The IFI Documentary Festival 2019 offers a wide and open eye on the world

The full programme for the 17th edition of the Irish Film Institute’s  Documentary Festival has been announced. With fifteen features, including 10 Irish premieres, and the always insightful and keenly awaited Irish shorts programme, the IFI Documentary Festival 2019 looks set to continue a great year of  Irish and international documentary being showcased in the fair city of film.

This year’s event is set to run at the IFI from Wednesday, September 25th to Sunday, September 29th, with a couple of well-received local films at the top of the list of the programme’s highlights. Artist Bill Drummond will be in attendance himself at the Eustace Street cinema on the Friday for a screening of his second collaboration with director Paul Duane, Best Before Death. The film focuses on Drummond’s visits to Kolkata and North Carolina to build beds, bake cakes, make soup and shine shoes and the festival screening is set to be bookended by a short play in two parts, White Saviour Complex, written by Drummond and performed by him and actor Tam Dean Burn.

Meanwhile the festival will kick off on at 8.30pm on the 25th with The Amazing Johnathan Documentary wherein director Benjamin Berman films the comeback tour of magician-comedian “The Amazing Johnathan” who, given a year to live in 2014, retired from public life, only to find himself still alive three years later. With filming underway, Johnathan drops a bombshell which forces Berman to choose between giving up on the project, or embracing the unconventional possibilities it affords.

The festival will also feature the world premiere of Peter Kelly’s Journey to the Edge. Kelly’s film follows the journey of Galway businessman Enda O’Coineen, the first Irishman among an elite group of sailors aiming to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe as part of the arduous Vendée Globe Race. As O’Coineen sets out on the 50,000km, two-month-long race, his physical and psychological stamina is tested as he battles storms, failing equipment and himself. This world premiere screening will be followed by a Q&A with O’Coineen himself and director Peter Kelly.

Music fans may be interested in a showing of A Dog Called Money, Seamus Murphy look at the creative process of award-winning musician PJ Harvey. As ever, the festival will screen films which look at relevant social issues of our time, eye-opening looks at the world today including Push, directed by Fredrik Gertten, which examines the global commodification of housing through the eyes of Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing; Gods of Molenbeek which looks at the lives of two six-year-olds who live in the Brusselian district that has become synonymous with terrorist cells and social unrest; while Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche’s Advocate follows Lea Tsemel, an Israeli lawyer who has defended the human rights of Palestinian prisoners for five decades.

Short films are a key part of any good film festival schedule and this year’s DocFest is no slouch in that regard, the highly anticipated Irish shorts programme, where the audience award is supported by Screenscene, will return on the Saturday afternoon with films from a variety of Irish filmmakers.

Individual tickets for films at the festival cost €11.50, with a multi-film pass available of 5 festival films for €50. Tickets for The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, which includes a post-screening reception cost €15. Tickets for Best Before Death cost €18.

Check out the full schedule for the IFI Documentary Festival 2019 below:


8.30pm The Amazing Johnathan Documentary

6.15pm Advocate
8.20pm A Dog Called Money + Q&A

6.30pm Los Reyes
8.20pm Best Before Death + White Saviour Complex performance

1.30pm Irish Shorts Programme
2.10pm Gods of Molenbeek
3.40pm Citizen Europe + Q&A
3.50pm Talking About Trees
6.00pm Push + Panel discussion
8.30pm Heyday + Q&A

1.00pm Journey to the Edge + Q&A
3.10pm Taste of Cement + Q&A
3.20pm The Pit
5.30pm Cold Case Hammarskjöld
8.00pm Système K + Q&A

Luke Dunne
About me

Luke is a writer, film addict and Dublin native who loves how much there is for film fans in his home county. A former writer for FilmFixx and the Freakin' Awesome Network, he founded Film In Dublin to pursue his dual dreams of writing about film and never sleeping ever again.


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