Clare entrants in finals of filmmakers awards

Pictured are Clare finalists Tara Lowth, 16, from Killaloe, Ballina, Co Clare and Asha Murray Bennett, 18, from Shannon, Co. Clare – Photo: Dermot Culhane

Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2021 moved one-step closer to crowning its winners by announcing its finalists.

The competition, which received a record number of  entries this year, announced which short films would move on to the finals at the Limerick Munster regional heats.

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Among the finalists was 18-year-old filmmaker Asha Murray Bennett from Shannon, Co. Clare with her film ‘Toothbrush Connoisseur’.

Asha described her film saying, “The film is about someone collecting toothbrushes in unhygienic places, out of gutters or outside toilets or another instance is taking the toothbrush out of a dogs mouth and brushing the tooth brush through her teeth, with the end result of making the audience feel uncomfortable and to evoke feelings of discomfort when watching it.”

When asked how Asha overcame the difficulties of COVID-19 and how she dealt with she said, “The Toothbrush Connoisseur’ came about because of COVID, so I was thinking about hygiene a lot and keeping my distance from people, so the film was mainly about COVID and discomfort, I was going into shops taking off my mask and taking the toothbrush off the shelves and opening the pack and putting it back and walking away, COVID instead actually helped to fuel a couple of ideas.”

She commented about what Fresh Film meant to her saying, “I began my Fresh Film journey years ago, in 2016 and I won a Highly Commended Award for my film ‘Keeping Up with the Alliteration’ which was a parody on the Kardashians, so I stopped making films for a year or two after that, with the added responsibility of school and other things, but now I’m back and now I’m focused on making movies again.”

“I want to be a filmmaker and an artist, so hopefully through making these films I get to manifest my ideas, writing and concepts through movies, ” she added.

Another film through to the finals from Clare was ‘In the Mirror’ by 16 year Tara Lowth who attends St. Anne’s Community College and is from Killaloe, Ballina, Co Clare. Tara said, “The film explores how social media is shaping young people into materialism and leads to them not accepting themselves which deteriorates young people’s mental health The film was challenging to make during COVID because our group couldn’t get together to work and we had to work on our own at home and it was hard to edit but in the end we pulled through.”

Other films through to the finals include ‘How to get away with Mooder’ by Scariff Community College TY students about a group of students come up with ingenious ways to cover up “a bit of an accident” and ‘Crystal Horror’  by ALFA Juniors, Raheen Wood Steiner Secondary School in Clare about three boys alone in school who start a ritual ceremony with dangerous consequences.

All the films shortlisted for the final will be screened at Fresh International Film Festival 2021 which takes place online this year from Monday, March 22 to Sunday, March 28 and features an alumni showcase and a week of film screenings and workshops with the Junior Finals taking place on Thursday, March 25 and the Seniors Finals on Friday, March 26 via a YouTube live stream with presenter and documentary filmmaker Stephen Byrne and comedian and social creative Justine Stafford hosting this year’s awards.

Jayne Foley, Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Film said, “The films entered this year in the Festival are a glimpse into how young people in Ireland are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. Films are a powerful form of expression and an effective way to educate, create awareness, improve understanding and encourage action. Lockdowns during the pandemic have forced young people to come to terms with a new way of living life. What surprised me about this year’s crop films was how positive the films were and how resourceful young people can be. This year’s Festival is introducing the world to a new generation of young film innovators highlighting how they are living and coping with global health issues.”

About Fresh Film:

Fresh Film 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.

All has changed in the world of film festivals post-Covid-19, and Fresh International Film Festival (March 22-28) is going digital for the second year running as it celebrates its 25th anniversary of giving young filmmakers a platform to shine. Fresh Film encourages young people to make films by hosting the annual Festival, which invites young people from Ireland and overseas, aged 7 to 18 years, to create, exhibit and share films and compete for Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year. All films submitted are also considered for a range of Specialist Awards. See for more info.


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