In a remote picturesque village in North-west Ireland, The Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival (pronounced goo gafa meaning 'captured voices' in Gaelic) presents a unique event of films, filmmakers discussion forums and industry-oriented masterclasses.
Guth Gafa screens a wide selection of international documentary films (all of which are Irish premiers) and some of the best Irish language films made in Ireland over the last few years, with a special focus on films made in and about Donegal. A signature element of the festival is the attendance of all the directors who will take part in an in-depth post-screening discussion forum about their work. This has consistently been a highlights of past festivals, as visiting filmmakers and local audiences have had oppurtunities to question filmmakers, like triple-Emmy award-winner, Alan Berliner, about his work.
Guth Gafa and the The Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann annually host an international seminar for Irish documentary makers during each festival run.
Past seminars include 'Meet the Experts' which focused on marketing and distribution strategies for documentary films, with an aim to develop awareness among Irish producers and directors of the importance of documentary sales strategies, and of thinking of distribution from the inception of their projects. The Irish Film Board and Guth Gafa festival invited 3 experts in the field of international theatrical documentary and created an interactive experience for Irish filmmakers who participated in this event to meet at least two of the three experts for 40 minutes in groups of 10 people. Geoff Gilmore of the Sundance Film Festival was amongst the illustrious group of documentary experts.
Each festival will also include a masterclass with a guest director who will present a case study of one of his film projects, in which they will analyze how the film evolved from idea, through development to financing, production and distribution. They will look at the specific problems and challenges encountered when dealing with social documentaries, which would include access, obtaining the trust of subjects, dealing with the authorities, moral issues, point of view, balance vs didacticism, and show how their personal style and technique was used to overcome these problems. Awareness of the international documentary market for creative documentaries and international marketing and distribution will also be addressed.
The topic of the 2007 Masterclass was 'Directing Creative Documentaries with an Agenda for Social Change."
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