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Young Filmmakers From N.I. Collaborate With Students From Los Angeles At Cinemagic L.A!

Posted on 01st March 2018 | Cinemagic NewsPress Releases

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People is returning to Los Angeles in March 2018 (9 to 18 March 2018).

As part of this year’s pioneering Festival a group of aspiring young Northern Ireland filmmakers, aged between 17 and 25, will join students from inner-city schools in Los Angeles to participate in an exciting series of unique film masterclasses, workshops, industry events, Q&A’s and screenings.

The Northern Ireland and Los Angeles students will also collaborate in a unique project to produce a piece of musical theatre. They will perform and showcase this to an audience of celebrities, film and music industry executives at the annual Cinemagic Los Angeles Showcase event on Thursday 15 March 2018 in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, Santa Monica, Los Angeles. (Red carpet 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Event 7.30pm to 9pm). 

The gala event to celebrate young filmmaking talent will be hosted by Ross King MBE, a Cinemagic LA board member, and Victoria Smurfit. It will include 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 will also get a sneak preview screening of a behind the scenes documentary linked to Cinemagic’s soon to be released second feature film GRACE AND GOLIATH. The film 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.

GRACE AND GOLIATH 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.

Eleven young filmmakers from David Starr Jordan High School (Watts), Alexander Hamilton High School (Castle Heights) and New Roads School (Santa Monica) in Los Angeles worked together with 37 young people from Northern Ireland in June 2017 to get a once in a lifetime experience of working on a film set in Northern Ireland, securing their first ever film credit.

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) were involved in the film.

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

"Film making requires a collaborative approach. The partnership that we have managed to establish between Los Angeles and Belfast, Northern Ireland 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. 

“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 4 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 over 150 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!”

Speaking about his experience of filming on location in Northern Ireland, Dontae Deshawn Jones (19), a student at David Starr Jordan High School in Watts, Los Angeles, who is keen to pursue a career in entertainment as an actor said:

"It was truly an amazing experience and something that I will never forget. Never did I dream that a teen from Watts would get to travel to Northern Ireland to work on a feature film. I want to thank Cinemagic for providing this opportunity.”

Marie Mathews (25), one of the young filmmakers from Northern Ireland who will travelling to Los Angeles for Cinemagic’s Festival, adds:

“I’ve had some fantastic times with Cinemagic over the past seven years. Thanks to them, I've gained invaluable experience of the film industry and achieved my first credit on the feature film A CHRISTMAS STAR. I have met and worked with so many amazing professionals, learnt so much about filmmaking and have made friends for life. And to top it all off, I’m getting the opportunity to fly over to LA as a Cinemagic ambassador in March and couldn’t be more excited! If it wasn't for Cinemagic I would not be pursuing a career in film and for that I am forever grateful.”

Cinemagic LA board member, Ryan Rowe, screenwriter (Charlie’s Angels, Secret of the Wings), discusses the importance of developing 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 include Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Paula Malcomson and Julian Fellowes, to name a few.

To see an overview on what the local and international young people achieved during last year’s Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles please check out the following link  

To view a trailer for GRACE AND GOLIATH behind the scenes documentary https://vimeo.com/248477769

The Cinemagic LA Showcase event on Thursday 15 March 2018 is kindly funded by HBO, Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, Northern Ireland Bureau North America, American Airlines and The NIDO Collection.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Jane Owen PR

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