BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS
BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS

As we have seen with the street protest following the election on Tuesday, the documentary BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS, directed by award winning filmmaker Brendan J Byrne, about one of the world’s most iconic citizen activists could not be more timely. The film will US premiere at DOC NYC 2016 in advance of its theatrical release beginning November 30 at the Film Forum.

The acclaimed feature documentary artfully explores the events surrounding the iconic Irish revolutionary (famously played by Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Hunger) as he leads his fellow inmates on a 66 day hunger strike that would forever change the course of Irish and English history.

At the height of the political tensions between England and Ireland, the imprisonment of Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands would change the course of history. In the spring of 1981, Sands lead a group of fellow inmates in a hunger strike to demand classification as political prisoners. The 66 days that Sands spent on strike would lead to his election to British Parliament, spark international conversation and action about the volatile conflict between England and Ireland, and eventually claim his life.

By the early 1980s, after two decades of violence and unrest, the situation in Northern Ireland took a sudden and profound turn inside the infamous Maze Prison. Seeking the right to be treated as political prisoners rather than common criminals, Irish Republicans led by Bobby Sands began a prison hunger strike that would draw international attention to the conflict. In the 66 days that he refused food, Sands would be elected to the British Parliament, put the Irish Republican struggle centre stage on the world news agenda, and pay the ultimate price for his political convictions. The film combines a powerful mosaic of archival materials, reconstructions and the illuminating accounts of former prisoners, commentators and key players in the drama. With Sands’s evocative prison diary at its core, the film brings fresh insight to an iconic figure who single-handedly created a transformative moment in Ireland’s history that had global aftershocks. HotDocs

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