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Cinemagic Film Festival in Los Angeles Hailed as a Great Success!

Posted on 29th March 2018 | Cinemagic News

Cinemagic young ambassadors from Northern Ireland had an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience working with peers and film industry experts; the Cinemagic Gala showcase event profiled young film-making talent; and a private screening of Cinemagic’s new feature film GRACE AND GOLIATH for Los Angeles-based industry representatives was incredibly well received. These were just a few of the highlights of the action-packed ten-day Festival.

Cinemagic, which is an award-winning Belfast-based charity, is the largest film and television festival designed for and by young people in the UK and Ireland.  Each year over 40,000 young people (aged 4-25) in Belfast, Dublin, London, France (Castres), New York and Los Angeles participate in Cinemagic events. 

A group of nine young Cinemagic ambassadors from Northern Ireland* travelled to Los Angeles to take part in the Festival. The aspiring local filmmakers joined forces with young people from Hamilton High School (Castle Heights), New Roads High School (Santa Monica) and Jordan High School (Watts) in Los Angeles. They participated in an exciting, jam-packed programme of masterclasses, studio tours, screenings, presentations and film camps interacting with representatives from the world’s biggest film and television studios.

These included FOX, HBO, Sony, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, New York Film Academy, Jim Henson Company, Remote Control Studios, Ross King MBE (a Cinemagic LA board member), director James Foley, award-winning producer Francis O’Toole, American actor Robert Picardio (STAR TREK), Lance O’Connor, Cinemagic LA board member and Executive Producer and CEO of Minted Content.

Niamh McLaughlin (20) from Cookstown, one of the Cinemagic’s ambassadors who has an interest in directing and producing, discusses her experience of the Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles:

“From day one our schedule was jam-packed but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Each day we had industry professionals giving masterclasses all across Los Angeles and each one welcomed our questions with positivity, opportunity and gratitude. For me, Cinemagic has completely broken down the looming barriers that stop young people transitioning from education into the working world. Something that I took away from the experience is that positivity and passion will take you far in life, regardless of what you do. I am extremely grateful to Cinemagic and the opportunities they have created for me, and I look forward to working with them again in the future.”

The young people from Northern Ireland and Los Angeles also collaborated in a unique project to produce a piece of musical theatre. They performed and showcased this to an audience of over 350 celebrities, film and music industry executives at the annual Cinemagic Los Angeles Showcase event in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

The gala event to celebrate young filmmaking talent was hosted by Ross King MBE, a Cinemagic LA board member. It included a special preview screening of Cinemagic’s new short film SASHA OF THE SEA, an inspiring story of teenage bravery, love, growing up and friendship.  Audiences at the Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles also had a sneak preview screening of a behind the scenes short film documentary linked to Cinemagic’s second feature film, GRACE AND GOLIATH.  Entitled TRAINEE FILMMAKERS, the short film recently won a platinum award at the World Documentary Awards in Bali.

Another show stopping moment was the private screening event of Cinemagic’s new film GRACE AND GOLIATH to industry representatives.  The GRACE AND GOLIATH film offered 48 aspiring young filmmakers, aged from 17 to 25 from Los Angeles and Northern Ireland, the unique opportunity to get involved in an invaluable six-week training programme across disciplines such as directing, production, costume and make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. It is the only project of its kind that brings together young people from LA and Northern Ireland to work with industry professionals to make a feature film. Amongst the guests were Jennifer Morrison the lead actress from the hit tv show Once Upon A Time and House along with Ross King (Tv Host), Ed Begley JR. (Actor) and Karina Smirnoff (Dancing With The Stars), Caroline Morahan (Once Upon A Time), Kelley Jakle (Pitch Perfect), Erin Cahill (Power Rangers), Shelly Bhalla(Jane The Virgin), David Del Rio (In The Heights), Kevin Ryan (Jessica Jones Season 2), Sammi Rotibi (MARS), Russ Kane (Eye in the Sky), Adam Croasdell (CW’s Reign), Blake Cooper Griffin(Actor, Preacher), Dylan Trussell ( Director, Airplane Mode), David Dinetz (Director, Airplane Mode), Thomas Dekker (Actor), Katie Wallace (Actress, The Jacket), Caroline Morahan(Actress, Once Upon A Time), McKaley Miller (Actress, Hart of Dixie), Ryan McCarten (Actor, Liv and Maddie) and Briana Evigan from the Step Up Movie Franchise.

GRACE AND GOLIATH is a comedy about an American film star whose world comes crashing down, and who finds himself lodging in the home of a working class family in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Chief Executive, Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People, discusses:

"The Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles this year was really incredible. Not only did we see how much each of the young people from Northern Ireland and Los Angeles developed in confidence and made invaluable industry contacts and friendships but it has also been overwhelming to see the increased industry support and recognition that Cinemagic has achieved.

"We are thrilled with the excitement and positive feedback for our new short film SASHA OF THE SEA and latest feature film GRACE AND GOLIATH. Filmmaking requires a collaborative approach. The partnership that we have managed to establish between Los Angeles and Belfast is really paying dividends for the young people from both locations.  They are being provided with fantastic work experience and opportunities that they never imagined they could access.”

Ms Burney Keatings continues: “The last few years have been a particularly exciting time for Cinemagic. We have firmly established annual Cinemagic Film and Television Festivals in Belfast, Dublin, London, Paris, Los Angeles and New York, with over 40,000 young people participating in our events each year.
“In the last four years we have produced two feature films; secured worldwide distribution for our first feature film A CHRISTMAS STAR; developed two “behind the scene” documentaries, produced over 45 short films; supported hundreds of young trainees to work in the film and television industry; and we are now planning the world premiere of our next feature film, GRACE AND GOLIATH later this year!”

Cinemagic LA board member, Ryan Rowe, screenwriter (Charlie’s Angels, Secret of the Wings), discusses the need to develop emerging talent:  “I’ve seen up close what Cinemagic offers young people – real skills, opportunity, and affirmation – and it is priceless.  The entire organization embraces the magic of film, television and digital technologies, working tirelessly to educate, motivate and inspire young people through film screenings, industry workshops, practical masterclasses, filmmaking projects and outreach activities.

“Cinemagic breaks down boundaries, promotes inclusion, and introduces young people to other cultures, languages and traditions. It’s absolutely thrilling to see how Cinemagic’s young trainees have gone on to work with various film and television companies such as the BBC, HBO, Disney, Sky Atlantic, RTE, and Bedlam Productions.  I love what Cinemagic does and will always be its biggest fan.”

Cinemagic Patrons

  • Liam Neeson
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Dermot O‚ÄôLeary
  • Terry George
  • Brian Cox
  • Lisa Henson
  • Suranne Jones
  • Julian Fellowes
  • Christine Bleakley
  • Seamus McGarvey
  • Ciaran McMenamin
  • Colin Farrell
  • Patrick Bergin
  • Ros Hubbard
  • John Hubbard
  • Gary Knell
  • Rachel Kavanagh
  • Aidan Power
  • Mark Huffam
  • Saoirse Ronan
  • Craig Doyle
  • Robbie Sheehan
  • Bruce Reynolds
  • Marc Mallett
  • Bronagh Waugh