Grateful Dead © Jim Marshall Photography LLC



In an era of fake news, the world needs

truthful documentary film more than ever

David Rane, festival director


Inspiring real life stories of everyday heroes defying the odds to fight for what they believe, dominate the programme in the 11th Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival.

The festival, which takes place in the magnificent grounds of Headfort House, outside Kells, Co Meath over the August Bank Holiday weekend (4-7 August), features 30 powerful films, including 15 Irish premieres, from five continents – and even one from deep space (The Farthest)!

Whether it’s a group of Syrian friends dodging sniper bullets as they march for liberation (The War Show), a Congolese policewoman tackling violence against women (Mama Colonel), surfers finding escape from battle-scarred Gaza (Gaza Surf Club) or an Iranian rap singer, continuing to perform under threat of death (When God Sleeps), all are united by their determination not to be silenced.

“ In an era of fake news, the world needs truthful documentary film more than ever. Many of our films invite audiences to walk in the shoes of  some extraordinarily courageous people in some of the most troubled parts of the world,” says festival director, David Rane.

Opening the festival is the utterly charming Chilean film, The Grown-Ups, about a group of middle-aged adults with Down Syndrome, who struggle to have greater autonomy over their lives.

Among the highlights of the weekend will be a special focus on Autism with three very different films, from the Oscar-nominated Life, Animated (US), Normal Autistic Film (Czech Republic) and Communion (Poland) casting a rare light on the thoughts and lives of young people with autism. Cornelia Suskind, mother of Owen, the Disney obsessed subject of Life, Animated will be at Guth Gafa to lead the discussion following the screenings.

Headlining the eclectic music programme is Long Strange Trip, a four-hour epic about legendary US rock band, The Grateful Dead, and WHITNEY ‘Can I Be Me’ the tragic story of the rise and fall of Whitney Houston, both getting the big screen, surround sound treatment.

An unmissable event will be the homecoming of School Life, the film made by festival founders, Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane, that premiered at Sundance in January, and returns to its setting of Headfort School. The film will be screened in the Adam Room, where some of the film’s most memorable scenes took place.

The menu also includes family-friendly films, (including the magnificent The Eagle Huntress) animations and children’s workshops as well as delicious food, a full bar and a festival club hosting live music acts on Saturday and Sunday nights.

“We have a great mix of films and entertainment for all ages. There really is something for everyone at Guth Gafa,” adds Rane.

See for full programme details and booking information.

Guth Gafa’s principal supporters include Meath County Council, The Arts Council, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, The Irish Film Board, Creative Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.