This is the second Docs Ireland short film competition.


This year we have a fantastic range of films showing just how versatile and expressive the short film can be. The documentary short is an artform of its own, and excitingly, many of the films in this collection have used experimental and essayistic approaches to their visual style and structure, broadening the artistic landscape of Irish documentary.

We are delighted to invite 21 filmmakers to showcase their work (listed below) as part of the Docs Ireland short documentary competition. Thanks to Doubleband Films for supporting this event again this year.

On Saturday 14th November you will be able to watch all 21 short documentaries for free from the comfort of your own home. Simply book your place by clicking the (Buy Tickets) button on the right and bagsy your space on the sofa!

Welcome to a Bright White Limbo


Director: Cara Holmes

Running Time: 10:45

A stylish portrait of critically-acclaimed, Belfast-based dance artist Oona Doherty, whose work reflects on class and gender identity. The film delves into the creative process behind her work Hope Hunt.

Up & Away

Director: Jamie Goldrick

Running Time:15:30

Told through the eyes of four men who were in the prison on the day of the Mountjoy Helicopter Escape, two Wardens and two Republican prisoners, this documentary illustrates how a 60 second event that took place over 46 years ago is imprinted on the memory of those who witnessed it.

Maid in America

Director: Kathy Raftery

Running Time:1:00

Josephine from Co. Galway talks about the period of her life spent working as a maid in the United States in the early 1950’s, including the time she encountered a member of the Rockefeller family.

A Short Film About Guts

Director: Tadhg Dennehy

Running Time:10:45

A Short Film About Guts is a personal film concerned with the role art can play in helping a patient express the realities of living with a chronic illness.



Director: Ross McClean

Running Time: 17:00

While serving out his sentence in Hydebank Wood, Ryan reflects on the actions that led him there as he tends to the prison’s flock of sheep.

Mood Atlas

Director: Mia Mullarkey

Running Time: 18:30

Mood Atlas is a short documentary exploring Bipolar Disorder through one man’s experiences, and his search for hope in neuroscience.


Director: Lisa Keogh

Running Time: 18:40

People who experience menstruation discuss openly how it affects their lives in this refreshing documentary.

More Than Lemonade

Director: Vincent Kinnaird

Running Time: 9:40

Brightly coloured lemonade, made in a factory in Ballymoney and delivered to your door in glass bottles from a retro, open-sided lorry. Where else in the world would you get it in 2020?

The Grass Ceiling

Director: Iseult Howlett

Running Time: 15:00

Three successful female athletes explore what drives them to play, how the punishment, effort and joyful reward in sport reveal something essential in the human spirit that is often elusive for women.

Give Me A Sign

Director: Emmet Colton

Running Time: 13:37

The story of roadside Christian evangelism in Northern Ireland and three men who are trying to spread the word of God.

20 Yards From A Crow

Director: Al Butler


Ricky Whelan looks at the world of Crows that exists around us. Filmed in Portlaoise and Wexford.

A Line Was Drawn

Director: Mairead McClean

Running Time: 13:30

A Line Was Drawn (2019) weaves together material from a number of different sources to explore issues of how our world is structured through the creation of borders and boundaries limiting movement, thinking, questioning and agency. Through its layered format and contrasting sources of sound, the film aims to question the construct of seamless television documentary and news narratives tasked with conveying a particular story to convince or intrench a point of view.

Polaroid Boys

Director: Lia Campbell

Running Time: 6:33

Polaroid Boys’ follows lens based artist Mark Francis Fenning as he explores masculinity through the lens of his Polaroid camera and demands his subject’s body issues to be expressed.

At Present

Director: Deirdre O’Toole

Running Time: 5:06

Dancer’s body changes with age. Your body changes with age – but does your life have to? Suzanne has always been a dancer, and for the first time in her life, she is feeling her body change and affect her work.

The Fews

Director: Éanna Mac Cana

A portrait of the filmmaker’s artist father, Paddy McCann, as he creates a new body of work. The Fews is a forest area in south County Armagh. An place synonymous with the Northern Ireland conflict. It is close to where McCann is from and where his studio is now based.

Spread the Wings

Director: Alice McDowell

Running Time: 11:35

Sisters Maggie and Nora are from the Irish Traveller community – an indigenous nomadic ethnic minority group. Although forced off the road in the 1980s with the introduction of anti-trespass legislation, Maggie and Nora still travel back to Connemara (West Galway, Ireland) every summer to rekindle their connection with the land.

A Woman of Aran

Director: Thomas O’Donoghue

Running Time: 7:00

Bird O’Griofa, a native of Inisheer, reflects on life in pre-modern times in this poetic ethno-documentary that seeks to capture a portrait of island life of the past.

Hanging Over The Atlantic

Director: Fionn Walshe

Running Time: 8:46

Dursey Island is linked to the mainland by a single cable car. This lifeline allows its people to call Dursey Island home. Each day it brings new people, challenges, and life to this island.

The Quiet

Director: Georgia Kelly

Running Time: 8:28

An intimate and poignant observation of 87 year old, Ruth. Loneliness, fear, memory and the reality of ageing are examined through her eyes, as she lives alone in old age.


Director: Ryan Coney

Running Time: 9:17

Generations of Paraic’s family have lived and fished on the Aran Islands, with life on the island changing, Paraic may be the last in his family to keep this tradition going

Jill and Giles

Director: Alison Byrne

Running Time: 13:05

A human interest portrait piece based on an English couple who have spent 20 years living and working on a boat with half of that time being spent on the River Shannon in Ireland. It explores the themes of unconventionality, freedom and belonging.


This year’s Docs Ireland Competition Jury are:

Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska
Graduated from the faculty of journalism URAO (Moscow). In 2007-2010 – Executive Director, then Deputy Chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. In 2010-2012 – Head of the EuroBelarus Consortium advocacy program. Head of the public association “Zvyano” since 2014, co-founder of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival “WATCH DOCS Belarus”
David O Mahony
David is Head of Cinema Programming at the Irish Film Institute, a position held since 2015. Before this, David was Programme Manager with access CINEMA for eight years, as well as working as a freelance journalist specialising in film.
Charlotte Procter
Charlotte is Collection and Archive Director of LUX, the UK agency for the support and promotion of artists’ working with the moving image. In 2013 she joined the Cinenova Working Group, a collective formed to preserve and distribute the feminist film collection Cinenova. She has curated and participated in numerous exhibition programmes, screenings, talks and workshops internationally.