• Northern Ireland’s most heart-warming family feel-good movie of 2018!
  • Described by the film’s director, Tony Mitchell, as a “love letter to Belfast and the people of Northern Ireland.”
  • GRACE AND GOLIATH showcases the beauty of Northern Ireland, the warmth, humour and spirit of its people, and has already received international acclaim.
  • Produced by Cinemagic, the award-winning Belfast-based film and television charity for young people, and aspiring young film trainees from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Los Angeles as part of a unique Cinemagic training programme.

The world premiere of Cinemagic’s new feature film GRACE AND GOLIATH will take place on Tuesday 2 October 2018 at Odyssey Cinemas, Belfast (red carpet 6.30pm, screening 7.30pm).  The premiere will mark the official launch of this year’s Cinemagic Film Festival in Belfast (October/November 2018), the largest film and television festival designed for, and by, young people in the UK and Ireland.  Both events are in association with Hagan Homes.



 GRACE AND GOLIATH (Cert PG) is a family feel-good movie that will make you proud to come from Northern Ireland! The film will scoop you up in its mighty arms and carry you on an emotional but hugely enjoyable roller coaster. A Hollywood big shot (and he knows it!), Josh Jenkins, sweeps into Belfast to make a movie, but before long his world crashes and he loses everything. Lily (the hotel cleaner) invites him to stay with her crazy family and gradually the people of this ‘strange’ city touch his heart, forever. It’s a powerful story of how one man’s GOLIATH ego is brought down by one single blow…of GRACE! With a superb home grown cast and cameos from Ciarán Hinds, Suranne Jones, Sally Lindsay and Bronagh Waugh, GRACE AND GOLIATH is set to be the family film of the year! 

Canadian actor Emy Aneke (Supergirl) plays the role of the Californian A-list star, Josh Jenkin, who is stranded and penniless in Belfast after a movie goes wrong. His giant ego is challenged by a host of characters, including a little girl called Grace (Savanna Burney Keatings); her father Marcus (Ciarán McMenamin), mother Mel (Aoibhinn McGinnity) and grandmother Lily (Olivia Nash MBE). 

Cameo appearances include Carl Frampton, Patrick Kielty, Darren Clarke, Roma Downey, Tommy Bowe, Pamela Ballantine, Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney, Marc Mallett, Laura Whitmore and Linzi Lima. Hundreds of extras from across Northern Ireland were also involved in the making of the film.

The film’s main locations were Belfast (inc. The Europa Hotel, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park and Victoria Square) and the north coast of Northern Ireland (inc. Golf Links Hotel and Holiday Homes, Barry’s Amusements and The Harbour Bar, Portrush).



Adrian Fulle, Executive Producer, Variety, the weekly American entertainment trade magazine and website, said: “For me, GRACE AND GOLIATH is one of those gems I never expected to find during my lifelong search for great stories. As a filmgoer and storyteller, I love everything about this movie; it’s writing is top notch, the performances were outstanding, and it has such a strong heart that it’s impossible to not love it. As a dad, it gave my daughter and I a very memorable experience we could bond over, and that was probably the most important thing for me.”

Ross King MBE, ITV TV host, commented: “Loved this movie, laughter, tears it has it all. A movie with a real heart!”

Jay Roewe, HBO Senior vice president, West Coast Productions, described the film as “Another fun and fresh story from Cinemagic! Well done!”.



During the production of GRACE AND GOLIATH, 48 aspiring filmmakers aged from 17 to 25, from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Los Angeles were given the chance to take part in a six-week training programme under the guidance of British/Canadian director Tony Mitchell (The Bible, AD The Bible Continues, Primeval, Supervolcano and Flood), producer and Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keatings MBE, and GRACE AND GOLIATH screenwriter Maire Campbell.

The aspiring young filmmakers got practical experience in a range of disciplines from directing and production right through to costume, make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. Significantly, as a result of their input, they also gained their first ever credit on a feature film.  

Tony Mitchell, Director, who has lived in Northern Ireland for the last ten years, explains why he wanted to get involved with GRACE AND GOLIATH:  

In addition to the film’s redemptive storyline I felt the time was right to show a modern, progressive Belfast and breakaway from its historical ‘troubled’ past. As a ‘blow-in’ I see it differently and wanted to use that to focus on its beauty and less on its division.Secondly, here was a film from Northern Ireland with a mixed-race lead actor and several very strong female roles – it was our turn to embrace change. 

“Lastly, and most importantly the ethos of Cinemagic is to train young people. In addition to our small highly skilled indie crew we had 48 young trainees shadowing our every move; a challenging prospect that turned out to be an amazing experience for everyone involved. I couldn’t imagine doing another film without them.”

Joan Burney Keatings MBE, producer and executive producer of GRACE AND GOLIATH, and Chief Executive of Cinemagic, the award-winning Belfast-based film and television charity for young people, discusses

“We are thrilled with the excitement and positive feedback, both locally and internationally, for our latest feature film GRACE AND GOLIATH. Private screenings earlier this year for industry representatives in Los Angeles and New York generated significant interest from distributors and international recognition for Cinemagic.

 “The film showcases the beauty of Northern Ireland, its stunning landscape and also the genuine warmth, humour and spirit of the Northern Ireland people. We are unique in so many ways and this feature film captures and conveys our positivity.”

 Ms Burney Keatings continues: “GRACE AND GOLIATH also offered young film trainees from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Los Angeles to take part in a unique Cinemagic training model. This pioneering model, which offers trainees invaluable practical, hands-on experience of working on a film, was initially designed for Cinemagic’s first feature film A CHRISTMAS STAR in 2014. Due to its huge success it has been further developed and now incorporates a fantastic international element working with young trainees from Los Angeles.”

A behind the scenes documentary linked to GRACE AND GOLIATH, entitled TRAINEE FILMMAKERS and directed by a previous Cinemagic participant, Sammy Nutt, won a platinum award at the World Documentary Awards in Bali earlier this year. The documentary also featured Cinemagic patrons Liam Neeson, Saoirse Ronan and Paula Malcolmson, to name but a few.

UK sales company Starline Entertainment recently picked up the rights to GRACE AND GOLIATH and will distribute the film internationally. 



GRACE AND GOLIATH (Cert PG) will open in cinemas from Friday 5 October 2018.

Cinemas include Omniplex Banbridge; Omniplex Craigavon; Omniplex Dundonald; Omniplex Lisburn; Omniplex Omagh; IMC Ballymena; IMC Enniskillen; IMC Omagh; IMC Banbridge; IMC Newtownards; Movie House City Side; Movie House Dublin Road; Movie House Glengormley; Movie House Coleraine and Odyssey Belfast.

 A series of school screenings will also be available across cinemas in Northern Ireland. For further information on this please contact your local cinema or film distributor Eclipse Pictures on



 GRACE AND GOLIATH was funded by Department for Communities, Creative Skillset, Panavision, Tourism Ireland, Belfast City Council, George Best Belfast City Airport and Ulster Bank. The Los Angeles young trainee filmmakers travelled to Northern Ireland for the filming of GRACE AND GOLIATH with the assistance of funding from The Ireland Funds, Belfast City Council, British Council and The Irish American Partnership.

 Maeve Walls, Director of Culture, Department for Communities, discusses: ‘The Department for Communities was delighted to be able to support this exciting production. Cinemagic has developed a worldwide reputation for excellence in children’s programming and in creative and innovative approaches to tackling poverty and social exclusion through the medium of the creative industries. Projects such as this give our young people the confidence, information and knowledge to develop key skills and experience so that they can flourish creatively in the film industry and wider creative industries. Wishing you every success with the film, and congratulations to all involved.’

 Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Head of Film Creative Skillset, adds: “It is always incredibly fulfilling seeing a production that we have supported arrive at this moment – a world premiere. Creative Skillset is incredibly proud of supporting the training that led to a number of young people being given that all important first break and achieve a credit on a commercial feature film. Grace and Goliath saw training take place across a variety of employment grades; camera, location, art department, production and location management, and that training put to use on the production. 

Congratulations go to Joan, Shauna and the entire Cinemagic family on this very special night.”

 Naomi Waite, Director of Marketing, Tourism NI comments: “Northern Ireland is an attractive destination to produce high quality film and television drama with international appeal. Most recently recognised as a filming location for the highly successful Game of Thrones series, screen tourism is now responsible for influencing the decision of tens of thousands more visitors to come to Northern Ireland each year.

 We are delighted to see yet another opportunity for the spectacular beauty of Northern Ireland to be showcased to a global audience. We commend the producers for their dedication to bringing the history, culture and people of Northern Ireland to life in this unique and uplifting drama and we wish them every success.”

 Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Northern Ireland, explains why Tourism Ireland, which is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas, supports Cinemagic: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to work with Cinemagic and the great work it does in hosting global talent to mentor young people in film and television. Northern Ireland is at the forefront of TV production, with HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones bringing thousands of tourists.  We believe that a film like GRACE AND GOLIATH raises the profile of Northern Ireland internationally and whets appetites, encouraging audiences to come and experience the great welcome and featured sites first hand.”

 Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, says: “We’re very proud to have invested in the filming of Grace and Goliath, in helping the young LA trainee filmmakers to travel to Belfast, and in the Cinemagic Festival itself, which continues to grow in quality, scale, engagement and profile under the able leadership of Joan Burney Keatings and her team. 

 “Belfast and NI really punch above their weight when it comes to the creative industries – and that’s why we’ve selected it as one of our key areas for the Belfast Region City Deal which we’re negotiating with our partners. We want to see more and better jobs created here, more inclusive economic growth and the spotlight shone on our region. Grace and Goliath shows we’ve no shortage of talent – and the sooner the world knows about it, the better!”

Michelle Hatfield, Director of Corporate Services, George Best Belfast City Airport, adds: George Best Belfast City Airport is a very proud sponsor of Cinemagic’s latest feature film, GRACE AND GOLIATH, as it makes its world premiere in Belfast, the city in which this hilarious yet touching film is set. 

“The film industry in Northern Ireland continues to flourish and within that, Cinemagic provides a really unique space for young people to develop their skills and establish themselves as the next generation of television and filming talent.  

 “We work closely with Cinemagic to inspire and motivate young people to achieve their full potential, as we do with our own employees at the airport, and to provide opportunities that equip them with the skills and knowledge required to do so. GRACE AND GOLIATH captures the true spirit of Belfast and its positive, progressive portrayal of Northern Ireland will no doubt shine a light on the region encouraging audiences to come and experience our city and its legendary people for themselves. We are delighted to continue our partnership with Cinemagic and look forward to showcasing the incredible talent of our young people at the world premiere of GRACE AND GOLIATH.”

Kieran McLoughlin, CEO of The Ireland Funds, continues: “Cinemagic achieves exactly what it’s title says, creating magic through cinema. The excellence of the art it produces is matched only by its great social benefit. We are proud to be long term supporters.”

Norman J. Houston OBE, Director/Counsellor, NI Bureau (Northern Ireland Bureau North America), adds: “Congratulations to Cinemagic and all the young actors, technicians and scriptwriters who have made Grace and Goliath such a wonderful feel-good movie.  We are delighted to support Cinemagic’s work in the United States with children from under privileged communities.”

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