Evan Cooper from Gaelscoil Choráin, Youghal, at the launch of the First Cut Film Festival 2023. Photo: Clare Keogh

The first cut is the deepest

All of today’s great filmmakers had to take that first step into the world of cinema, and for many budding visionaries, Cork’s First Cut Youth Film Festival (FCYFF) offers the perfect platform for such a step.

Back for its 14th year, the ambitious and unique festival will screen more than 200 films from 7-11 March in Youghal’s Regal Cinema and Mall Arts Centre.

This year, over 40 primary and secondary schools from all over Ireland have created short films which will screen at the festival. The 2023 programme also features recent work from international young filmmakers eager to bring their work to an Irish audience. A new addition, online platform First Cut International, will screen a wide range of films from all over the world including the US, Iran, India, Korea, UK, Brazil, Lithuania, Denmark, and Australia.

There will be a special family screening of the beautiful animation film ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes on’ along with the First Cut Film Festival Youghal and Midleton Animation Workshop Films. These workshops have been facilitated by animation artists Belinda Walsh and Lisa McDonald and will feature films created by students from 13 primary and secondary schools in Youghal and Midleton.

Festival Director Mary McGrath said: “This year’s festival is jam packed full of amazing short films, creative young people, and special guests. Over the years we have seen lots of ‘magic moments’ and I have no doubt we will be sharing more of these this year. We like to think that, with our partners, we champion the discovery of the young talent and powerful new voices in Irish filmmaking.”

Through the festival’s Athrú Amháin/One Change Programme, this year’s FCYFF will host a series of Irish language workshops on filmmaking where participants are invited to make 1 minute-long films in the Irish language with a special focus on climate change and the environment. Close to 30 of the resulting films will then be showcased on the big screen.

For the more musically inclined, the Youth Music Video Competition (YMVC) offers young emerging filmmakers the opportunity to create a music video under the mentorship of top music video director Brendan Canty who created the acclaimed ‘Take Me to Church’ video for singer Hozier and renowned writer and choreographer Bob Gallagher.

All music videos will premiere on 11 March and the award for Best YMVC Music Video will be announced, with the winner receiving a €5,000 bursary to help kickstart their career.

Also on 11 March, a distinguished panel of filmmakers within the LGBTQIA+ community will present their and discuss work from their own specific point of view.

Each year through its Spotlight Programme, FCYFF celebrates the vision of emerging Irish filmmakers at third level age. This year the festival will focus amongst others on the work of Nell Hensey, recently nominated for the Dublin International Film Festival's prestigious Discovers Award 2023, Shane Joyce, Ian Fallon and Julian Hamman.

For more information and for workshop bookings, visit firstcutfilmfestival.com.