Young Wicklow Filmmaker wins award at Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2021

Young Wicklow filmmaker Seán Treacy is the proud recipient of a Highly Commended for Cinematography award for his film ‘Horizons’ at this year’s Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards.

Seán is so stranger to winning awards as he took home the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year in 2019 at the age of 15 for his film ‘Rue’.

Seán has a huge presence on social media, in particular, YouTube, with his personal channel ‘Stellar’ having over 24 thousand subscribers. Sean also has a filmmaking account containing his award-winning short films.

Not only did Seán win an award but a film about his life also won an award! Director Ashish Prasai aged 16 from Portobello, Dublin took home the RTE Factual Award for his documentary ‘Stellar’ which tells the story of Seán’s life as a filmmaker and social media influencer.

Seán spoke about ‘Stellar’ saying, “Ashish making that film about my story was really encouraging and gave me a huge amount of empowerment and self-belief, as it felt like all of the problems pushed through and projects pursued over the past few years actually meant something. I can’t thank him enough for it and also can’t congratulate him enough for what is a seriously well-deserved prize.’

Ashish added, “This short documentary is about my good friend Seán. Showing his filmmaking journey from when he started till now. It feels very surreal to win the RTE Factual award for best documentary. I am extremely grateful for this achievement and seeing my work from other people’s perspectives was refreshing. This Festival allows young filmmakers in Ireland to share their unique stories and collaborate with others to create something that is fulfilling and impactful.”

Seán won the Highly Commended for Cinematography award for his film ‘Horizons’ which is a film that tries to capture the sheer joy of memories. The future can be scary, the present can be dull, but the past is full of emotions that are locked away and safe forever, and that’s what the film tries to evoke.

Seán said, “Winning the award for cinematography this year was fulfilling, to say the least. Throughout the first COVID lockdown, I made YouTube video after YouTube video and was constantly trying to push the level up visually from what I had been creating over previous years. However, that effort didn’t translate into much success directly on YouTube. Then in July, I put together my new short film Horizons, not thinking anything different of the behind-the-scenes standard. But once I completed the colour grade, I really felt like I had achieved something new in my filmmaking journey on a technical level, and looking back, that was all down to the work I had done on YouTube in the opening months of that first lockdown. That sensation of satisfaction was thankfully manifested in the form of the award at Fresh!”

17-year-old Ella Nethercott from Dublin took home the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2021 for her short film ‘Learning to Dance Like a Bird’, about a young girl struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who is taken out of her comfort zone when she meets a boy who helps her to let go.

Speaking about her win, Ella said, “It was an absolute honor to win Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year. I’m extremely proud of myself and of how much I have grown throughout this process. It has been a huge honour to participate in the Fresh Film Festival over the last two years and I’m so grateful for the platform they gave me to express myself and meet like-minded people. I had such a genuinely incredible time making the film but to then receive recognition on top of that just made the experience all the more unforgettable.”

In addition, a number of specialist awards were presented for the Seniors including the Cartoon Saloon Animation Award, the RTE 60 Second Short Film Award and the RTE Factual Award, in addition to the International awards.

The awards took place online via Fresh International Film Festival’s YouTube channel. This year, the competition celebrated its 25th anniversary and received over 1,200 entries with presenter and documentary filmmaker Stephen Byrne and comedian and social creative Justine Stafford hosting this year’s online awards.

Jayne Foley, Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Film said, “This is our 25th adventure in film. The films that we receive every year have ensured that the Festival stays Fresh. Many films entered this year 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. This year’s Festival introduced the world to a new generation of young film innovators and is a document of their history.”

Jayne added, “I want to congratulate all our winners. It’s fantastic to see two of our overall winners are girls this year. We are celebrating 25 years and for the first few years, it was mostly boys applying. The number of female directors employed in the global film industry is still very low. We’ve done lots of initiatives to try and really challenge that and we are actively using female film directors for our workshops as well, because it’s the ‘can’t see it, you won’t be it’ sort of thing so we’re really trying to push that. It’s always fantastic to see women leading the way.”

About Fresh Film

Now in its 25th year, 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 including the Radharc Trust Award (documentary), the Cartoon Saloon Animation Award, the RTE 60 Second Short Film Award and the RTE Factual Award, in addition to the International and Audience awards.

Fresh Film runs a number of initiatives throughout the year and also distributes Irish films made by young people to festivals all over the world. 


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