25 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Three Irish films selected for Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto
23 Mar 2016 : Seán Brosnan
Three Irish documentaries have been officially selected for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, taking place this year from April 28th - May 8th.

‘Bobby Sands: 66 Days’ and ‘Mattress Men’, both funded by the IFB, will have their world premiere at the festival which is the largest documentary film festival in North America. Irish co-production ‘The Land of the Enlightened’ (also funded by the IFB), which had its world premiere at Sundance and has since been nominated for an IFTA, will also screen at the festival.

Screening in the ‘Future Cult Classics' programme at Hot Docs, ‘Mattress Men’ is directed by Colm Quinn, produced by Ciaran Deeney and David Clarke and is the first feature length film from Dublin based independent production companies El Zorrero Films and Faction Films. Mattress Men tells the story of a struggling mattress businessman, sixty-something Michael Flynn who teams up with aspiring film maker Paul Kelly to reinvent himself as the eccentric online persona ‘Mattress Mick’. Through Paul’s zany videos and creative use of social media Mattress Mick quickly becomes an unlikely local celebrity. However as the business and Mick’s profile begins to grow, their friendship comes under increasing pressure. The film is due for release in Irish cinemas in Autumn 2016.

‘Bobby Sands: 66 Days’, directed by Brendan J Byrne, is a cinematic portrait of the Irish Republican's 66-day hunger strike. At seventeen, Bobby Sands was interested in girls, soccer and music. Ten years later he led a prison protest against the conditions in Northern Ireland's infamous H-Blocks that grabbed the attention of the whole world. On his death on May 5th 1981, parliaments across the world stopped for a minute's silence in his memory. ‘Bobby Sands: 66 Days’ is the story of his hunger strike in what became the epicentre of one of the most tense and defining moments of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Produced by Trevor Birney and Brendan J Byrne for Fine Point Films / Cyprus Avenue Films, the film funded by the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, BBC NI, BBC Storyville, SVT and DR will be released in Irish cinemas this summer by Wildcard Distribution.

Directed by Pieter-Jan De Pue, ‘The Land of the Enlightened’ was co-produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films. In the shadow of Bagram Airfield - the bastion of U.S. military might in Afghanistan - exists a wartime economy that is run and controlled entirely by children. Nomadic Kuchi youngsters dig out anti-personnel mines and sell them to the child workers of the lapis lazuli mines. They in turn blast the precious blue stones free from their ancient resting place, to be smuggled by child soldiers, who control their passage to China and Tajikistan. There, the stones are bartered for arms and opium, the very lifeblood of the Taliban in their war against the U.S. occupation. The film scooped the World Cinema Cinematography Award for a Documentary at Sundance in January.

North America's largest documentary festival, each year Hot Docs offers a selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.

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