Fastnet Film Festival returns to the seaside village of Schull in West Cork from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th May. This up close and personal festival celebrates the craft of film, allowing industry professionals and aspiring filmmakers to share ideas in the same space. Over five days at the end of May each year, visitors to the festival can enjoy feature and short film screenings, Masterclasses, Workshops, Seminars, Round Table Discussions, Q&As and live music, as well as entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, including craft and drama workshops, storytelling and kid’s cinema club.
Previous contributors have included Jim Sheridan, John Madden, Mike Leigh, Gerard Stembridge, Jack Gold, Kirsten Sheridan, Steve Coogan, Greg Dyke, Tony Barry and this year sees more big names head to West Cork. This year’s line-up includes Stephen Frears, Noel Pearson, Kevin Brownlow, Carl Davis, Lenny Abrahamson, Jim Sheridan, Greg Dyke, David Puttnam, Liam O’Maonlaí, Joan Bergin, Maureen Hughes, Pat McCabe, Peter Foott, Stephen Rennicks and Tony O’Callaghan to name but a few.
But the festival is just as much for new filmmakers and the organisers aim to screen as many short films as possible in interesting locations. They also use technology to their advantage, with WiFi hotspots set up all over the village so people can view the films at any time of the day or night.
“Distributed Cinema” is Schull’s very own dedicated server to short films. Anyone with a smartphone, laptop or iPad can access past years submitted films, archived workshops and Q&As. During the festival, the server is used alongside HD media players, to screen shorts and features, in a number of smaller venues throughout the locality.
This is all very impressive considering that the town actually has no cinema. So how can a town with no cinema host a film festival? By channelling the creative spirit that imbues the festival to turn the most unexpected of places into unique viewing areas.
From a bookshop, to an art gallery, numerous local pubs and restaurants, to the village hall, and the local hotel, there will be over twelve quirky cinemas where visitors can view the 350+ films on offer for the duration of the festival. All of the venues will have their names changed to cinema names such as ‘The Adelphi’, ‘The Plaza’, ‘The Metropole’ and ‘The Savoy’ as the festival organisers embrace the motto: “Our Village is our Screen”.
While the prize fund on offer is in excess of €13,000, Fastnet Film Festival put the emphasis on taking part and are keen to encourage filmmakers to meet and exchange ideas and information. It makes the festival the perfect place to visit for aspiring filmmakers and lovers of filming alike. With venues like nowhere else, innovative viewing experiences and a picturesque backdrop, there’s nothing quite like Fastnet Film Festival.