“First Cut!” is a Youth Film Festival

17 April 2021
By Elaine Murphy


First Cut! Youth Film Festival returns for its 12th edition this year, running from 17 April – 9 May 2021. For 2021, the festival moves online, with the support of their Digital Partner, Cork International Film Festival, offering an imaginative, thought-provoking and entertaining programme for young people aged 12-24yrs. Audiences from all over Ireland, and from abroad, are invited to join us virtually for a completely free programme of events including; Open Call Short Film and Feature Film Screenings, Workshops, Panel Discussions with some of the leading filmmakers in Ireland, a host of Special Guest appearances and more.

The festival is thrilled to announce acclaimed director and filmmaker Shaun O’Connor joins First Cut! as the 2021 special guest. Shaun’s most recent short film, A White Horse, is long-listed for an Academy Award this year and will be screened at this year’s festival along with his other renowned short film Mary. The screenings will be followed by an in-depth Q&A with the director. Also joining us to officially open the festival on 17 April, is actress Ayoola Smart who grew up in Schull, Co Cork. Ayoola has gone from strength to strength in her career, featuring in Juliet, Naked and BBC’s Killing Eve and most recently, as Cathy in RTÉ’s Smother.

Since 2019, First Cut! has enjoyed a partnership with Cork International Film Festival who generously present an award and specially curated screening of shorts selected from their own Festival programmes. This year the partnership has expanded, with Cork International Film Festival onboard as the official Digital Partner, powering First Cut! virtually by hosting the festival on their acclaimed Digital Festival Platform. Senior Programmer at Cork International Film Festival, Don O’Mahony, will also moderate a panel discussion featuring filmmakers from the Cork International Film Festival Programme at First Cut!.

A series of fantastic short and feature-length films make up the Film Programme at First Cut!, including work from; the First Cut Youth Film Festival 2021 Open Call, Cork Young Filmmakers who hosted an impressive set of workshops online with groups of young people from throughout the county, All About Animation!, a combined workshop and screening programme supported by Youghal Credit Union and Midleton Arts Festival, The Curious Case of the Missing Shandon Bell by Kabin Studio, John McGrath: My Life in the Clocktower by students from Pobalscoil na Trionóide, and screenings of shorts films by the Focus on Women in Film panel directors and more.

The very special Closing Event is a screening of the stunning Oscar and BAFTA-nominated animated feature film Wolfwalkers. This magical feature from legendary animation studio Cartoon Saloon has been widely hailed as an instant classic. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, and screenwriter Will Collins. This insightful conversation will be moderated by Niamh Herrity, CEO & Head of Production at Pink Kong Animation Studios.

Among the Panel Talks and remarkable speakers lined up for First Cut! 2021 are; A Focus on Women in Film with Ayla Amano, Megan K. Fox, and Bonnie Dempsey, hosted by Linda Curtin, and Getting Started in TV with Cúán Mac Conghail, Ciara Hyland, Ray Cuddihy, and Bonnie Dempsey, hosted by Anne-Marie Green.

First Cut! offers an impressive programme of Workshops and Masterclasses that aim to encourage creativity and skills training in a fun and supportive environment. The workshops are open to any young person interested in filmmaking, first-time filmmakers and established directors are welcome. Upcoming workshops include: Collage & Stop Motion Workshop with Ann Upton, Puppetry for Film and Television Workshop with Dominic Moore, Screenwriting Masterclass with Will Collins (of Cartoon Saloon) and Stormtroopers: A SPX Workshop with Micheál Fitzgerald. Creating New Stories from the Past: An Archive Footage & Smartphone Filmmaking Workshop, is a special event presented in collaboration with the Make Film History project. In the sessions, award winning filmmaker Tadgh O’Sullivan will lead a workshop on the creative use of archive film, followed by a mobile phone filmmaking and editing session with Póca Productions. In the lead up to the festival, First Cut! presented two sold-out workshops; My World in Motion Animation Workshops with Belinda Walsh and Ilse De Ziah from Midleton Arts Festival, and Get Into Filmmaking – A Film Basics Workshop with Cork Film Centre.

An annual highlight of First Cut! Youth Film Festival is the YMVC – Youth Music Video Competition. Since 2016, First Cut! has been partnering with cutting edge production company Feel Good Lost to give young emerging filmmakers based in Ireland the opportunity to create music videos under the mentorship of noted director Brendan Canty, filmmaker Lochlainn Mc Kenna and other recognised industry professionals. With each year, the competition has gone from strength to strength. Covid-19 restrictions have led to YMVC 2021 being moved later into the year. The emerging filmmakers who will be taking part in this acclaimed scheme are: Josh Meany, Anna Heisterkamp, Aisling O’Regan Sargent, Darragh Scott & Emma Murphy and Robert Bass & Eoin Byrne. Past YMVC filmmakers have been matched with renowned artists such as All Tvvins, CMAT, Laoise, Junior Brother, Ye Vagabonds and Pillow Queens.⁣

“We received a record number of films from near and far this year despite Covid 19. With this festival we are creating an important space, needed now more than ever – a space for proudly showcasing talent; a place of encouragement where young filmmakers, who are on a creative journey, are centre stage. For a lot of these young people, filmmaking is the only thing they are interested in doing. First Cut! 2021 sets out to be a positive, inspiring, engaging and fun experience. We have put together in this programme all these elements, which we hope you will enjoy.”

said Mary Mc Grath, Festival Director.

First Cut! Youth Film Festival is funded by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Cork County Council Arts Office. The Festival is supported by Cork International Film Festival (Digital Partner), Cork Film Centre, Youghal Credit Union, Cork ETB, National Network for Young Filmmakers & Animators, and local business sponsors.

For further information visit www.firstcutfilmfestival.com/programme/the-programme-at-a-glance

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