Young actors enjoy theCinemagic

Film donkeys SM Farm

Aspiring local young filmmakers have been given a taste of the movie business through a unique programme delivered by the award-winning youth film festival Cinemagic.

The production of a new short film ‘Rian’, filmed recently in Armagh, is supported by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

The project is funded by the PEACE IV programme, a cross-border initiative financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The programme has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region of the Republic.

Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

This exciting initiative engaged 20 young people, aged 18-25, to form a trainee production crew, and it features two local actors – Jude Hill from Gilford and Savanna Burney Keatings from Moira.

Jude has recently finished the feature film ‘Belfast’, which will be released next year. It is directed by and stars Kenneth Branagh, Dame Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe and Ciaran Hinds.

A host of local crew members were involved in the Cinemagic film, including its producer, Armagh-born Cinemagic Chief Executive Joan Burney Keatings, and Armagh writer Ryan Rafferty.

The film project, which is directed by Keith O’Grady, equips young people with film industry knowledge through online pre-production masterclasses and on-set skills development.

This has included masterclasses in directing, writing, assistant direction and producing.

The project has culminated in a production that will charm audiences with its heart-warming and adventure filled story, while also showcasing young talent in front of and behind the camera.

The production also enlisted the support of Ballynahinch Kinedale Donkeys’ talent ‘Denis’ the Donkey, who added to the charm and authenticity of the film, starring in the farm and fair day scenes, and who made friends with all of the young acting talent, particularly with child actors Jude and Savanna.

Joan Burney Keatings, MBE, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with young talented and creative young people who are interested in the film industry and we were thrilled to be able to offer them the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and earn a credit on a film.

“It is fantastic to see young people from all backgrounds come together and work on a common goal and illustrate what can be achieved working as a team on this innovative opportunity.”

Council Lord Mayor Kevin Savage said the project offered a unique opportunity for young people from across communities to express themselves and their talents through the medium of film-making.

“This was another example of how the PEACE IV programme has opened opportunity for people to come together, learn with and from each other and develop friendships through a wide range of activities and events in sports, arts, culture and education,” he said.

The film will be screened early next year at Cinemagic events online and at a special celebratory showcase.

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