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Wicklow youth through to finals of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker

A Wicklow teenager has made it through to Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year competition with a film about the global pandemic.

Fourteen-year-old Eric Peterson from Kilbride was named as a Leinster finalist in the competition as part of Fresh International Film Festival. The Leinster, Independent regional heats took place online this year due to the global pandemic and Eric’s short film ‘Monotony’ was selected for the national finals in the Junior category.

The impact of the current global pandemic on young people was a recurring theme for the films entered in this year’s Festival and this year’s crop of entries shine a light on how young people have been affected, directly and indirectly, by the pandemic. Every film entered proved to be unique in its own way, but they all shared a common message – the need to protect and keep their loved ones safe. This year’s submissions were as always creative and diverse, with many young filmmakers involving their family members as cast and crew in their films.

Eric’s film ‘Monotony’ explores the Covid existence of a 14 year old, who is driven mad by online school and endless lockdown. Eric commented, “I’m bored and tired of online school and I’m missing my friends, so I thought that was the best thing to talk about – what online school and the typical Covid teenager day looks like and how I am dealing with life.”

He added, “I wanted to enter a film, but because of lockdown I wasn’t able to make the film that I’d originally planned. I had to think outside the box for a theme that I could shoot and act in myself. I have always had an interest in film making and spent hours on YouTube during lockdown, doing research on different methods. I wanted to show the teenage perspective and I was a bit worried that the more serious side to it wouldn’t come across, so I tried to use the music to create an atmosphere of stress. I still wanted the film to have some humour in it though and to entertain people, so I hope it’s a good balance between serious and funny. Fresh Film has been a great environment for me to showcase my films, network, learn, and most importantly get inspired and I am thrilled my film is through to the finals.”

Jayne Foley, Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Film said, “The films entered this year in the Festival are a glimpse into how young people in Ireland are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. Films are a powerful form of expression and an effective way to educate, create awareness, improve understanding and encourage action. Lockdowns during the pandemic have forced young people to come to terms with a new way of living life. What surprised me about this year’s crop of pandemic themed films was how positive the films were and how resourceful young people can be. This year’s Festival is introducing the world to a new generation of young film innovators highlighting how they are living and coping with global health issues.”

About Fresh Film:

Fresh Film encourages young people to make films by hosting an annual international film festival for young people, presenting Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards, acting as an advocate for young filmmakers and promoting their work worldwide. 

Fresh International Film Festival invites young people from Ireland and overseas, aged 7 to 18 years, to create, exhibit and share films. The festival provides an opportunity for these young filmmakers to have their work seen on a cinema screen for the first time and to compete for the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year. All films submitted are also considered for a range of Specialist Awards.

Fresh International Film Festival 2021 takes place Monday, March 22 to Sunday, March 28 and features an alumni showcase and a week of film screenings and workshops with the Junior Finals taking place on Thursday, March 25 and the Seniors Finals on Friday, March 26 via a YouTube live stream with presenter and documentary filmmaker Stephen Byrne and comedian and social creative Justine Stafford hosting this year’s awards. See www.freshfilmfestival.com for more info. 

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