If You Build It They Will Come

If you build it they will come could be the motto of the Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival, which is building not one but seven cinemas in two locations over the next two weekends.

Venues as diverse as a hotel ballroom, an old coach-house, a GAA hall, a disused courthouse and the highly ornate eating parlour of a former country mansion are being transformed into state-of-the-art picture houses to showcase award-winning documentary films from around the world.

Kicking off tomorrow, Saturday in Malin, Co Donegal, over 30 documentary films will be screened in four pop ups over two days and then Guth Gafa ups sticks and relocates to Headfort House near Kells, Co Meath to do it all over again over Halloween weekend.

It’s all part of the Guth Gafa (meaning ‘captive voice’) mission to bring world-class documentaries to rural locations, explains festival director, David Rane.

“We select award-winning films from all the major international film festivals. What we look for is great story-telling but also films that address human rights and environmental issues and we invite all the directors to come,” he added.

Expect a heart-stopping real-life thriller in Virunga, set in the Africa’s oldest national park as rangers risk their lives to save the last mountain gorillas.

 Be transported inside a war-torn Syria in the Sundance winning Return to Homs, an intimate portrayal of a group of present day young revolutionaries who turn to violence:

Witness wisdom beyond her years in Georgiana, a 15- year- old Romanian girl who assumes sole parental responsibility for her six siblings while her mother works in Italy in Waiting for August.

The laughs, when they come, are from the most unexpected places like in Ne me Quitte Pas, a gentle, nonjudgemental, portrayal of two alcoholics

And in a salute to Halloween, Doc of the Dead, delving deep into the zombie genre, will be screened close to midnight on Halloween night in the grounds of Headfort House, which has more than few ghostly tales of its own to tell.

Guth Gafa takes place in Malin, Co Donegal THIS weekend October 25-26 and Headfort House, Kells, Co Meath November 1-2.