Clare finalists in Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year

Clare finalists in Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year


Photo: Dermot Culhane

Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2020 moved one-step closer to crowning its winners by announcing some of its finalists recently.

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 Belguim, 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.

Among the finalists was 18-year-old filmmaker Oisin McKeogh from Killaloe, Co. Clare with his film ‘Midsummer Beauty’ starring Rebecca Jones, 18 also from Killaloe and Devlin Staunton, 18, from Ballina. The film is about a teenage girl named Luna who struggles with a crush on her best friend.

Audience Awards were announced following each regional screening, and Oisin was announced as the winner of the Audience Award for the Limerick Heat for ‘Midsummer Beauty’.

Oisin described being at the heats as “exciting”, added, “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.”

Another film through to the finals from Clare was ‘Ali’s Story’ by 16 year olds Alisina Hussain, Jack Grace, Kian Donnelly, Cathal O’Donnell of St. Anne’s Film Club in Killaloe about Alisina’s journey from Afghanistan to Killaloe, Co. Clare. The film explores how sport has helped him overcome challenges, make new friends and learn a new language.

Oisin McKeogh from Killaloe

Also through was ‘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.

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 the 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.

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. Further details are available from