Limerick is quickly establishing itself as a creative hub for film makers, editors, actors and emerging scriptwriters, as evidenced by the second staging of LIT’s Film Festival, running next week in the city.
The festival aims to educate and celebrate film makers of all ages through workshops, industry exhibitions, film viewings and an awards night and was so successful last year that it has been expanded this year.
The festival is run by Simon McGuire, camera operator and editor who has worked on Killinaskully and lecturer in video production at LIT. Simon felt a need for a festival of this kind because there was little outlet for older film makers in the city, with younger filmmakers given a platfrom through the popular Fresh Film Festival.
“The festival is a platform to help people realise their creative outlet,” he explained. “We need to network, join forces, and learn from each other. This is a stepping stone from Fresh Film. The LIT Film Festival encourages film makers to stay in Limerick and keep their talents local.”
Simon’s love of film was ignited when he entered a film festival aged 14. “When it was played at that festival and I heard people laughing, I knew it had worked,” he said. “However, it’s not about winning, it’s about the process.”
The festival started life as a two day competition last year, and is now a five-day event. Just three local colleges were invited to enter last year, LIT, Limerick College of Further Education and Limerick School of Art and Design. This year’s festival is now open to all entries of all ages around the country, professional or amateur, with no constraints.
There are 14 categories covering all aspects of film making to equip a person for the industry, inclduing a writing workshop with media graduate Eleanor McSherry, a Sony Workshop, as well as workshops in sound, lighting and make-up. The festival will feature an online editing workshop with Rory Gavin, and a screening of the award winning film ‘The Pipe’, with a questions and answers session at the end.
The event will end with an awards night in the LIT Millennium Theatre, hosted by Spin Southwest DJ and Limerick Chronicle columnist Michelle McMahon. One of the interesting facets of the awards is that they aren’t judged by academics, instead encompassing professionals in the media industry, and each category is judged by a media professional related to the topic. Laura Ryan of Limerick Communications Office will be on the judging panel again this year.
Simon’s own short film Scumbag Millionaire, starring Francis Ryan - of Concy Ryan fame - will have its premiere at the festival. Simon feels that the LIT Film Festival enables Limerick to create its own culture.
“The talent is here, we need to keep it here,” he said.
The LIT Film Festival takes place from April 11-15.