Following this weekend’s success of the extended five-day Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival in Gortahork, co-directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chianain say they are delighted with the enthusiastic response so far.
“There has been a terrific spirit at the festival, regardless of economic cuts which affect us all,” said David.
“Directors and producers from so many different countries are here and film-goers and students of cinema have a unique opportunity to get up close and ask all kinds of questions.
“This kind of intimacy is one of the characteristics we are most proud of here.”
Linking closely with the local community in west Donegal has also been a key priority of the festival organisers and screening of the film, Jig, which focuses on Irish dancing, the guest appearances of world champions, Brogan McCay and John Whitehurst, as well as the lively ceili Sunday night at the Festival Club in Ostan Loch Altan attracted many, both young and old.
Speaking at the opening, Ni Chianain summed up the festival’s sentiments, “This audience is peppered with activists who care – some have gone to prison for their beliefs, some have been ostracised from their communities, some have suffered economic hardship for speaking out.
“But it’s not this audience that we want to change: we see an opportunity to use the film community to act as facilitators; as levers for social change because the power you wield is immense.”
Guest speakers, Julia Handelman Smith, deputy director of the British Council in Belfast, and Shona McCarthy chief executive of Derry City of Culture 2011, deputy director of the British Council in Belfast Julia Handelman Smith, emphazised the festival’s key importance in promoting positive social change and the continued need for funding.
A national and international audience packed out three separate cinemas to watch award-winning films and participate in lively interactive discussions on sharply diverse subjects. The festival’s three strands – ‘Terrorism on trial,’ ‘Small Actions vs Big Power’ and ‘Getting the Message on Climate’ – focused on society in crisis and the responsibility that places on individuals to act. Summing up the overriding message, Neasa said, “Films That Matter can, and should be, entertaining, possibly not as escapism but as a kind of participation. We see an opportunity to use the film community as facilitators; as levers for social change because the power you wield is immense.”
Guth Gafa continues until tomorrow Tuesday, with master classes on film-making and accessing funding in north America. A special student award will also be made.Tags: