Day two of Docs Ireland was even bigger and better with even more special guests and screenings across Belfast!

It was our great privelige to host a Q & A with one of the directors of For Sama, Waad el-Kateab, at QFT following a screening of the film. For Sama tells Waad’s story over five years living in Aleppo, surrounded by the conflict, as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to a daughter, Sama.

The film has won international praise for its firsthand and extremely intimate portrait of the female experience of war, as well as numerous awards for best documentary at festivals such as Cannes and Hot Docs. Waad was joined by the film’s editor Chloe Lambourne and Siobhan Sinnerton, the film’s executive producer.

Everywhere the film has played it has left a lasting impression on its audience and Belfast was no exception. Clare Stronge, the producer of the award-winning 2017 Irish documentary The Farthest, tweeted, “Just watched the incredible For Sama at Docs Ireland- a Syrian journalist Waad el-Kateab makes a film for her baby girl. So so moving and beautiful.”

Docs Ireland also welcomed other guests, such as filmmaker Jeanie Finlay and Ser Strongbeard himself, Andy McClay, for a screening of Game of Thrones: The Last Watch at the Strand Arts Centre. Jeanie was embedded on the final series of Game of Thrones, charged with making a documentary that captured the spirit of the show and the people who brought Westeros to life. The film has had a terrific response from fans of the show and made a star of House of Stark extra, Andy.

Also talking documentaries were TIFF programmer Thom Powers and Docs Ireland Chairman and filmmaker Mark Cousins as they recorded an episode of Thom’s podcast, Pure Non-Fiction in front of a live audience at QFT.

It was more big names later with the ultimate flawed genius doublebill of Diego Maradona and The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, which was introduced by the film’s executive producer, Ryan Suffern. Film critic Neil Sedgewick tweeted, “Saw the Maradona doc last night at Docs Ireland. An incredible tale of one the great football icons, the inentsity of his time in Napoli & how quickly it faded away. As with all Asif Kapadia docs being a fan of the subject is not a requirement to engage with an incredible story.”

A very, very busy day two also saw Docs Ireland Marketplace at the Europa Hotel- a full day of industry panels, pitching and networking attended by representatives from the BBC, Dogwoof, TG4, PBS, EOdocs, Element Pictures and many more- as well as more screenings at the Beanbag Cinema and QFT, including Alex Gibney’s latest, The Inventor: Out for Blood, Mairin De Burca: A Loner’s Instinct and When Lambs Become Lions.

See you all for day three of #DocsIreland for even more films!