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PHOTOS: Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020 announces Limerick Finalists

Limerick Finalists Jane Hartnett, 14 (bottom row far left) and teacher Norma Lowney (standing far right) with students from the Limerick Educate Together National School pictured at the Belltable for the Limerick Heats of Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick

PHOTOS: Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020 announces Limerick Finalists

Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020 moved one step closer to crowning its winners by announcing some of its Limerick finalists on Friday, March 6. The competition, which received a record of over 1,700 entries this year, announced which short films would move on to the finals at the Limerick Munster regional heats, which took place at the Belltable Arts Centre. Films by young filmmakers from Belgium, Denmark, and the United States were also screened as part of Fresh International Film Festival’s International category. Films screened at the Limerick Munster regional heats included films from Clare and Limerick.

Three Limerick filmmakers who each made music videos made it through to the final including ‘You’ by Shane Joyce aged 18, which is a music video shot for an amazing up and coming singer-songwriter friend Eve Montgomery who said, “The song and the video are about the feelings you can have looking back on a relationship. Reminiscing in both the good times and the bad.”


 Limerick Finalists

Luke Culhane,17 is a finalist for “Blue Lights’ which is a music video with Limerick rap artist Owen Alfred. Picture: Dermot Culhane

Next up is ‘Blue Lights’ by Luke Culhane aged 17, which is a music video with Limerick rap artist Owen Alfred on his latest single. Luke said, “It took over 3 days of shooting and long nights to get the shots we wanted but overall I think we both knew we had something special. The fact that everything was shot in Limerick in six locations makes the video so much better. I hope this video helps promote the hip hop scene in Limerick and encourages more hip hop artists in Limerick to release their own music and be proud of where they come from.”

‘Falling Slowly’ by Jane Hartnett, 14  who is in second year at Limerick Educate Together, is a creative animation responding to and echoing one of the key issues among young people in Ireland today, mental health. The film is a sensitive visual response to the beautiful lyrics and music of Glen Hansard and Czech Markéta Irglová’s Oscar-winning song. Janes’s second-year teacher Norma Lowney tells, “I had the honour of performing the song live performed live with musician Ger O’Donnell at the Limerick Educate Together annual winter concert, which was held in UCH last December and Jane created this animation, especially for the performance. Interestingly I got in touch with Glen Hansard through his management team and he sent her a message admiring her work!” As Jane’s animated music video is through to the final this means the possibility of winning this year’s Boulder Media Animation Award.

Other films by young filmmakers through to the final include ‘In The Future’ by St. Anne’s Film Club TY year film class inspired by the work done by Greta Thunberg on the climate crisis and ‘Bloody Mary’ by the Sparks group about a silly game sends people into a scary world who have to work out how to escape.

Audience Awards were announced following each regional screening and Oisin McKeogh from Killaloe, Co. Clare was announced as the winner of the Audience Award for the Limerick Heat for his film ‘Midsummer Beauty’. The film is about a teenage girl named Luna who struggles with a crush on her best friend.

Oisin described being at the heats as “exciting”, saying, “it’s my fifth year entering Fresh International Film Festival and winning the Audience Award and being recognised by your peers is the ultimate compliment. I have grown as a person and a filmmaker with this Festival. I am always so excited to see my films on the big screen and I am honoured to have made it through to the finals surrounded by such a talented group of filmmakers.”

Films shortlisted for the final will be screened at Fresh International Film Festival 2020 in Limerick from March 23 to 28 and Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards will be presented on March 25 for the Junior category and March 26 for the Senior category. Other highlights of Fresh International Film Festival 2020 include feature screenings and workshops including a Careers in Screen workshop with industry professionals. Limerick Finalists Limerick Finalists Limerick Finalists

Limerick Finalists

Oisin McKeogh, 18, from Killaloe, won the Audience Award for his film ‘Midsummer Beauty’ pictured at the Belltable with actresses Devlin Staunton, Ballina and Rebecca Jones, Killaloe for the Limerick Munster Heats of Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020. Picture: Beth Pym/ilovelimerick

Now in its 24th year, Fresh International Film Festival encourages young people from Ireland and overseas, aged 7 to 18 years, to create, exhibit and share films. The festival provides an opportunity for these young filmmakers to have their work seen on a cinema screen for the first time and to compete for the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year. All films submitted are also considered for a range of Specialist Awards including the Radharc Trust Award (documentary), the Boulder Media Animation Award, the RTE 60 Second Short Film Award and the RTE Factual Award, in addition to the International and Audience awards.

Ireland’s Young Filmmakers have a very interesting approach,” says Jayne Foley, Director of Fresh International Film Festival. “Storytelling is at the core,” she says, “because the budget is usually either low or non-existent, film-makers have to be very inventive with plot and location.” This year the festival received over 1750 films into its three categories Junior, Senior and International. Jayne adds, “The festival is a forum where young film-makers can meet each other. Even at that stage networking is important. You may end up meeting the same people again later in your career. As advocates of young filmmaking, we also try to showcase films abroad. We’ve brought Irish films and young filmmakers to Korea, Palestine, Austria, Germany, and Edinburgh. This year we are excited to have a number of International young filmmakers coming to Fresh and sharing their filmmaking experience with us.”

Fresh International Film Festival encourages young people to make films by hosting an annual international film festival for young people, presenting Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards, acting as an advocate for young filmmakers and promoting their work worldwide.  Fresh Film runs a number of initiatives throughout the year, including a Hothouse programme designed to bring young people of different ages and diverse backgrounds together to share their film experiences and create new collaborative work, as well as distributing Irish films made by young people to festivals all over the world.  The Arts Council of Ireland, Limerick City and County Council and RTE Supporting the Arts support the Fresh International Film Festival.

Pictures: Anthony Sheehan and Beth Pym/ilovelimerick


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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.