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Cinemagic’s Latest Movie ‘Grace and Goliath’ Hits USA Cinema Screens!

Posted on 27th October 2018 | Cinemagic News

Irish Screen America announces that Grace and Goliath’s Screenwriter, Maire Campbell, will receive a Rising Star Award in Los Angeles -

Cinemagic's latest feature film ‘Grace and Goliath’, which had its world premiere in Belfast recently, hits cinema screens in New York and Los Angeles this week.

The USA cinema screenings of Grace and Goliath are part of the 2018 Irish Screen America Programme.  The programme runs a bi-coastal Irish Screen America festival in New York and in Los Angeles this week (19 – 28 Oct 18).

rish Screen America has also announced that Maire Campbell, Grace and Goliath’s screenwriter, will be the recipient of a prestigious Rising Star Award at the festival.


Joan Burney Keatings MBE, producer and executive producer of GRACE AND GOLIATH, and Chief Executive of Cinemagic, the award-winning Belfast-based film and television charity for young people, discusses:


"We are absolutely thrilled that Grace and Goliath will be screened to audiences in New York and Los Angeles this week and in Boston in December. We have been overwhelmed at the excitement and positive feedback, both locally and internationally, for the film since the world premiere in Belfast just a few weeks ago.


“The film showcases the beauty of Northern Ireland, its stunning landscape and also the genuine warmth, humour and spirit of the Northern Ireland people. We are unique in so many ways and this feature film captures and conveys our positivity."


Ms Burney Keatings continues: "I would like to thank Irish Screen America for their continued support and on behalf of Cinemagic and the wider production team I would also like to congratulate Maire Campbell. We always believed she was a rising star and this award simply confirms that!"

Originally from Omagh, Maire is a writer and director who creates ground-breaking work for stage and screen. Maire was the screenwriter for Cinemagic’s first feature film ‘A Christmas Star’ and she has also written a number of compelling short films for the charity including ‘Sasha of the Sea’, ‘Chancer’, 'Punch' and ‘A Time to Stand’.

Maire has just returned from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a play she wrote, directed and produced called ‘Epiphany’. 

Discussing Irish Screen America’s Rising Star Award, Maire Campbell* says:

"I am very honoured to receive this award from Irish Screen America (ISA). ISA plays an instrumental role in promoting work from this part of the world right across America and we really value what they do for our local creative industry.

"I also think it is important to acknowledge the incredible producers and crew at Cinemagic.  They believed in me and worked tirelessly to bring Grace and Goliath to the screen; a heartfelt thank-you to them. To Tony Mitchell the film’s remarkable director, thank-you for capturing the core message of the story; that although life can be very tough, love and grace must prevail."

Since its inception, Irish Screen America has grown in tandem with the Irish film industry and connected Irish films with audiences and distributors in the U.S. and promoted upcoming Irish talent within its North American creative network.

Grace and Goliath's unique production process also supported upcoming talent. Fifty aspiring filmmakers aged from 17 to 25, from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Los Angeles were given the chance to take part in a six-week training programme under the guidance of British/Canadian director Tony Mitchell (The Bible, AD The Bible Continues, Primeval, Supervolcano and Flood), producer and Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keatings MBE, and GRACE AND GOLIATH screenwriter Maire Campbell.

The aspiring young filmmakers got practical experience in a range of disciplines from directing and production right through to costume, make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. Significantly, as a result of their input, they also gained their first ever credit on a feature film. 

Grace and Goliath follows the success of Cinemagic’s first feature, A Christmas Star, which premiered in 2015 in Belfast, New York and Los Angeles. It was screened in Northern Ireland on UTV and BBC on Christmas Day and was distributed across numerous territories including platforms such as Netflix USA and Australia and BBC iPlayer.

Film and television charity Cinemagic (www.cinemagic.org.uk)started working with young people in 1989, and has since run festivals, workshops and masterclasses in Belfast, London, Castres (France), New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Nashville to encourage involvement in the industry. Cinemagic patrons include Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Paula Malcomson, Julian Fellowes, and Suranne Jones to name a few.

Commenting on Cinemagic's journey, Ms Burney Keatings says: "The last four years have been a particularly exciting and busy time for Cinemagic. We have produced two feature films, A CHRISTMAS STAR and GRACE AND GOLIATH; secured worldwide distribution for both films; developed award-winning “behind the scene” documentaries; produced over 45 short films; and supported hundreds of young trainees to secure work in the film and television industry. Next year marks the charity’s 30th anniversary and it is truly incredible to see the achievements of so many of our participants and what they have gone on to do in their careers.”


For all media enquiries, please contact Janet McKay, PR Consultant on behalf of Cinemagic, T: 07968 817514, E: janet@janetmckaypr.com



Q. Where did the idea for GRACE AND GOLIATH originate?

It originated from three main inspirations – First of all by a cleaner, an absolutely beautiful and humble lady who I know, who does so much for everyone else and these women are really the backbone of society and are unsung heroes. Second of all in observing how so many people today are searching for happiness in fame or wealth to boost their egos, but it is only in being true to yourself and helping others with love, that makes you happy.  And finally of Northern Ireland - a truly wonderful place that has been through so much yet has so much positivity and perspective to offer the world.

Q. What can audiences expect from GRACE AND GOLIATH?

They can expect to be amazed by wonderful characters that jump through the screen and seem almost familiar. A rollercoaster of a story with twists and turns and a lot of heart!

Q. What particular factors were key to you when creating and writing the film?

As Cinemagic is a ground-breaking organisation that aims to break stereotypes and spread peace across the world, this film needed to do the same and to say something new about Northern Ireland, to show the world what a truly sensational place this is, particularly the people.

Q. What did you want to bring to the screen?

Joy, and I wanted to raise the question - ‘what is it that makes us truly happy?’

Q How important is Northern Ireland as a character in the story?

Northern Ireland is a main character in this film! Its culture, accents, turn of phrases, humour and heart all feature in glorious technicolor!

Q. What would you like viewers to take away from watching the film?

To be appreciative of what we have while we have them – our family, our friends and our community. To not judge each other, that we are all fragile, precious and the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.


GRACE AND GOLIATH (Cert PG) is a family feel-good movie that will make you proud to come from Northern Ireland! The film will scoop you up in its mighty arms and carry you on an emotional but hugely enjoyable roller coaster.

A Hollywood big shot (and he knows it!), Josh Jenkins, sweeps into Belfast to make a movie, but before long his world crashes and he loses everything. Lily (the hotel cleaner) invites him to stay with her crazy family and gradually the people of this ‘strange’ city touch his heart, forever.

It’s a powerful story of how one man’s GOLIATH ego is brought down by one single blow...of GRACE! With a superb home grown cast and cameos from Ciarán Hinds, Suranne Jones, Sally Lindsay and Bronagh Waugh, GRACE AND GOLIATH is set to be the family film of the year!

GRACE AND GOLIATH promotional trailer https://youtu.be/YnYVXpQVtUc

Canadian actor Emy Aneke (Supergirl) plays the role of the Californian A-list star, Josh Jenkin, who is stranded and penniless in Belfast after a movie goes wrong. His giant ego is challenged by a host of characters, including a little girl called Grace (Savanna Burney Keatings); her father Marcus (Ciarán McMenamin), mother Mel (Aoibhinn McGinnity) and grandmother Lily (Olivia Nash MBE).

Cameo appearances include Carl Frampton, Patrick Kielty, Darren Clarke, Roma Downey, Tommy Bowe, Pamela Ballantine, Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney, Marc Mallett, Laura Whitmore and Linzi Lima. Hundreds of extras from across Northern Ireland were also involved in the making of the film.

The film’s main locations were Belfast (inc. The Europa Hotel, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park and Victoria Square) and the north coast of Northern Ireland (inc. Golf Links Hotel and Holiday Homes, Barry's Amusements and The Harbour Bar, Portrush).


Adrian Fulle, Executive Producer, Variety, the weekly American entertainment trade magazine and website, said: “For me, GRACE AND GOLIATH is one of those gems I never expected to find during my lifelong search for great stories. As a filmgoer and storyteller, I love everything about this movie; it's writing is top notch, the performances were outstanding, and it has such a strong heart that it's impossible to not love it. As a dad, it gave my daughter and I a very memorable experience we could bond over, and that was probably the most important thing for me.”

Ross King MBE, ITV TV host, commented: “Loved this movie, laughter, tears it has it all. A movie with a real heart!”

Jay Roewe, HBO Senior vice president, West Coast Productions, described the film as “Another fun and fresh story from Cinemagic! Well done!”.

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