Donegal and Sligo documentary is set to reach global audiences

An award-winning film that explores the coastline from North Donegal to Sligo through its coastal communities is set to be screened at the Big Blue Film Festival in Oregon this month.

‘Fair Seas: The Atlantic Northwest’ is one of 27 films chosen by the jury as a finalist for the ocean-themed event. In total, 155 films were submitted from 39 countries. The Fair Seas film will be screened during the opening session at Hatfield Marine Science Centre on Saturday, January 27th.

The judges said the “film blew us away and offered an incredible glimpse into the ocean and its people’s stories”.

The 14-minute film features the views, stories and insights of local communities along the Donegal and Sligo coast, who depend on the sea to make a living. It also explores how Marine Protected Areas might offer a new way to conserve the marine life that has supported these communities for generations.

Jack O’Donovan Trá, Fair Seas Communications Officer said, “It is an incredible achievement and an honour for our film and the stories of Ireland’s coastal communities to be chosen as one of 27 out of more than 150 productions from across the globe. It will be shown at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Centre, the home of a world-renowned marine laboratory and oceanography research base that is in operation for almost 60 years. The festival brings together marine sciences, humanities and the arts. It aims to engage the community and raise awareness about marine issues and how these issues might be solved.”

He added, “It is important for us to be able to listen to and tell the stories of coastal communities as we campaign to protect the vital resource that is our ocean. New national Marine Protected Area legislation is badly needed and must be progressed as soon as possible to ensure that biodiversity is properly protected. The new legislation will be key to safeguarding the livelihoods of coastal communities into the future and inform key planning decisions including offshore renewable energy.”

‘Fair Seas: The Atlantic Northwest’ was part funded by the Networking and Marine Research Communications Awards, funded by the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme with the support of the Irish Government.

It was produced by Swimming Head Productions, an award-winning team specialising in quick-fire documentaries with a focus on heritage, science and the natural world. The film won the Exceptional Merit award at the Documentaries Without Borders International Film Festival in October 2023.

The Fair Seas coalition has been campaigning for strong and ambitious legislation committing to effectively protecting 30% of the seas around Ireland by 2030, with 10% strictly protected. The group is calling for stakeholder engagement at every stage, clear delivery timeframes and a robust management framework, with targeted, site-specific measures to ensure MPAs deliver for nature.

Sign the petition calling for Ireland’s MPA legislation to be published without delay visit×30-ireland



More information about Marine Protected Areas and the areas of interest identified for designation as Marine Protected Areas by Fair Seas in Donegal and Sligo are available here:  

North Donegal Coast Area of Interest for Marine Protected Area Designation.

Donegal to Sligo Area of Interest for Marine Protected Area Designation.

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