Northern Ireland news

Bobby Sands documentary to hit screens this summer

A new documentary film about Bobby Sands's hunger strike is expected to be released in Irish cinemas this summer
John Monaghan

A NEW documentary about Bobby Sands is to be screened in cinemas this summer.

Bobby Sands: 66 Days, produced by Belfast director Brendan J Byrne, is to be premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto in May.

The 100-minute long documentary will have its first screening days before the 35th anniversary of Sands’s death on May 5 1981.

The film uses eyewitness testimony, unseen archive, reconstructions and animation to chart his story, while narration is comprised of Sands’s own words, taken from his diary of the hunger strike.

Wildcard Distribution has acquired the content rights for Ireland and a cinema release date, due for the summer, is expected to be announced soon.

Mr Byrne said: “Bobby Sands and the 1981 hunger strike is one of the few stories from the Northern Ireland conflict whose myriad threads weave together to give us the bigger picture, and I was intrigued to explore the life of someone who was prepared to die for their beliefs.”

IRA prisoner Sands has been the subject of dozens of films and documentaries, with ‘Hunger’, released in 2008 and featuring Hollywood star Michael Fassbender in the role of Sands, the most high-profile screening of recent years.

Hot Docs is the largest documentary film festival in the US and Canada and according to the Irish Film Board offers films to “Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.”

The film has been produced by Trevor Birney and Brendan J Byrne for Fine Point Films/Cyprus Avenue Films, with the Oscar winning filmmaker Alex Gibney employed as a consulting producer.

The film has been funded by a range of agencies including the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Northern Ireland.

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