertly moderated by Susan McKay today at Ulster Museum.”

With a full 4 more days of events be sure to let us know your thoughts on any events you attend by using the hashtag #DocsIreland