Cinemagic Los Angeles Set to Inspire and Celebrate Young Talent

Pictured L-R marking the announcement are Ignite participant Paula Bittles, Belfast City Airport, Ignite participants Robbie Hayes and Zara Burney Keatings, Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Cinemagic, and Moira Loughran, NI Connections. Photo Press Eye/Darren Kidd.

The award-winning Cinemagic Film and Television Festival for Young People announce Belfast City Airport, NI Connections and NI Bureau as sponsors of the annual Cinemagic Los Angeles Showcase being held on 28thJune at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica. 

500 invited guests from the world of film, TV, entertainment and business will watch the premier screening of Cinemagic‘s latest short film productions made in Los Angeles and Northern Ireland, empowering young people to unlock their creativity and build industry connections.

Cinemagic Los Angeles, now in its 15th year, profiles Cinemagic as a global player in the creative industries, nurtures young talent and highlights the organisation’s success stories internationally. 

Cinemagic’s Los Angeles Showcase marks the culmination of a week-long programme for teenagers from Northern Ireland and Los Angeles who will benefit from exclusive talks taking place at The Maybourne Beverly Hills, as well as tours and masterclasses with top talent from major film and TV studios in the heart of the American film industry.

The teenagers from 12 schools and colleges in Northern Ireland and Los Angeles will visit the iconic global media and entertainment company Warner Bros. Discovery, Imagine Entertainment, and hear from industry guest speakers who will share insights and experiences with them. Guests include Emmy winning TV Producer Jillian King (Rachael, Red Table Talk), and James Longman, Executive Producer of The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Representing Belfast at Cinemagic Los Angeles will be 16 teenagers who are participants of IGNITE, an innovative youth leadership initiative established by Belfast City Airport, in partnership with Cinemagic, which aims to provide young people from all backgrounds with life-changing opportunities. To date, the programme has supported over 100 young people, developing their leadership skills and setting them up for future success. The young people will collaborate with participants from recent Cinemagic Los Angeles projects including the short film productions ‘Dream Notes’ made in partnership with Hawthorne School District and ‘Heaven on Earth’ made in partnership with Jordan High School, Watts. Participants had never engaged with film and the arts in this way before and all of their achievements will be celebrated during the week’s special events.

Cinemagic Los Angeles in partnership with Belfast City Airport is supported by NI Connections, Northern Ireland Bureau, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, The Maybourne Beverly Hills, BritWeek, ELMA, CIACLA, LMU.

Cinemagic CEO, Joan Burney Keatings MBE commented: “We are incredibly proud to collaborate with so many incredible organisations from both Northern Ireland and Los Angeles. The shared ethos among everyone involved is a catalyst for Cinemagic to offer the highest quality opportunities for young people in the creative industries.”

Belfast City Airport, Chief People and Marketing Officer, Michelle Hatfield, said: “At Belfast City Airport, we are passionate about building the workforce of tomorrow and championing young people to become future leaders. Through our IGNITE programme, the young people have already achieved great things and shown incredible potential. The Cinemagic Los Angeles Showcase is the perfect opportunity to reward their hard work and dedication and celebrate their successes.”

Head of NI Connections, Moira Loughran said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Cinemagic as sponsor of the Los Angeles Showcase as we see it as a fantastic opportunity to be able to both help and highlight the immense talent of our young people from Northern Ireland. It is an opportunity to make and build industry connections in the USA and for us at NI Connections, that is what we are passionate about – making those connections and providing our diaspora with an opportunity to demonstrate the full potential of their talent and influence.”

Northern Ireland Bureau, Director, Andrew Elliott commented: “It’s such a pleasure to partner with Cinemagic Los Angeles, which is helping shape our future leaders; and providing them with the inspiration to be part of Northern Ireland’s flourishing Creative Industries.”

ENDS// For all media enquiries please contact Claire Shaw, Cinemagic Press Officer on 028 90 311 900 or email

Notes to Editor

Cinemagic ( is an award-winning film charity established 35 years ago during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, to unite young people from different communities and teach them about world cinema through film exhibition, workshops, masterclasses and film productions. In addition to its highly successful annual film festival in Belfast and programmes in Dublin and Los Angeles, it has produced multiple short films on a range of issues including homelessness, mental health, discrimination, gender-based violence, climate change and the environment. 

Cinemagic also produced two feature films, A Christmas Star, and Grace and Goliath, both of which trained aspiring young filmmakers.  Patrons include Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Pierce Brosnan, Dermot O’Leary, Julian Fellowes, Suranne Jones, Ross White, David Parfitt. Cinemagic engages with 40,000 young people each year. It educates the next generation of filmmakers, from camera operators and sound engineers to actors, writers and directors, with a particular focus on inclusion and those who might face barriers entering the industry.

Cinemagic delivers programmes and festivals in Belfast, Dublin, Los Angeles, and most recently the Middle East, where it has produced ‘An Olive Branch’ and ‘Abia’,  independent short films in partnership with Jordanian NGO Generations for Peace, with Syrian and Jordanian young people, to profile the issues such as displacement, and gender-based violence.  ‘Abia’ supported by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Ireland in Jordan won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2022 British Short Film Awards. It was screened in New York, during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the UN’s observance of International Women’s Day 2023Cinemagic was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the City of Los Angeles at a screening of Abia in the Consulate General of Mexico. The certificate commended the film charity for its talent and courage shown while producing the film and how it inspired a call-to-action and important conversations around gender-based violence.

Other notable Cinemagic productions that helped spotlight social issues and inspire young people include climate change film ‘Heaven on Earth’, made with the support of the British Consulate LA and the GREAT programme, and ‘So What If It Rains’ made to mark the 25th Anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement.

IGNITE is an innovative joint youth leadership initiative established by Belfast City Airport in partnership with award-winning film charity Cinemagic. To date, the programme has supported over 100 young people, developing their leadership skills and setting them up for future success.

Launched in 2019 by Senior Vice President of HBO Jay Roewe, IGNITE inspires participants from secondary schools and higher education colleges across Greater Belfast to develop valuable employability and life skills that will open doors in the future and allow them to gain an NLP Diploma in Personal and Career Development.

NI Connections is the global diaspora initiative for Northern Ireland. The goal is to enhance the economic prosperity of the region by working with one of the greatest global assets – NI diaspora. NI Connections mission is to celebrate what makes Northern Ireland such a great place to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business, to harness the talent and influence of global diaspora to attract new international trade, foreign direct investment, education, innovation and business tourism opportunities and to showcase quality career opportunities for those considering return or relocation to thriving sectors of the NI economy.

NI Bureau The Northern Ireland Bureau is the diplomatic mission of the Northern Ireland Executive in the United States and Canada. It works to cultivate and strengthen links between various political, economic, educational, and cultural interests in Northern Ireland and North America.

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