The Digital Hub and the Dublin International Film Festival piloted Screen8 in May 2018 as an intensive but fun introduction to the possibilities of working in the film industry.
Following the success of the first run of this programme it continued as a free-to-attend 6-month programme, designed to give young people an opportunity to be creative and gain experience in a variety of filmmaking roles — from scriptwriting and shooting to directing and movie editing. The group work collaboratively on the production of a short film under the supervision of an Irish filmmaker, which is premiered at the Dublin International Film Festival.
The skills and experience participants gain, and the talented creatives the young people encounter during the course, opens their eyes to the medium of film and how it can be harnessed to capture and understand the world around them.
In 2021, The Digital Hub and the Dublin International Film Festival decided to run Screen8 for older people in the community – those aged 60 years and older. This cohort of people will get to experience a taste of filmmaking and work with a professional filmmaker to create their own short film. The process will challenge and engage older people in a creative and fun project.
Laura O’ Shea, an Oscar and BAFTA qualifying director, writer and actor, is leading this year’s Screen8 programme. In 2021, Laura was selected by Element Pictures and Screen Ireland for a Shadow Director placement alongside Paddy Breathnach on the TV series ‘The Dry’, streaming on BritBox UK and more recently, she was chosen as the Winner of the ‘Taking Flight Award’ at Kerry International Film Festival 2022. Laura is drawn to work that looks closely at human connection and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Professional filmmaker Paul Farren will lead this year’s group of Screen8 participants, who for the first time, will be older people in the Dublin 8 community. They will get to experience a taste of filmmaking and work with award winning producer, director, writer and editor, Paul Farren to create their own short film.
Paul, who has been working in film facilitation for over 20 years, is excited to get to know the participants, their life stories and experiences, share his film knowledge with them and watch their progress throughout the production process.
Helen Flanagan, an award-winning filmmaker, was this year’s tutor and her group produced a short film (The Debs Debacle) set in the current world of Covid-19 that reflects the doubts and disappointments that come along with being a teenager during a pandemic, and addresses the themes of friendship, self-esteem, and mental health. Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, said:
“Covid-19 presented challenges to all of our participants for this year, but especially so for the Screen 8 participants who are juggling home schooling, missing their friends and all of the pressures which lockdown places on young people. The theme of the debs is a fitting one, and something which was relatable to all of our cast and crew throughout the Screen 8 project.”
Award winning filmmaker Mia Mullarkey was the tutor and homelessness in Ireland was the topic of the short documentary (No Place Like Home) produced by the young participants this year.
“The Digital Hub provided a great learning studio with cameras, lights, laptops, grip and sound gear. I invited award-winning industry professionals to give workshops and tips. The goal of Screen8 was to make a festival quality short film and I’m very proud of what the students accomplished: a deeply emotive and fresh perspective on a national crisis from which we often look away. The vim and openness of the students removes any sense of jadedness or desensitisation, and we ended up with a story that is clear and compelling.”