The achievements of Cinemagic young people will be celebrated in the USA in the coming week with special screenings of A Christmas Star taking place in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
Representatives from the film including young cast members and young performers from the film and the film’s music video will make the trip from Belfast to the USA to share the story of the film and showcase it to new audiences.
The Sony Wonder Technology Lab will host two viewings of the film this Saturday 5th December for New York audiences and the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the US Department of State hosts the film on Monday 7th December with the event featuring a performance from the Gillian Doogan Dance School. The USA screenings culminate on Thursday 10th December with the LA premiere taking place in the TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood.The World Premiere of A Christmas Star took place Odyssey Cinemas Belfast for 2500 film fans and it has received widespread success over the last month.
Cinemagic patron and Oscar winning writer, Julian Fellowes, (Gosford Park, and Downton Abbey) launched the project just a year and a half ago. A host of actors and supporters of Cinemagic including Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Suranne Jones (Scott & Bailey, Doctor Foster), Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey, Coronation Street), Bronagh Waugh (Hollyoaks, The Fall), and Richard Clements (Good Vibrations, The Fall) feature in the movie made by young people, directed by Richard Elson (M.I. High, Steffi), and written by Maire Campbell (Punch). The festive story, set in Northern Ireland, is narrated by Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler’s List), and features a cameo from Kylie Minogue and guest appearance from Dermot O’Leary and Julian Fellowes. The film soundtrack is an original song We Can Shine, written by Ryan McGroarty and a team of young people and it is performed by Zena Donnelly.
A Christmas Star tells the heartwarming story of Noelle, a spirited young who embarks on a magical journey to save her village pottery factory. The innovative film production gave budding young actors the chance to work on a feature production and gave young filmmakers the chance to work in every department of the film including cinematography, editing, costume, production, locations, continuity and more.
Over 40 trainee crew aged 18 – 25 were mentored by industry professionals as they worked side by side on this film gaining invaluable experience in all aspects of filmmaking. Mentors included director Richard Elson (M.I. High, Steffi), award-winning film composer Patrick Doyle (Brave, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), music supervisor Maggie Rodford, (The King’s Speech, Anna Karenina), casting directors Hubbard Casting, (The Commitments, Dracula Untold), camera operator, Ian Fox, (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man), producer Iain Smith, (Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road) and production manager, Terry Bamber (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Skyfall), who all took a break from their own shooting schedules to mentor the trainees.
Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings, MBE said “We are so proud of every single person involved in bringing A Christmas Star to life. It gives Cinemagic the platform to showcase the creativity and talent that exists among our young people. Thank you to everyone who supported the project and enabled us to give such a wonderful opportunity to our young people.”
Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State Andrew O’Brien said “The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships is happy to bring A Christmas Star to Washington. As an Irish-American myself, I applaud the film’s efforts to provide exciting opportunities to the next generation of filmmakers in Northern Ireland.”
Norman Houston Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau said “It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Cinemagic in bringing this unique and truly inspiring project to our screens. Cinemagic has long been the outlet for some of Northern Ireland’s most creative talent, and it deserves all the recognition from the stars of film and television that it has received. The experience that the children involved in this production have received will undoubtedly contribute to the growing strength of the creative industries in Northern Ireland. Cinemagic has transformed lives for 25 years, and this latest project, capturing the magic of Christmas, will inspire many young people and future generations. We have a very bright future to look forward to.”
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said “Cinemagic’s inspirational work over the past 25 years is to be commended and the making of ‘A Christmas Star’ has given even more talented young people across the island of Ireland a chance to experience the thrill of working on a full feature film. Tourism Ireland has been delighted to support Cinemagic make this fantastic film as we know that films and TV are key drivers of tourists and the film showcases some of Northern Ireland’s iconic landscapes.”