The achievements of young people involved in the making of Cinemagic feature film A Christmas Star will be celebrated across the Atlantic this week with a premiere screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Representatives from the film and its accompanying music video including young cast members and performers will make the trip stateside to share the story of the film and showcase it to new audiences on Thursday, December 10.
The Sony Wonder Technology Lab in New York hosted two viewings of the film last weekend while earlier this week it screened at the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the US Department of State in Washington, with the event featuring a performance from the Gillian Doogan Dance School.
Premiering before 2500 film-lovers last month at Odyssey Cinemas Belfast, A Christmas Star has since enjoyed widespread success on general release in cinemas across the UK and Ireland.
Cinemagic patron and Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park and Downton Abbey) launched the project just a year and a half ago, with a host of recognisable actors and supporters, from Pierce Brosnan to Bronagh Waugh, featuring on screen.
The festive story, set in Northern Ireland, is narrated by Liam Neeson and features a cameo from Kylie Minogue as well as appearances from Fellowes and Dermot O'Leary. Teen singer Zena Donnelly provides the vocals to original soundtrack single 'We Can Shine', written by Ryan McGroarty of the Wonder Villains alongside a team of fledgling songwriters.
A Christmas Star tells the heartwarming story of Noelle, a spirited young girl who embarks on a magical journey to save her village pottery factory. The innovative film production gave budding young actors the chance to work on a feature production and aspiring filmmakers the chance to work in every department of production, from cinematography, editing and costume to production, locations and continuity.
Over 40 trainee crew aged 18-25 were mentored by industry professionals as they worked side-by-side gaining invaluable experience in all aspects of filmmaking.
Mentors included director Richard Elson (M.I. High, Steffi), award-winning film composer Patrick Doyle (Brave, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), music supervisor Maggie Rodford, (The King’s Speech, Anna Karenina), casting directors Hubbard Casting, (The Commitments, Dracula Untold), camera operator, Ian Fox, (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man), producer Iain Smith, (Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road) and production manager, Terry Bamber (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Skyfall), who each took breaks from their own shooting schedules to mentor the trainees.
Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings, MBE said 'We are so proud of every single person involved in bringing A Christmas Star to life. It gives Cinemagic the platform to showcase the creativity and talent that exists among our young people.
'Thank you to everyone who supported the project and enabled us to give such a wonderful opportunity to our young people. We are looking forward to sharing the story with audiences in Los Angeles and industry representatives who continue to support the work of Cinemagic.'
Lord Julian Fellowes, Cinemagic patron, and Emma Kitchener-Fellowes
Norman Houston, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau, added: 'It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Cinemagic in bringing this unique and truly inspiring project to our screens. Cinemagic has long been the outlet for some of Northern Ireland’s most creative talent, and it deserves all the recognition from the stars of film and television that it has received.
'The experience that the children involved in this production have received will undoubtedly contribute to the growing strength of the creative industries in Northern Ireland. Cinemagic has transformed lives for 25 years, and this latest project, capturing the magic of Christmas, will inspire many young people and future generations. We have a very bright future to look forward to.'
A Christmas Star can still be seen on select screens throughout Northern Ireland. For further information check your local cinema listings guide.