Wicklow teenager named Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year

17-year-old Seán Treacy from Ashford, Co. Wicklow has taken home the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2022.

Fresh International Film Festival took to TV screens as it celebrated its 26th anniversary of giving young filmmakers a platform to shine. Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Senior Awards 2022 was broadcast on RTE 2 television, hosted by presenter and documentary filmmaker Stephen Byrne and presenter and musician Gemma Bradley. 

Seán won Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2022 for his film ‘The Least I Can Do’. A film about a naive teen David, who witnesses his best friend inappropriately engage with a girl at a party. He falls into a moralistic crisis as he reconsiders the values of his friends while also confronting the overwhelming guilt of his inaction.

Speaking about his win, Seán said:

Having ‘The Least I Can Do’ be awarded top prize at this year’s Fresh Film Festival is undoubtedly the most satisfying conclusion to both this film’s journey and my time with Fresh that I could have ever asked for. Having entered this fantastic festival every year since 2017, Fresh has been a constant presence in my adolescence that has only ever positively challenged me to work more and more on improving my craft. In some years my films have been well-received, and in other years not so much, so to have my final year be a 1st Place win is a very satisfying symbol of that consistent work through my teens really paying off! 

As well as that, I feel that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes at Fresh are about more than just the writers & directors. It really feels to me like they celebrate the team behind a film as a whole. That’s really appropriate in this case, because ‘The Least I Can Do’ would be a shell of what it is now if it weren’t for the fearless work of the actors and production team that helped me put it together. This prize really feels like a celebration of them more than anything, and I am so delighted for that to be the case. All I can hope for now is that their collective work in this film continues to have a positive & powerful impact on as many audiences as possible. That was always our goal, and this couldn’t be a better place to start!

More than anything, I just want to thank Fresh for offering young filmmakers the opportunities they do, most of all the chance to show their film in cinemas across Ireland during this genuinely magnificent event. I will never ever forget when I first saw a short film of mine on a cinema screen back at the 2017 Fresh Film Festival, and I am not sure I would still be making films to this day if it weren’t for that moment that held my hand and said ‘You can do this. You can make something that a real cinema audience will watch. Keep going.’ The sheer joy of being able to see young filmmakers’ pieces on the silver screen is, and always will be, unparalleled. Thank you for everything Fresh! ”

2nd prize was awarded to Max Hendrickson, aged 16 from Dublin, for his film ‘The Oubliette’ – a film about a man who moves into a small apartment in a big city, and notices strange and mysterious occurrences.

3rd prize went to Director Aoife Rees aged 18 from Wexford, for her film ‘A Sad Excuse for a Teenage Girl’ – a coming of age story about Ellie who is about to turn 18 but feels overwhelmed by the thought. To try and combat it, she runs away with her childhood best friend (who happens to be a teddy) but in that she meets a new friend who shows her that in perspective, things aren’t really that bad.

The award for Best Group went to Emerging Limerick Filmmakers for ‘Asset of Teeth’, and ‘Heart of Land’ co-directed by Conall Flynn and Noah Finneran of Coláiste Iognaid Galway were dubbed Best School.

Other entries received Highly Commended Awards on the day, including Nellie Warren from Dublin for Direction for her film ‘How I Wonder’, Dylan Michael for Visual Innovation for ‘Faces’, and Kevin Meggs from Dublin for best Screenplay on ‘Sunday’.

Ireland’s Junior Young Filmmaker of the year 2022 was announced asLucy and Ruby Hand with LYCS Youth Work Programme James Joyce Street, Dublin, for their film ‘Litter Picker’.

The International winner was Ava Bounds from the UK, for her film ‘Beth’.

In addition, a number of specialist awards were presented for the Seniors including the RTE 60 Second Short Film Award, the RTE Factual Award, Radharc Trust Awards, and best animation in addition to the international awards.

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