Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


090318wc1 001a

Cinemagic Ambassadors from Northern Ireland Jet Off to LA


Nine young Cinemagic ambassadors from Northern Ireland have jetted off to take part in the Cinemagic Film and Television Festival for Young People in Los Angeles (9-19 March 2018)

The group of aspiring local young filmmakers will join forces with young people from Hamilton High School (Castle Heights), New Roads High School (Santa Monica) and Jordan High School (Watts) in Los Angeles.

They will participate in an exciting, jam-packed programme of masterclasses, studio tours, screenings, presentations and film camps with representatives from the world’s biggest film and television studios.

These include FOX, HBO, Sony, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, New York Film Academy, Jim Henson Company, Remote Control Studios, Ross King MBE (a Cinemagic LA board member), director James Foley, award-winning producer Francis O’Toole, American actor Robert Picardio (Star Trek), Lance O’Connor, Cinemagic LA board member, and executive producer and CEO of Minted Content.

Cinemagic, which is an award winning Northern Ireland-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.

Amy Hinds (23) from Glengormley, Co. Antrim, one of the Cinemagic’s ambassadors, discusses the opportunity:

I'm really looking forward to touring some of the major studios in Los Angeles and having the opportunity to see what the film industry is like on a much larger scale. I'm also keen to learn the 'tricks of the trade' from top American industry professionals and hope the experience will inspire me to continue to pursue my dreams of becoming a top filmmaker. 

'Cinemagic plays a really important role in that it provides young people with the opportunity to work alongside industry experts both in Northern Ireland and in the USA, equipping them with the best possible knowledge and advice required to get a head start in the film industry.'

The young people from Northern Ireland and Los Angeles will also collaborate in a unique project to produce a piece of musical theatre. They will perform and showcase this to an audience of celebrities, film and music industry executives at the annual Cinemagic Los Angeles Showcase event on Thursday 15 March 2018 in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, Santa Monica, Los Angeles. 

Niamh McLaughlin from Cookstown and Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Chief Executive, Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People.

The gala event to celebrate young filmmaking talent will be hosted by Ross King MBE, a Cinemagic LA board member. It will include a special preview screening of Cinemagic’s new short film Sasha of the Sea, an inspiring story of teenage bravery, love, growing up and friendship. 

Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Chief Executive, Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People, discusses: 

'Filmmaking requires a collaborative approach. The partnership that we have managed to establish between Los Angeles and Belfast is really paying dividends for the young people from both locations. They are being provided with fantastic work experience and opportunities that they never imagined they could access.'

Ms Burney Keatings continues: 'The last few years have been a particularly exciting time for Cinemagic. We have firmly established annual Cinemagic Film and Television Festivals in Belfast, Dublin, London, Paris, Los Angeles and New York, with over 40,000 young people participating in our events each year.

'In the last 4 years 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; supported hundreds of young trainees to work in the film and television industry; and we are now planning the world premiere of our next feature film, GRACE AND GOLIATH later this year!'

Cinemagic LA board member, Ryan Rowe, screenwriter (Charlie’s Angels, Secret of the Wings), discusses the need to develop emerging talent: 

'I’ve seen up close what Cinemagic offers young people – real skills, opportunity, and affirmation – and it is priceless. The entire organisation embraces the magic of film, television and digital technologies, working tirelessly to educate, motivate and inspire young people through film screenings, industry workshops, practical masterclasses, filmmaking projects and outreach activities. 

'Cinemagic breaks down boundaries, promotes inclusion, and introduces young people to other cultures, languages and traditions. It’s absolutely thrilling to see how Cinemagic’s young trainees have gone on to work with various film and television companies such as the BBC, HBO, Disney, Sky Atlantic, RTE, and Bedlam Productions. I love what Cinemagic does and will always be its biggest fan.'

Audiences at the Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles will also get a sneak preview screening of a behind the scenes short film documentary linked to Cinemagic’s second feature film, Grace and Goliath. Entitled Trainee Filmmakers, the short film has recently won a platinum award at the World Documentary Awards in Bali.

Cinemagic’s Grace and Goliath film offered 48 aspiring young filmmakers, aged from 17 to 25 from Los Angeles and Northern Ireland, the unique opportunity to get involved in an invaluable six-week training programme across disciplines such as directing, production, costume and make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. It is the only project of its kind that brings together young people from LA and Northern Ireland to work with industry professionals to make a feature film.

Grace and Goliath is a comedy about an American film star whose world comes crashing down, and who finds himself lodging in the home of a working class family in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

To see an overview of what the local and international young people achieved during last year’s Cinemagic Festival in Los Angeles please check out here.

Belfast-based Cinemagic loves the magic of film and television and recognises its power to educate, motivate and inspire young people. Cinemagic first started working with young people in 1989 and since then has developed a worldwide reputation for excellence in children’s programming.

To date Cinemagic has engaged with over 500,000 young people, screened over 3000 films, and hosted over 500 masterclasses, workshops and special events. Cinemagic’s film production projects have received international acclaim for their ambition, quality and reach.

Cinemagic patrons include Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Paula Malcomson and Julian Fellowes, to name a few.