Twenty three teenagers from Belfast schools Ashfield Girls’ High School, Malone College, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Wellington College, Aquinas Grammar School and Belfast Boys’ Model have produced two short films under the guidance of Cinemagic, as the culmination of an innovative project about mental health and wellbeing sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport and supported by Arts & Business Northern Ireland.

The teenagers were set the challenge to create the films from script to screen in three days after a series of pre-production workshops hosted by professionals from NIAMH (The Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) and Cinemagic filmmakers.
The young people took ownership of the film productions from idea generation and scriptwriting, to casting and directing. The films examine the stigma of mental health versus physical health and the effects of bully and peer pressure with the overall theme of ‘Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health’.

Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings MBE said “We are very proud of all of the talented young people that participated in this important project. The aim of initiative was to work with a group of teenagers from different schools across Belfast using the medium of film to focus on raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing. With support from George Best Belfast City Airport and Arts & Business Northern Ireland’s Investment programme, we were able to offer this creative opportunity, developing communication skills, teamwork skills and filmmaking skills”.

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility George Best Belfast City Airport, Michelle Hatfield, commented “We always look forward to an opportunity to work with the great team at Cinemagic and we are delighted to continue this partnership in 2016. Supporting the welfare and development of young people sits at the very heart of our community engagement programme. We are acutely aware that mental health is a significant issue for our young people in Northern Ireland. Good mental health awareness and initiatives allow children and adolescents to develop resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well rounded healthy adults. I commend the pupils of all schools for getting involved, but particularly for their sincerity and sensitivity in communicating this message.”

Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager, Arts & Business Northern Ireland said “This project reached out into the heart of the community giving local teenagers an amazing opportunity to develop insights into the world of filmmaking learning new talents. The project balanced covering an important topic surrounding mental health and wellbeing whilst cultivating key life skills in essential areas such as teamwork and communications. This incredible experience combined an introduction into the world of arts and media and introduced young people into the world of creative industries as potential employment prospects for the future.”

The films will be screened for the schools and all those involved later this year and during the 2016 Cinemagic Belfast International Film and Television Festival for Young People in October.


Press Information: Claire Shaw, Cinemagic Press and Marketing Officer, claire@cinemagic.org.uk  028 90 311 900

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