Belfast Telegraph

Bobby Sands 66 Days 'one of Northern Ireland's biggest ever films'

The Bobby Sands Film 66 Days has become one of the most successful Northern Ireland films of all time.

Brendan J. Byrne’s critically acclaimed documentary sparked controversy on its release with an outcry that public funds had been used to produce the piece and that it was "one-sided".

The controversial film, which is based on the 1981 hunger strike, enjoyed the highest opening weekend viewing figures at the Irish box office for an Irish-made documentary.

More: Unionists outraged as public money used to fund film about Bobby Sands' IRA hunger strike

Now, however, it has surpassed all previous records to become Northern Ireland's biggest ever film raking in £110,000 at the box office surpassing Steve McQueen’s Hunger which starred Michael Fassbender and the Terri Hooley bio-pic Good Vibrations.

However, '66 Days' is expected to bring in even more as the film continues to draw audiences with reports of sold out screenings and new cinema openings.

More: Bobby Sands documentary has a vital piece missing...voice of the loyalist community

Director Brendan J. Byrne said: “This is simply fantastic news. This film has been dear to my heart and thus far, is certainly the pinnacle of my documentary making career.

"I knew it was very important subject matter and we hoped that it would attract audiences north and south.

"The sheer box office success of 66 Days, added to our critical acclaim, has been a little unexpected but very welcome for everyone on the production team. It just proves that people do love a good documentary and now that the box office for 66 Days has even surpassed two fiction films - both of which I admire hugely (Hunger and Good Vibrations), I hope we’ll see more documentaries in our local cinemas. Bobby Sands: 66 Days is just the first of a number of exciting feature documentaries from Fine Point Films due to premiere at major international film festivals in the next 12 months."

Jailed in 1977 for 14 years for his role in bombing a furniture store, Sands starved himself to death in a bid to gain political status in the Maze Prison.

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