FORTY young people, aged 11-13, from all over Northern Ireland including twelve students from the Magherafelt Learning Partnership (MLP) were given a flavour of the movie making industry last week, when they had the opportunity to make two short films over the course of five days as part of the Cinemagic ‘Reel Frontiers’ film project supported by the International Fund for Ireland.
The films, ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Aftermath’, shot at Lorne House in Holywood, Co. Down, focus on the theme of peace and reconciliation, and are the culmination of stage one of a two-year initiative.
The International Fund for Ireland is supporting the initiative under its Sharing in Education Programme and it is the first time that a film project of this scale, involving 40 schools over a two-year period has been undertaken by Cinemagic.
The ground breaking film making project began in September 2011 and brought together pupils from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds to work together, learn about filmmaking and production, share experiences and make new friends.
The schools participating in the project were paired together for a series of film screenings, workshops and discussions that took place in alternate schools throughout the academic year. Two young people aged 11-13 years from each school were selected to attend the week-long film camp and meet the challenge of writing, casting, shooting and editing the films under the direction of industry professionals Michael Lennox, Jamie Stone, Mark Jordan and Matt Curry.
Over the two years, the young people will produce four short films with the ultimate aim of promoting understanding between the different communities and traditions in Northern Ireland.The films will be set in a Northern Ireland context and will deal with issues such as division, conflict and the challenges the young people encounter on a daily basis in their respective neighbourhoods.
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:
“As an art form, film making invites and challenges ideas and ways of looking at our world. Cinemagic’s Reel Frontiers Project uses that as a way to help young people, from diverse backgrounds, to jointly explore views of themselves and each other. It opens new opportunities to develop new relationships and build confidence and trust between the two main communities.
“Creative interactions like this ultimately enrich community relations and support the Fund’s peace-building objectives, particularly those of our Sharing in Education Programme. The collaborative learning experiences undertaken by the cross-sect oral schools involved in the Reel Frontiers Project are an investment for a more shared future that has the potential to benefit all of us.”
Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Chief Executive of Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People commented: “With valued support from the International Fund for Ireland, Cinemagic is able to provide an excellent opportunity for young people from different backgrounds to work together on a creative venture that will help develop in them an understanding of and respect for each other’s traditions and culture. Through their film-making they will also be able to demonstrate their learning and promote the values of peace and reconciliation to a wider audience.”
It is estimated that over the course of the two-year project 1,280 young people, their families, 40 teachers and members of the local communities will be involved. The participants from year one of the project will act as mentors for year two.
Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival is funded by Northern Ireland Screen supported by DCAL.