2 March 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
34th Cinemagic Film Festival kicks off with exciting month-long programme
02 Oct 2023 : News Desk
Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival
The 34th Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People opened over the weekend with the 19th Mark Kermode Film Night and seasonal film pick, The Amazing Mr Blunden, workshops from Oscar-winning studio Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit), and the NI Premiere of Danish Animation Rosa and The Stone Troll, with Irish actors Julia Dillon and Susie Power in attendence to introduce the screening in Odeon Cinemas Belfast.

The Festival programme, funded by the Department of Communities through Northern Ireland Screen, offers unmissable film opportunities over the next 4 weeks, for young people, families, schools, and young filmmakers, with over 100 events in Ulster Museum, Queen’s Film Theatre, The Belfast Barge, Strand Arts Centre, Black Box, Accidental Theatre and Odeon Cinemas Belfast. 

Festival goers will have the chance to experience a thought-provoking world cinema programme that spotlights youth issues and social issues, an extensive education programme, talent lab industry masterclasses, classic and brand-new family and teen films, the Cinemagic Young Filmmaker Competition weekend, and Film Jury panels for young film critics.

The 2023 Cinemagic film line-up features over 150 films including 30 international previews and 3 special Gala Screenings including the Northern Ireland Premiere of heart-warming Danish animation Rosa and The Stone Troll, the Northern Ireland Premiere of The Inventor, which brings the world of Leonardo Da Vinci to life in a new stylised animated feature voiced by Stephen Fry, Daisy Ridley and Marion Cotillard, and the adventure-filled Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie

Actors Alisha Weir and Meesha Garbett, stars of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical visit for an In Conversation Q&A, before a screening of the hit film. Visiting filmmaking professionals who will inspire young creatives in Career Crafts workshops and talks include Director Cathy Brady (Wildfire), BAFTA and Academy Award winning film producer, David Parfitt (Shakespeare in Love, My Week With Marilyn), Screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh (Nowhere Boy, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool), currently working on Back to Black, the biography on the life and music of Amy Winehouse; and Northern Ireland’s Oscar, BAFTA, and IFTA winning Director, Ross White, (An Irish Goodbye, The Golden West).

Talent Lab Masterclasses for aspiring TV, Film and Broadcast creatives, curated this year by Cinemagic patron of 20 years, Dermot O’Leary, who will also host a presenting masterclass, feature Radio Broadcasting with Radio 5 Live Presenter, Nihal Arthanayake, Cinematography and Directing with Mark Nutkins and Dee Koppang O’Leary, and Scriptwriting for Television with Ivor Baddiel.

The weekday Talking Media Programme will welcome Political news journalist Jon Sopel, who will host an in-conversation event on his career that has brought him from the steps of Downing Street to inside the White House press briefing room. The programme also features talks from the Oscar-winning Visual Effects company Framestore, and Mackinnon and Saunders, the internationally acclaimed company famous for bringing some of the world’s best-known animated characters to life – including the Academy Award-nominated Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and Netflix’s hit The House.

Fans of The Moomins, will be thrilled as Cinemagic welcomes Director Darren Robbie for three award-winning episodes from the acclaimed Moominvalley series, based on Tove Jansson’s beloved works, and there is a wonderful magical and interactive puppet performance to enjoy, packed with Moomin mischief.

Another highlight of the jam-packed programme is a screening and Q&A with the creators of The Sound Collector (ITV), a beautiful stop motion animation series narrated by Keira Knightley, which explores the beauty of nature.

Teenagers have the chance to try a range of digital arts and gaming in partnership with WheelWorks Arts, and Animation in partnership with the Can Do Academy.

Pop-Up Cinema comes to The Belfast Barge with fun on screen from Piglet’s Big Movie to Lilo & Stitch, and Halloween film offerings can be found at The Black Box and The Ulster Museum. There is a dedicated Accessible film programme including relaxed, descriptive subtitled and audio described screenings. Young Audiences Supporting Foodbanks screenings of The BFG, Paper Planes, and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey will support South Belfast Foodbank and build on the Cinemagic initiative that has to date has collected over 2.5 tonnes of donations and in turn provided over 6000 meals for people in need across Northern Ireland.

There is an extensive film education offering for schools and colleges with a focus on spotlighting careers in the screen industries. The Festival culminates with a celebration of rising talent in the Young Filmmaker Showcase weekend, screening the very best short films from 140 filmmakers across the UK and Ireland accompanied with masterclasses and talks to inspire and educate participants.

“We are extremely proud to present the 34thEdition of Cinemagic Film Festival in Belfast. As an innovator in the field of youth film exhibition and engagement with world class talent from the screen industry, we are providing a unique window to the world and celebrating stories from all walks of life,” said Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Cinemagic CEO. “With continued support from our funders Cinemagic can motivate young audiences, nurture skills, and develop tomorrow’s creative workforce. I really encourage festival supporters and new audiences to get involved this autumn and enjoy the wonder of cinema.”

Richard Williams, CEO at Northern Ireland Screen, added: “Northern Ireland Screen is delighted to support another varied and diverse programme of film screenings, masterclasses and education events at the Cinemagic Belfast Festival. Through our continued core funding, supported by the Department for Communities, we acknowledge what a contribution the festival plays in film culture, education, and training for young people across Northern Ireland. We wish the festival well in the month-long event.” 

The 34th Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People takes place from September 30th to October 31st, 2023.

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