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Filmmakers Lia Nic Craith and Seosamh Mac Seoin discuss the Innovative Television & Media Course at Nemeton with SETU
19 Sep 2023 : Luke Shanahan, Nathan Griffin
Seosamh Mac Seoin’s debut drama Uilíoch.
We caught up with Lia Nic Craith and Seosamh Mac Seoin, graduates of the Innovative Television & Media Course at Nemeton with SETU. The course, based in Waterford’s Gaeltacht na Rinne, is open for applications. The deadline is September 23rd, 2023.

The award-winning postgraduate course is run by leading production company Nemeton TV, accredited by South East Technological University in and supported by Udarás na Gaeltachta. Widely regarded as one of the most industry-focused courses in the media sector, it has gained a high profile in the industry with its excellent graduate employment record. Graduates from the course are coveted as directors, producers, cinematographers, and editors, and are enjoying successful careers in top film and television production companies, as well as broadcast stations and streaming platforms at home and abroad.

Run by top industry professionals, the course features an innovative blend of practical workshops and online classes delivered through block-release. It is uniquely tailored to the needs of students and those who wish to develop their skills while working and featured in the Irish Times Spotlight on Postgraduate Options. Anyone keen to take that vital step into the television and media industries need look no further.

Films produced on the course are broadcast on TG4, winning awards at film festivals around Ireland, and featuring prominently at the National Student Media Awards every year. Seosamh Mac Seoin’s debut drama Uilíoch has travelled to international film festivals in LA and New York and won Best Short Film at the SMEDIAS this year, as well as Best Live Action Short Film at the Cinemagic On The Pulse film festival in Belfast. Lia Nic Craith’s stunning first film Ultra was featured in First Frame at this year’s Dublin International Film Festival.

The Postgraduate Course in Television & Media Production is open for applications until September 23rd and commences again on October 2nd, 2023. Course director Moira Sweeney is confident in concluding that: “The core belief is that our third level course is relevant, dynamic and genuinely prepares students for work in the media industries in Ireland and further afield”.

We sat down with filmmakers and graduates of the course, Lia Nic Craith and Seosamh Mac Seoin, to discuss their experiences of the course, how it has benefitted them, and why they would recommend that people apply for the course.

IFTN: Nemeton’s Higher Diploma in Television and Media Production is open for applications and commences next month. Why should somebody considering take the plunge and enroll in the course?
 
SEOSAMH: “Nemeton’s Higher Diploma in Television and Media Production is a one-of-a-kind course. You are fully immersed in the practical side of production for TV and film, while guided by professionals in the industry. I honestly can’t recommend this course enough. It gave me the skills I needed to start a career in my chosen field. Located in An Rinn, in the Waterford Gaeltacht, you get a firsthand experience of how transformative the production industry is for na Gaeltachtaí and Ireland. It’s a breath of fresh air that the course is fully in Irish, with extra support for those who need it. Through the Irish language, we can create homegrown content of the highest quality, creating and keeping jobs in Ireland.”

LIA: “I would strongly recommend anyone who has any interest in filmmaking or even just loves watching films, to consider this course. This course allows you to delve into your creative side and allow an idea to become real. Everyone in this day and age has a phone, everyone captures photos or videos everyday. You already have that bit of experience behind a camera, this course is about taking a leap to creating bigger and better things with a camera.”

“This course allows you to try all routes to filmmaking, such as producing, directing, camera, sound, and editing. With the amazing benefits of learning from the best in the business! It is suitable for all ages, if you are just out of college and are unsure of what avenue you would like to take, or even if you are 50 years of age and are tired of the job you have been in. The opportunities are endless! It is a completely manageable course timewise, you can still have a full time job and do the course.”
 
IFTN: Can you give a sense of the structure and modules of the course, and how they helped hone your skill and understanding of production?
 
SEOSAMH: “Throughout the course, you learn essential elements of media production from camera, sound, storytelling, editing and so much more. Each subject is set with its own tasks and throughout you’re constantly improving your skills and learning new ones.”
 
“As an actor, I’ve always wanted to write and direct my own film. However, I always felt lost, and I didn’t know where to start. Nemeton’s course created a safe space for me to fulfil this goal, under the guidance of working professionals in the field. It’s not only a professional environment, but a supportive one too. If I had a choice, I would do this course again, it was that good.”

LIA: “The course is mixed between online and in-person in An Rinn. It is every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and consists of a mix of practical and theoretical modules. Bíonn Gaeilge mar modúl sa chéad téarma, but if it is your first time learning don’t worry as tá gach éínne timpeall chun cabhrú!”

“The practical classes are all set for the weeks that the students are in-person, which is great because you get to all learn together and get to know each other. This course is especially unique because everything you learn in the practical and theoretical classes are all put to use by the end of the first term and for all of the second term.”

“You learn the art of using a camera correctly, with the advantage of putting it to practise by the beautiful Helvick Head in An Rinn. As well as the camera you learn how to light a studio or an interview setting, which is just as important as the camera!”
 
“You also learn the art of storytelling from amazing authors such as Áine Uí Fhoghlú. You learn how to edit on Premiere Pro, which is mind blowing at the beginning but immensely satisfying once you get the hang of it.”

“Everything learnt in the practical classes is then put into use when you make your short film in the first term, and your main film in the second. The amazing thing about the course is you are not alone, you have help wherever and whenever you need it!”

IFTN: The course is made very accessible through its hybrid learning – can you tell us a bit about how that benefited those travelling from across the country?

SEOSAMH: “Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do this course, if it wasn’t half online and half in person. But Moira and the other lecturers were 100% flexible throughout. Even when I had to fly to New York for work, I was able to do lectures and catch up through Zoom.”

“Also, every second week I travelled down from Dublin, which took a few hours, but it was handy enough as you can get a bus directly to Dungarvan and then a local link to An Rinn. Plus, the course secured accommodation Monday-Wednesday. I also had no complaints being located part-time in the stunning Gaeltacht na nDéise.”

LIA: “There is an amazing team involved in this course that will push you to your full potential. It is a small course which allows every single student to get 110% of the lecturer's time. This course is extremely unique for this reason, no one is ever left behind.”
 
IFTN: Moira and her team along with the great guest lectures really encourage students to push their limits and grow over the course of the year. How did this film and healthy encouragement impact your projects?

SEOSAMH: “I’ll always be grateful for everyone at the course. I got to create my first short film: Uilíoch (Universal), which explores the topic of grief and poses the question: ‘How does something that brings silence create so much noise?’. Starring Finlidh Ó hUallacháin and myself as the main actors.”
 
“Without the encouragement, I wouldn’t have gone deep within myself and taken a risk on a topic that means so much to me. The film has been screened around the world in Belfast, Los Angeles, Rome, Manchester, Cork and others. It won Best Live Action Short at the Cinemagic On The Pulse Film Festival and Gearrfhíseán Dátheangach na Bliana (Bilingual Short of the Year) at the SMEDIA Awards. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the immense push and support of this amazing course.”

 
IFTN: An Rinn is such an incredible place to be located while learning. How did the location help inspire your work?
 
SEOSAMH: “I had never been to Waterford before this course, never mind An Rinn. But I’m glad I took that leap of faith because it’s honestly magical. Not only are the views stunning but you’re amongst a creative and vibrant community. It’s a growing Gaeltacht, with daily speakers on the rise. Which has a rich history in music and culture. Amongst a small population, you’re surrounded by 3 production companies.”
 
“I was so inspired by the natural beauty and energy of the place, that I filmed my first drama: Uilíoch, completely in An Rinn. It had everything I needed and the perfect place to film.
Also, if you need a place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the course, Sólás na Mára (spa and café), located by the ocean is the perfect place. I couldn’t get enough of their seaweed baths and I’m looking forward to my next visit.”

IFTN: The course boasts a fantastic track record for short film / documentaries being selected for major film festivals across the country as well as regularly winning at the SMEDIA awards. How fulfilling was it to have such a high quality project made come the end of the course?
 
SEOSAMH: “It was wonderful. I had just finished Uilíoch and saw it do well at film festivals across the world. And then I got the opportunity to direct and write my other short film: ‘Ní Mar a Shíltear a Bhítear’ (All Is Not What It Seems). A humorous and moving take of a mother reconnecting with her daughter. The short drama explores the connection between ‘the right thing’ and ‘How far would you go to impress someone?’. The film stars Suzanne Warring, Fergus Keane, Nicola Boyle and Joleigha Nic Luairg-Nic Sheoin, Grace Nic Ghiolla Riabhaigh, Beth Nic Ghiolla Riabhaigh.”
 
“It hasn’t been released yet, but I’m submitting to festivals and I’m excited for its debut on TG4.”

IFTN: How has the experience been bringing the project to festivals and seeing it on the big screen, as well as TG4 in due course?
 
SEOSAMH: “It’s been out of this world, we should all be immensely proud of ourselves. We’ve worked so hard and now we get to celebrate our achievements with every opportunity we get to see them. I’m now working on my 3rd short film ‘Glacaim’ (I do), directed & written by myself and produced by Edel Ní Churraoin. The film won Físín - the Irish language script competition, located in An Daingean, Kerry. Also I’m now a main presenter of Cúla4, the first Irish language TV station for young people. Before this course I had minimal experience in the industry."

"Without the training at Nemeton, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills to continue to create work in this field. If anyone’s on the fence, trust me, you should do it. Not only do you get opportunities to create your own work but a direct line into jobs in the industry. Most, if not all my class got jobs in the industry, straight after the course. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

Click here to apply for the Postgraduate Course in Television & Media Production.

Click here for more information about the course.





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