Sinn Fein MLA Michelle Gildernew has revealed that Dungannon Omniplex is showing contentious documentary ‘Bobby Sands: 66 Days’ for one week from Friday, August 12.
The movie, by award winning documentary film maker Brendan J Byrne, shows the days leading up to the 27-year-old’s death in the Maze prison on May 5, 1981.
A review in the Guardian described it as “an important, even-handed documentary”, while the Telegraph dubbed it “a searing, indelible portrait of martyrdom” and said it “could be accused of mythologising its subject”.
In a message to her online followers, the former Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said: “I’m delighted to announce that after discussions with Dungannon Omniplex they have agreed to include a screening of ‘66 Days’. Starts this Friday, 12th August at 8pm for one week at this stage.
“Although I was only 10 when the Hunger Strike started it had a major impact on me and my siblings and I can honestly say it changed my life. This film is a must see, and I’ve been inundated with enquiries about it so booking is advisable.” Since its release on August 5, the movie - which promises to give fresh insight in the man that “became an icon for a world... that knows little about him” - has broken Irish box office records.
In its opening weekend it took over €50,000 at 25 cinemas, but the furore around it hasn’t been all good.
The Fermanagh South Tyrone MP - a role to which Sands was famously elected in 1981 - said a decision to show the movie in Enniskillen was “in bad taste”.
Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott has also criticised Northern Ireland Screen and the BBC for helping fund the project.
“For those organisations to be give significant amounts of money, I think it’s disgraceful,” he said. “There is an effort to make out that Bobby Sands was some sort of great person, whereas he was just an IRA terrorist and a criminal.”
The BBC said: “We have contributed to the costs of this programme, a version of which will be broadcast on BBC television at a later date.
“We seek to reflect the differing views and experiences of local communities across our output.”