(Collaborators on ‘Captured’ including director Penny McGovern right)
Fresh Film Festival/Hothouse Film Captured Premiere
Monday 2nd April 6pm Collins Barracks, Dublin
The closing Fresh Film Festival event was the premiere of the ‘Hothouse’ film Captured in association with Fresh Film Festival and the Arts Council. It was a glittering end to a jam-packed festival.
At six o’clock in Collins Barracks, Dublin people from all over the country, young and old, are gathered outside The National Museum of Ireland. “The doors are open,” announces Tony Tracey, to an excited looking audience who are taking their seats in the small theatre, “show us what you’ve done.”
Tonight is the premiere of the much anticipated short film Captured. Twelve young filmmakers, aged 16-20, alongside their family and friends, finally get to see the film they worked on for almost a year. This included pre-production, in which the young filmmakers came together at a Hothouse workshop in April 2011 and devised a treatment to send to the Arts Council to ask for funding. Later, at Filmbase, they listened to each other’s ideas and then went ahead to write the first draft and assign various roles. The week of shooting was scheduled for November 2011 and five months were allocated for post-production. One year later, on Monday, April 2nd, the work was revealed and each filmmaker got to see their own influence on the film.
The evening began with a talk by Tony Tracey, NUI Galway lecturer and Fresh Film Festival board member and Jayne Foley, the festival director on the integral role of Fresh Film in nurturing the talent of a new generation of filmmakers. Fresh Film doesn’t look out for the best quality film amongst the hundreds of entries they receive, but rather, they aim to recognize individual talent. The talk was followed by a special screening of this year’s winning film at Fresh Film Festival, the emotionally engaging and beautifully shot Together in Dreams, made by David Brazil, Conor Igoe, and Shane O’Brien from Dublin.
The film was made without any financial assistance and the filmmakers stated the only solid foundation for this film was their ‘can do’ attitude. Though there is a stark difference between the film’s budget and that for Captured, there was an interesting similarity in each: they both featured an imaginary person. Whether an imaginary friend or an imaginary, ideal self, this feature reflects an interesting preoccupation in the Irish filmmakers of tomorrow and the films neatly coincided on the night.
Afterwards, the audience were treated to a speech by the young director herself, Penny McGovern, who thanked her cast and crew as well as the on-set mentors, all at Fresh Film and, of course, her family. Then came the climax of the evening: the first ever screening of Captured. The theatre is quiet, the music low and ominous. We open to a close up of a young girl pointing a camera lens at the audience: her name is Rachel, the girl shortly to become obsessed with taking pictures of herself, played by Maggie O’Donovan. As Rachel gazes at herself in the mirror, camera in her hands, the film ends on an ambiguous note, allowing the viewers to catch their breaths and draw their own conclusions.
When the credits begin to role, it becomes apparent the amount of people who gave up their time to help with this film. And yet, there are those like Gillian Fenton and Ciarda Tobin who did not appear in the credits but must be acknowledged as they fed the filmmakers for the entire week. The important lesson each filmmaker took from working on this film is to appreciate all those who not only helped conceive this idea and then transfer it to the screen, but also those who lend a hand putting the final pieces of a set together or sticking a pin into the actresse’s costume ten seconds to action. Even a film of this length has provided these young people with vital experience on working on a real film set and collaborating with equally demanding, imaginative minds. Penny McGovern, an inspiring young director who motivated a team of talented filmmakers, has captured a significant moment in Irish film, when the youth of today overcame the barriers to their art.