Clare wins big at Ireland’s Young Filmmaker awards

Clare wins big at Ireland’s Young Filmmaker awards


Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2019 announced its Junior and Senior winners at the Fresh Film Festival 2019 in Limerick.

The competition, which received a record of more than 1,700 entries this year, announced the winners at the Odeon Castletroy.

Students from Clare who were part of the Sparks Film Group took home the title of Ireland’s Young Junior Filmmaker of the year 2019 for their short film ‘CAT-astrophe’, in which a strange cat is found and weird things begin to happen. Emma Sams, the group’s mentor from the Spark’s Film Festival in Clare spoke about their win, “Well it’s brilliant!

They put so much work into putting the film together. It came from a small festival held at the Scarriff public library in Scarriff, East Clare, called Spark’s Film Festival, which has been going for a few years. It’s a miniature version of Fresh Film Festival. These guys came and did some workshops during the week of the festival and put so much work and effort into putting the film together. It’s brilliant to see that they’ve been rewarded for all their hard work, thanks to Fresh Film Festival”.

At the Seniors, Oisin McKeogh, aged 18 from Killaloe in Clare was awarded with a Highly Commended for Direction for his film ‘Ode to a Dancer’, which follows the story of a girl who begins to question her dream of becoming a dancer.

Oisin previously won the Audience Award of the Limerick Heats of Fresh Film Festival for his film ‘The Secret Life’, a documentary about a girl struggling with her inner demons starring Rebecca Jones, aged 16 from Tipperary.

Speaking about receiving his honours, Oisin said, “I’m so happy that my film has won an award! I worked really hard and it really paid off. I would encourage anyone interested in film to enter next year as it’s a great opportunity and encourages young people to make films”.

Other films entered into the Senior Finals of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2019 from Clare filmmakers included ‘Falling’ by Mathew Tarpey and Allanah Brent, which is a spoken word meditation on unrequited love, ‘Instant Victory’ by Ruairí McMahon, which is a film created using random generators, ‘Plastic’ by Clare Youth Action, a film that highlights the issue of plastic in our oceans and the impact it has on the environment, ‘Shadows’ by Kelsey Porritt, Harvey O’Shea and Mathew Torpey, which follows a young man struggling with his mental health, and ‘Under the Sea’ by Aibhe Cannon which is an animated short about the effects of plastic on marine life.

14-year-old Sean Tracy from Ashford in Wicklow took home the title of Ireland’s Young Senior Filmmaker of the year 2019 for his short film ‘Rue’, a story about a boy who regrets his last words to his best friend. Speaking about his win, Sean said, “To win here today is an absolute honour, especially considering the quality of the films that were entered! I think this year’s films are the highest quality that Fresh Film has ever received. They were all absolutely outstanding and any of them could have placed first. I am really honoured and chuffed that it was this film that won. It’s one the actors and I worked really hard on, I couldn’t have done it without them, and they were amazing. I can’t thank Fresh Film Festival enough for organising the whole event, it was just fantastic!”

Vigga Wagner from Copenhagen in Denmark won the International Film Award for her film Bubblehead which follows a girl who lives a solitary life with her pet fish that meets a cute boy when she visits the pet shop after her goldfish dies.

Other entries received Highly Commended Awards on the day. In addition to the Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year awards, a number of specialist awards were presented for both the Juniors and the Seniors 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 Filmmaker of the Year is the highlight of Limerick’s Fresh Film Festival, which is now in its 23rd year. Other highlights of Fresh Film Festival 2019 include feature screenings and workshops including an Industry Master class with The National Youth Film School.

Fresh 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.

“Ireland’s Young Filmmaker has a very interesting approach,” says Jayne Foley, Director of Fresh Film Festival. “Storytelling is at the core,” she says, “because the budget is usually either low or non-existent, filmmakers have to be very inventive with plot and location.” 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, 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.”



Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.