Cinemagic’s new short film, SASHA OF THE SEA, an inspiring story of teenage bravery, love, growing up and friendship, was screened at Newport Beach Film Festival in Orange County, California this weekend (Sunday 29 April 2018).
Cinemagic, which is an award-winning Belfast-based charity, is the largest film and television festival designed for and by young people in the UK and Ireland. Each year over 40,000 young people (aged 4-25) in Belfast, Dublin, London, France (Castres), New York and Los Angeles participate in Cinemagic events.
Cinemagic first started working with young people in 1989 and since then it has engaged with over 500,000 young people, screened over 3,000 films, and hosted over 500 masterclasses, workshops and special events. Their film production projects have received international acclaim for their ambition, quality and reach.
SASHA OF THE SEA’s plot centers on how a young Irish girl’s fondness for the sea is tested when her father goes missing in a fishing accident – opening her eyes to the greater meanings of life and love.
The short film has been crafted by a Northern Ireland born team. It was written by Maire Campbell, directed by Sammy Nutt and produced by Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings MBE.
A host of Northern Ireland actors feature in the short film including Erin Galway Kendrick (from Newtownards); Richard Clements (from Bangor) and Karen Hassan (from Belfast).
Twenty-four local Cinemagic young film trainees were given the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals to bring the story to life on the screen.
Joan Burney Keatings explains why it’s important for local productions of this nature to be shown at international film festivals:
“We are thrilled that SASHA OF THE SEA was selected to feature in The Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) programme. This festival seeks to bring to Orange County, California, the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. It has the largest shorts program within a major film festival in the United States. NBFF accepts and screens well over 200 short movies culled from submissions received from all over the world. During the festival up to 40 shorts programs are presented each year.
“For SASHA OF THE SEA to have secured a position in the programme line up is a fantastic achievement. It is particularly rewarding for the young film trainees who were involved in the creative process. The fact that their short film is entertaining captive audiences around the world and prompting discussions is an amazing achievement.”
Ms Burney-Keatings adds: “It is so rewarding for Cinemagic to know that we are creating platforms for young people to demonstrate their talents. In fact, the last four years have been particularly exciting for Cinemagic. 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 and supported hundreds of young trainees to work in the film and television industry. We’re also in the process of planning the world premiere of GRACE AND GOLIATH later this year!”
In recent years Cinemagic trainees have gone on to secure work with various film and television companies including BBC, HBO, Disney, Sky Atlantic, RTE, and Bedlam Productions.
Cinemagic patrons include Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Paula Malcomson and Julian Fellowes, to name a few.