Illness and dying are not easy subjects but in the hands of expert filmmakers, the result can be uplifting stories that celebrate life.

At this week’s Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival , Headfort House, Kells, Co Meath, we are proud to present a special selection of films that celebrate life and deal with the challenges people face when confronted with serious illness.

Filmmaker, Sylvain Biegeleisen rushes to the bedside of his 94-yea- old mother who is dying to spend her final days with her, playing the guitar, singing, laughing and  reminiscing in Twilight of a Life , a beautiful meditation on living and dying.

Meanwhile filmmaker, Amy Hardie spent a year in a hospice in Scotland filming patients who are confronted with a serious or terminal illness diagnosis. Through song, staff and patients find a way to transcend the sadness and the courage to go on.

Both Sylvain and Amy will be at the festival and involved in workshops over the weekend.

In the touching I’m Not From Here, Basque born Josebe, can vividly recall her early days in Spain but has little memory of the 70 years she has lived in Santiago, Chile where she is now in a nursing home.

In the beautiful The Edge of Dreaming,  part of our Best of Guth Gafa selection, filmmaker, Dr Amy Hardie dreams her horse dies and wakes to find it dead. She then dreams of her own demise and when she subsequently falls ill, she believes her days are numbered. But there’s a twist.

In our Virtual Reality strand, the short film Waves of Grace features Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who is using her immunity to care for orphan children in her Liberian village.