INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PLANSRETURN TO DONEGAL in 2020
Disappear Here International FilmFestival
September 25th-27th, Ballyliffin, CoDonegal.
COVID-19 has presented a challenge tothe arts like never before, with events been pushed back into 2021 or shelvedindefinitely. TheDisappear Here Film Festival has become an increasingly popular feature on thefestival circuit over the last three years and plans are still in place for itsreturn to Ballyliffin in just 10 weeks’ time. The 3-day event is pencilled infor 25th-27th September and once again the organisers plan to celebrateindependent film-making from all corners of the country, and across the globe.Last year’s highlights included the award-winning documentaries ‘For Sama’, and‘Gaza’, and Irish homegrown comedy was well represented with the supernaturalhit ‘Extra Ordinary’. Leading casting director Maureen Hughes ran her very firstDonegal casting workshop, plus she held a series of auditions to find a leadrole in an upcoming feature film.
Festival Director Michael McLaughlinsays that just as the event was beginning to find its place on the nationalcircuit, the dire landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic has made holdingin-person festivals a completely different proposition.
“Our options are to proceed, postponeor cancel, and at the moment a fantastic amount of work is going on in thebackground to make Disappear Here Film Festival 2020 a reality. We are stilltrying to figure out the changed environment that we must work within, and anysolution will have to be considered within HSE guidelines in September. We haveexplored a number of options including bringing the entire event online, butissues around software, screening rights and our core festival audience profilemakes that an unattractive option. Local film enthusiasts have always been thebeating heart of Disappear Here and we want to do our very best to still givethem an opportunity to have that collective audience experience we all lovewhen watching great films in a darkened room. We will however facilitate anumber of online masterclasses, to run concurrently, that will be of benefit tothose interested in producing, directing or writing.”
In order to adhere to the Irishgovernment’s rules on public gatherings in phase 4, the film festival will haveto run at a significantly smaller capacity, and will have some fundamentalchanges in how the event is operated.
“It’s now obvious that our bigopening night film in a 250-person auditorium will have to be scaled backconsiderably” says Michael. “Our capacity will be cut by two thirds, and themaximum that we can now accommodate with the correct distancing in place is 75persons per programme of films. In order to ensure the safety of our audience,volunteers, and venue staff we will have new rules on entering and exiting thescreening room. Entry will be by on-line booking only, and our audience will beable to choose their own “PICTURE PODS’ which seat between 1 and 4 persons,ensuring family members can still sit together. Sanitation will be a priorityfollowing each individual screening.
Finally, Michael believes that a first-classevent can still be salvaged from the wreckage of COVID-19, and he is asking forpeople to come along and support the event in September.
“Obviously a big part of our festivalwas the industry networking, the post screening Q&A’s and the conversationsin the bar afterwards. Even though these elements have been scaled back, let’snot forget the most compelling and rewarding aspect of any successful filmfestival, …the work itself. This September we are going to give you a uniqueopportunity to see world premieres, exceptional short films, andthought-provoking documentaries right here in Donegal ...and now all we need inreturn is you our loyal audience, to come and join us.”
Full programme details will bereleased in early September, and films are still being accepted on thesubmission platform Filmfreeway via the website at
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For additional details please contactFestival Director, Michael McLaughlin.
Mobile : 086 6071424