Fresh Film Festival began in 1997 as the Irish Schools Video Competition, an annual festival to showcase the work of filmmakers under the age of 18 years.
Every year since, the festival has gone from strength to strength, showcasing up to 200 films a festival season and launching new initiatives under the Fresh umbrella.
This year, talented young men and women from across the country showcased their abilities. Two such young men were Dylan Bickerton and Alfie Hollingsworth, who came together to form ‘1 Cent Productions’. The two filmmakers have shared their passion for filmmaking since a young age and have gone on to make a number of films together.
The Fresh Film Festival has given the two a place to get their work out to a wider audience than family and friends, and at the recent 2013 festival the pair claimed joint third place in the Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year competition.
Alfie’s love of filmmaking dates back to the tender age of 11. “One rainy day, my neighbour exclaimed that he had a Lego animation kit, created by Spielberg himself, and asked if I wanted to borrow it and try and make an animation”, he explains.
Alfie subsequently introduced Dylan to filmmaking a couple of years later and the two experimented with stickman animations and an old DV cam. Dylan describes their first film Kill Dill: “I ran upstairs with the camera on my gun, like a video game shot. I then turned around to see Alfie pop up from behind a bed and shoot me. There was then a slow death scene where I played an Oscar performance”.
The two share a mutual feeling that working together makes the filmmaking process more enjoyable and easier.
1 cent productions have entered a number of films into Fresh over the past few years, and their talent has repeatedly been recognised. In 2012, they were chosen to take part in the Hothouse Project, a program for young filmmakers in Ireland to come together to make films. Says Dylan: “I suppose I was chosen because I was lucky enough to have the people at Fresh see something in me. Captured involved me, along with other young filmmakers from all around Ireland basically just meeting up and making a film together. We got funding from the Arts council, giving us a budget of 10,000 euro”.
In a shocking turn, the young filmmakers’ ventures were put on hold when Dylan was diagnosed with cancer.
“At first, obviously, it was a shock and I wasn’t in the greatest of moods or health…”, explains Dylan. “My first chemo was awful and I was really sick afterwards, it felt horrible thinking that it would be like that for the next six months.”
Changing his negative outlook on cancer helped Dylan through his illness and recovery, along with the help of his family and friends: “They had a huge impact, because as cheesy as it sounds, sometimes when I was on my own at home just knowing that there were people there for me at any time meant a lot.”
Dylan, now having bounced back and returned to filmmaking, completed Cypher Sessions, an overview of the Belfast Dance Competition, which demonstrates his own passion for dance and which featured at Fresh this year. He and Alfie also entered two films together; the first, a promotional film for Limerick City Council on the Make A Move hip hop festival that took place in Limerick at the beginning of July last year, and the second, ‘The Dice Man’, which had been a work in progress for a long time, explores an average man’s discovery of a dice that appears to control his fate. Alfie describes their style as Guerrilla or D.I.Y.: “We do everything ourselves and even build our own equipment if we can’t afford it”.
The future of Irish film looks to be in safe hands.
For more on the Fresh Film Festival, see www.freshfilmfestival.net