A new approach for the new gen at First Cut! Youth Film Festival 2021

Now set to host its twelfth edition, the First Cut! Youth Film Festival continues from tomorrow in its work showcasing and encouraging the next generation of Irish filmmakers. The annual Youghal-based event presents films in all genres by rising filmmakers, schools and youth groups as well as offering an insight into the Irish industry through workshops and talks by film pros.


The First Cut! Youth Film Festival 2021 will be taking place online from April 17th – May 9th. Accessible to participants from Ireland and abroad, the festival will provide three weeks of packed programming for young filmmakers from the ages of 12 up to 24, with screenings, workshops and talks in a safe and inclusive virtual format.

A screening of Cartoon Saloon’s latest hit Wolfwalkers, a Q&A with Cork’s own Shaun O’Connor and plenty of panels and workshops will be among the highlights of this year’s First Cut. The festival will be opened up officially tomorrow evening by rising star Ayoola Smart, another Cork native who is making a name for herself in productions including Killing Eve, Smother and more.

A series of exciting workshops is set to take place to develop young talents’ love and skills in the world of film. Learn how to develop amazing special effects at Michaél Fitzgerald’s ‘Stormtroopers SFX Workshop’, get an intro to puppetry from Dominic Moore, a fascinating look at using archive footage to tell new stories from renowned filmmaker Tadgh O’Sullivan and even start gunning for our jobs here at Film In Dublin by taking part in a panel and workshop for Young Critics hosted by journo Esther McCarthy.

Events at the First Cut festival are free to attend but to require booking. See more information at https://watch.eventive.org/firstcutfilmfestival.

Check out some more scheduling for the First Cut! Youth Film Festival 2021 below:

Saturday April 17th, 8pm

The First Cut festival will be officially opened by actor Ayoola Smart, who grew up in Schull, Co Cork and whose career has gone from strength to strength across multiple platforms. She has appeared on our screens in Killing Eve, Death in Paradise and most recently as Cathy in RTE’s Smother.


The New Normal: Open Call Programme 1

A programme of short films by young filmmakers received through the festival’s open call that reflect on and react to living with the Covid-19 crisis.




Sun April 18th, 7pm

Youghal: Looking Forward, Looking Back – John McGrath: My Life in the Clock Gate

The premiere of a documentary on Youghal legend John McGrath made by students at Pobalscoil na Trionóide, the local secondary school.


Thur April 22nd, 6.30pm

Kabin Studio: The Curious Case of the Missing Shandon Bell

The Curious Case of the Missing Shandon Bell is a unique three-episode crime mystery from the Kabin Studio, a community youth music space in Knocknaheeny, Cork.


Thur April 22nd, 7.30pm

First Cut! Open Call Programme 2

A rich and diverse programme of short films by young people aged 12 to 18 from Ireland and abroad.




Fri April 23rd, 8pm

Spotlight Open Call Programme

Spotlight is First Cut’s open call programme celebrating the vision of emerging filmmakers in their early twenties, whether in third level film courses or working independently.


Sat April 24th, 8pm

Shaun O’Connor: Festival Special Guest 2021

First Cut! Youth Film Festival is delighted to welcome Shaun O’Connor as the festival special guest for 2021. Shaun will discuss his films A White Horse and Mary as part of an in-depth Q&A.


Fri April 30th, 8pm

Focus on Women in Film

This programme celebrates three compelling and distinctive female voices in Irish filmmaking today: Ayla Amano, Megan K Fox and Bonnie Dempsey.




Sat May 1st, 7.30pm

Getting Started in TV Panel Discussion

This panel discussion is aimed at anyone with an interest in getting into television or simply with a curiosity about the behind-the-scenes workings of some of the most creative homegrown TV currently on Irish screens.


Tues May 4th, 6.30pm

Cork Young Filmmakers – Filmmaking in Lockdown
A programme of short films made by young people as part of Cork Young Filmmakers and First Cut! workshops in 2020 and 2021.


Thurs May 6th, 6.30pm

All About Animation 1

A special feature on animation in two parts. The first features films made as part of First Cut’s Animania: My World in Motion workshops and Animation DIngle’s YAOTY (Young Animator of the Year) nominated films.


Thurs May 6th, 7pm

All About Animation 2

The second part of a special feature on animation is a programme of animation shorts from the First Cut! open call.




Fri May 7th, 6pm

Creating New Stories from the Past

A screening of films made as part of a workshop collaboration between First Cut! and the Make Film History project. The workshop looked at how to use archival film to inspire and inform new stories.


May 7th, 8pm

Cork International Film Festival Programme

A specially curated screening of shorts selected from the 2020 Cork International Film Festival programme.


Sat May 8th, 6.30pm

Will Collins – Screenwriting Masterclass

A talk by Wolfwalkers screenwriter Will Collins in which he shares insights into how he became a writer, how he gets ideas and how he translates these into stories for film.




Sat. May 8th, 7.30pm

First Cut! 2021 Awards Ceremony

Festival Director Mary McGrath and the First Cut! Youth Council announce the 2021 First Cut! Youth Film Festival award winners.


Sat May 8th, 8pm


The closing event of First Cut! Youth Festival 2021 is a screening of the stunning Oscar and BAFTA nominated feature Wolfwalkers followed by a Q&A with directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, and screenwriter Will Collins.


About Luke Dunne

Luke is a writer, film addict and Dublin native who loves how much there is for film fans in his home county. A former writer for FilmFixx and the Freakin' Awesome Network, he founded Film In Dublin to pursue his dual dreams of writing about film and never sleeping ever again.

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