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Bobby Sands: 66 Days

On March 1, 1981, Provisional IRA volunteer Bobby Sands began a hunger strike at HM Prison Maze in Northern Ireland as an act of defiance against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government with the words, "I am standing on the threshold of another trembling world. May God have mercy on my soul." Sixty six days later, he died as a result of his self-imposed starvation, aged 27, sparking riots and heated debate in the media. Documentary filmmaker Brendan J Byrne draws upon Sands' diary, penned during the first 17 days of the hunger strike, as well as the inmate's poems and letters to understand the psychology of a man who was willing to die for what he believed was his right to be recognised and treated as a political prisoner. The film combines archive footage and testimony from eye witnesses to piece together events over the 66 days, emboldened with vivid reconstructions and animated sequences.