The festival’s Marketplace will host a packed programme of presentations, case studies and discussions, providing a comprehensive overview of the region’s documentary ecosystem.

Set to run from 18-23 June, this year’s edition of Docs Ireland will shine a spotlight on the Nordic countries. The Northern Irish event offers a rich programme of Irish and international documentaries to the local audience, and provides a unique networking and collaboration platform through its two-day Marketplace, unspooling from 21 to 22 June.

Based in Belfast, the festival “sits in an interesting location”, Head of Industry Roisín Geraghty and programmer Stuart Sloan tell NFTFV, attracting non-fiction professionals from the whole Emerald Isle along with a growing number of foreign attendees. This year, 35 international delegates are expected to visit the Ulster capital, including funders, sales agents, festivals, broadcasters, distributors and exhibitors “taking part in various talks, juries and events”, and repping Nordic and global players such as Autlook, BBC, Dogwoof, Cinetic, Film Harbour, DR Sales, Lightdox, Java Films, Wildcard Distribution, and Cat&Docs, Sundance, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo, among others.

“Primarily, we aim to support more collaboration efforts and foster some co-production opportunities between Ireland and the Nordic region,” Geraghty and Sloan explain. Docs Ireland recently collaborated with Helsinki’s DocPoint on a curated focus on Irish creative documentary, held at the Finnish festival from 30 January-4 February.

“The curated focus has been very successful. It was so inspiring to see how the industry works there, and we wanted to expand on that.”

On 21 June, the Marketplace will host a series of presentations, case studies and discussions providing “a fulsome insight into the ecosystem surrounding the Nordic documentary community”. Confirmed speakers include SVT Commissioning Editor Charlotte Gry Madsen, Finnish Film Foundation International Promotion and Cultural Export of Documentary Films Advisor Anni Asikainen, Swedish Film Institute Festival Manager Sara Rüster, and Nordisk Panorama Head of Industry Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen. Documentary Association of Europe’s Brigid O’Shea will moderate the morning sessions.

Finally, three Finnish documentaries will be screened – Virpi Suutari’s CPH:DOX-bound Once Upon a Time in a Forest (Havumetsän lapset), Anssi Kömi and Suvi West’s Sámi tale Homecoming (Máhccan), and Pirjo Honkasalo’s 2004 classic The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (Melancholian 3 huonetta). “We’ve wanted to screen Honkasalo’s work for a number of years. It’s just one of the most memorable films I’ve ever watched, with probably the best camera work I’ve ever seen in a documentary,” Sloan underscores.

Docs Ireland is supported by Northern Ireland Screen through the Department for Communities, Belfast City Council, Screen Ireland and British Film Institute/Film Hub NI, and is sponsored by TG4, BBC Northern Ireland and Yellowmoon.