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Young Filmmakers ‘Call Action’ on Cinemagic Feature Film ‘Grace and Goliath’

Posted on 05th June 2017 | Cinemagic News

37 young trainee filmmakers, aged 18-25, have started work in Belfast on Cinemagic’s second feature film Grace and Goliath. The young people, aged 18-25 will have the chance to earn their first credit on a feature and train alongside industry professionals led by director Tony Mitchell (The Bible, AD The Bible Continues, Primeval, Supervolcano and Flood) and actors Ciarán McMenamin (Paula, Saving The Titanic), Emy Aneke (The Predator and Star Trek: Beyond) and Aoibhinn McGinnity (Quarry, Love/Hate).

Joining the cast are young actors Isaac Heslip (11) from Banbridge, Maitiu McGibbon (11) from Lurgan and Savanna Burney Keatings (5) from Moira, along with Northern Ireland television, theatre and film actresses, Olivia Nash, Cheryl O’Dwyer and Jo Donnelly.

Young filmmakers across all departments will have the opportunity to develop their talents and skills on the film, produced by Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings MBE and written by Maire Campbell (Delicate Things, Chancer, A Christmas Star).


Grace and Goliath follows the success of Cinemagic’s first feature, A Christmas Star in 2014-15, which gave young filmmakers an invaluable opportunity to work across disciplines such as directing, production, costume and make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. With the experience from this Cinemagic opportunity, trainees have gone on to secure work with various film and television companies in the last two years including BBC, HBO, Disney, Sky Atlantic, RTE, and Bedlam Productions.


The Grace and Goliath trainee filmmakers will be joined by 10 young students from Los Angeles, from Cinemagic partner schools based there who have participated in Cinemagic LA Festival activity over the last 8 years. Filming will take place throughout June in Belfast and on the North Coast, including scenes at Odyssey Pavilion and Belfast’s National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.


Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Cinemagic Chief Executive said “We are delighted to be embarking on Cinemagic’s second feature film, and with support from Department for Communities, Creative Skillset, Panavision, Yellowmoon, Tourism Ireland, Belfast City Council and George Best Belfast City Airport we are able to offer hands-on training to develop young people’s talents and skills in filmmaking. The project will unite young people from diverse cultural backgrounds and allow them to work on a common goal. We have a brilliant crew on board including a past Cinemagic Festival participant, Aidan Gault, our director of photography on the film, and it’s fantastic to see so many creative people working together to inspire young people.”

Lisa Howe, Film Manager, Creative Skillset said “Supporting the growth of the film industry by encouraging aspiring young filmmakers from across the UK into a range of disciplines is a key aim for Creative Skillset. As such, we are delighted to support Cinemagic’s Belfast-based production with an embedded training initiative, led by industry professionals.”


Tony Devlin, Panavision Belfast said “We are thrilled to be working with the Cinemagic team on another wonderful project. The idea of taking future filmmakers and letting them experience the different skills on set, gives them a hands on experience that is vital for a trainee in order to gain knowledge on all aspects of a working set”.

Councillor Mairead O’Donnell, newly appointed Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said  “The creative industries are vital to the future economic success and competitiveness of Belfast on the international stage.  The city’s reputation for its creativity is growing rapidly, as evidenced by the success of the likes of ‘Game of Thrones’.  The Council is fully committed to nurturing and growing our creative economy, and therefore is delighted to support this initiative, which in turn will help to develop the new talent needed to drive this growth.”


Michelle Hatfield, Director of HR and Corporate Responsibility at Belfast City Airport, added “We have worked with Cinemagic on a number of projects through the airport’s Community Fund and have been able to see first-hand the impact that involving young people in such meaningful projects can have, especially when they are linked to their career aspirations. Community and Education are at the forefront of our CSR strategy, making Cinemagic a natural partner for us. We want to wish all the young filmmakers every success with this project and for the future.”


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Press Information: Claire Shaw, Cinemagic Press and Marketing, (+44) 028 90 311 900, 07793025910 claire@cinemagic.org.uk

Notes to Editors:


Film Synopsis: Grace and Goliath is a BIG comedy with an even BIGGER heart!

Californian, giant of the silver screen, Josh Jenkins, arrives in Belfast with a big ambition to make a movie, but soon his world comes crashing down in this strange city.

In order to survive his fall from grace, he has no option but to take up hotel cleaner Lily’s offer, to stay in her modest home, with her dysfunctional, working class family. What appears to be a soul destroying situation turns out to be the opposite, a catalyst for a new ambition, but this time the ambition is bigger than himself! This is the story of how one man’s GOLIATH ego gets brought down by one single blow...of GRACE!

This film will scoop you up in its mighty arms and take you on a hilarious yet emotional roller-coaster!

Cinemagic Patrons

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  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Dermot O’Leary
  • 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