Lights, Camera, Action! Fresh International Film Festival, RTÉ, and Screen Ireland roll out the red carpet for Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards 2024

by Aishling Conway
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Get ready to be dazzled as Fresh International Film Festival, in collaboration with RTÉ and Screen Ireland, presents the much-anticipated 2024 Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards (IYFTYs).

With the spotlight firmly on young cinematic talent, this year’s event promises a thrilling blend of creativity, inspiration, and a glimpse into the future of filmmaking.

Mark your calendars for Monday, April 29, from 7:00pm to 8:00pm, when the excitement takes centre stage on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player. Guiding us through the evening are the fabulous hosts; the multi-talented actor and comedian Faye Shortt alongside the vibrant Radio presenter Gemma Bradley. Their infectious energy and wit are sure to make this a fun night to remember, broadcast from the iconic Troy Studios in Limerick.

Faye Shortt, a Gaiety School of Acting and Bow Street Academy alum, has charmed audiences with her sketches co-created with her dad, Pat Shortt. Gemma Bradley has a talent for discovering the freshest new music on Radio Ulster, a songwriter in her own right with her distinctive brand of Pop RnB. This dynamic duo are set to bring their own brand of magic to the event, ensuring laughs, surprises, and unforgettable moments.

Jayne Foley, Artistic Director of Fresh Film, shared her excitement: We are thrilled for this year’s awards with the largest number of entries ever – an exciting indicator of Ireland’s booming film industry. Hosting our biggest awards show yet at Troy Studios in Limerick is so exciting. This marks just the start of an exciting journey for these young filmmakers, destined for a future filled with numerous accolades.”

Now in its 28th year, the IYFTY’s, part of the esteemed Fresh International Film Festival, continues to be a beacon for aspiring filmmakers worldwide. Notable alumni include Oscar-nominated director Vincent Lambe (Detainment), acclaimed Irish filmmaker Dónal Foreman, and comedian and TV personality Justine Stafford, among others.

Suzanne Kelly, Head of Children’s and Young People’s Content at RTÉ, shared her excitement about the event: “It’s back! One of my favourite events in the calendar year, the Fresh Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards, 2024. I continue to be so inspired & impressed by the quality of films and animated content emerging from Fresh every year and RTÉ are thrilled that we can play our part in supporting all of you on your creative journeys. Massive congratulations to all the nominees and everyone who took part this year.” 

This year, Fresh International Film Festival, generously supported by the Arts Council, received an overwhelming number of submissions from young filmmakers worldwide, reflecting the vibrant diversity and talent in young storytelling. From heartfelt dramas to thought-provoking documentaries, the shortlisted films offer a captivating journey through the lens of tomorrow’s storytellers. 

Fresh International Film Festival, and the IYFTY’s, encourage young people to explore filmmaking as a career, learning the art of visual storytelling, understanding the filmmaking process from first draft to final frame, and the sustainable career opportunities that exist both in front of and behind the camera, inspiring and building Ireland’s future film, television and digital talent-pool. The IYFTYs shortlist is a rich collection that showcases the imagination, creativity and skills of the world’s future storytellers, and interest in the festival from 82 countries is a reflection of Ireland’s ascendancy as a global hub for film, television, digital and creative industries.

Film highlights from the IYFTYs shortlist include;

Charlie made by St. James CBS, Liberties Dublin

This beautifully short film follows the journey of a resilient teenager named Charlie, grappling with adversity. Amidst the harsh realities of homelessness and family illness, this gripping film delves into the depths of struggle and resilience. However, at its core, it’s a testament to the indomitable human spirit, highlighting themes of survival and the power of friendship. 

Law and Order by St. Brigid’s Community College, Galway 

These Transition Year students worked in collaboration with An Garda Siochana on a mini criminal Investigation about a theft in a local chemist. The film highlights the presence of CCTV in our lives and the consequences of bad decision making at a young age. This film is almost like a docudrama in its realistic portrayal of the Justice system.

Ivy is a short film by Fiachra Cotter O’Culachain from Dublin

This coming-of-age film follows Hugh, a teen facing the struggles of life. Life for Hugh is pretty good, but it becomes that much better when he meets Ivy, the new girl next door. As he embarks on another summer of fun with his friends. Fantastic cinematography and performance from this young ensemble cast. 

Who Killed Cinema? By filmmaker Corey Talbot from Kildare

The Animated Saga presents an epic LEGO adventure, featuring a colourful array of characters from the film industry, all entangled in a mystery to uncover who’s behind the demise of cinema. With meticulous attention to detail, this 15-minute stop-motion comedy showcases a monumental effort to entertain and delight audiences.

Fighting For Home a short film by Sienna Graham, Dublin

An electrifying boxing documentary that intimately captures the journey of two teenage athletes as they strive to achieve greatness. With raw emotion and unwavering determination, the film delves into their dreams, struggles, and unyielding ambition to conquer the world of boxing. Through captivating storytelling, we are immersed in the adrenaline-fueled world of these young fighters, witnessing their trials, triumphs, and the unbreakable spirit that propels them forward towards their ultimate goal.

Devil May Care by Nora Twomey, Cork

May Casey, my great-grandmother had a secret political life which came to light from her

military pension application for her involvement in the Irish Civil War. Fantastic factual documentary with great reconstruction and a personal connection for the

filmmaker. Like ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ but better!

Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards encompass a diverse array of categories, including Best School, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay and many more, alongside specialist awards such as the Radharc Trust Award for documentaries, the new SPI, Most Sustainable Production Award, and the RTÉ Factual Award, along with the highly sought-after peer-to-peer Audience Award.

Fresh Film, Fresh International Film Festival and Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards are made possible with the generous support, investment and partnership of The Arts Council of Ireland, RTÉ, Screen Ireland, Omniplex Cinema Group, Limerick City and County Council, Coimisiún na Meán, Limerick & Clare Education & Training Board, Screen Producers Ireland, The Radharc Trust, Animation Ireland, Bow Street Academy, Troy Studios, IFCO and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

Don’t miss Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards 2024 airing on RTÉ 2 on Monday, April 29, at 7:00pm, and available on the RTÉ Player. For more information, visitwww.freshfilm.ie.

All shortlisted films can be viewed right now on the Fresh Film YouTube Channel

Viewer discretion is advised for younger audiences, and parents, guardians and teachers are encouraged to preview the films in advance or watch along with younger children.

Stay tuned for updates and further information at freshfilm.ie and omniplex.ie

Don’t miss out on the action!

Photo by Paul Kelly

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