Guth Gafa Bites Back

An appeal from Festival Directors, David Rane and Neasa Ní Chianáin

Devastating news here at Team Guth Gafa – we lost our entire Arts Council grant – yes, a 100% cut after 8 years of continuous support.  This is a devastating blow for a small Festival like ours.  The Arts Council had become our biggest funder by 2014, and their funding represented nearly 20% of our total budget, and nearly 40% of all of our state aid. The reason given by The Arts Council was that we had moved location to Meath, which would raise questions on “the future development of the festival and cultural cinema provision in both Donegal and the Meath-Dublin region”.

My interpretation of this is that The Arts Council are saying that by moving to Kells, we will leave Donegal under-resourced and that County Meath doesn’t really need festivals like ours because they are serviced by Dublin.

Our decision to move the Festival to County Meath – on a trial basis last year, and this year on a permanent basis has been made very reluctantly.  We love Donegal and we loved running Guth Gafa there – first in Gortahork and later in Malin.  We have been consistently supported by Donegal film lovers but not by Donegal funders. Every year, for 8 years, we have had to reapply for a Council Arts grant, and our Arts grant has remained at around €3,000 for 8 years. Last year, we applied to local Inishowen County Councillors for funding and received nothing.  Our Failte Ireland North West grant was cut last year by 40%Twice in 8 years we have received Council tourism development grants, but there has been no long-term consistency in funding and sadly nothing from the Council to give us the impression that Donegal welcomed us as a first-class international flagship event for the County.

We are going to fight back.  And this is how we will do it.  We will make our 9th Guth Gafa Festival, our very best ever, and over the next few months, we are going to a) challeneg this decision of the Arts Council, b) raise the money cut by the Arts Council from other sources, and c) raise the Guth Gafa profile so that people know we are one of the best small festivals in Ireland.

There will be a 9th Guth Gafa Festival in October this year and it will be in Kells, County Meath.  Help us make it happen.

L  In 2014, we ran Guth Gafa in two locations on our lowest budget ever – lower even than our year one budget back in 2006.  Our Festival team all work on minimum wage, and, in last year’s case, many of us worked on no wage at all.  At the same time, in 8 years we have built a world-class event with visiting international directors consistently saying that Guth Gafa is “one of the best documentary Festivals in the world”.

We need your help to SAVE GUTH GAFA.  Guth Gafa is your Festival, and what we have been doing so well for 8 years is showing the very best international and Irish documentaries, and bringing their directors to Ireland, to discuss the films, and the issues in the films that are of local and global importance.

So, where do we start?

We are taking part in a series of