Screen8 & The Digital Hub

At DIFF, we believe that cinema is for everyone. Since moving to Dublin 8, the Festival has been eager to explore ways of working with the local community, inspiring more people to get involved in film.  This year, The Digital Hub in partnership with the Dublin International Film Festival ran Screen8 for older people in the community – those aged 60+. This cohort of people experienced a taste of filmmaking and worked with a professional filmmaker to create their own short film.  Laura O’ Shea, Oscar and BAFTA qualifying director, writer and actor, is leading this year’s Screen8 programme. We hear from this year’s filmmaker in residence, Laura O’Shea about her experience facilitating the programme. She also gives us a sneak peek about what we can expect from the Screen8 film this year! 

Laura O’Shea, Filmmaker-in-Residence at the Digital Hub

The role of filmmaker-in-residence so far with DIFF and The Digital Hub has been very rewarding. I wasn’t sure what to expect initially when I was asked if I could lead a group in making a short film, as there’s so much scope there. What was a pleasant surprise from day one was the general enthusiasm and eagerness to learn from each participant. The group have been grabbing the challenge and running with it.  The short doc we have created, titled ‘Heart of Dublin’, contains interviews, visuals, and music that was all devised, shot and performed by the participants themselves. The classes initially began with a few weeks of brainstorming; figuring out what story they wanted to tell & how they wanted to tell it. After devising an outline and general idea, we began filming interviews between the participants where they asked each other a series of scripted questions about the Dublin 8 area and their connection to it. From there, we developed a narrative based on the answers given and have added footage and photographs that they took themselves to enhance the storytelling.  Another way they have been flexing their creative muscles has been in the form of music. Once the story of the doc began to emerge, they went ahead and wrote lyrics to a rap – which has been recorded, performed and mixed by the group themselves. I think that the final product will really be something that they all should be proud of. What it may lack in certain places, it certainly makes up for it in charm. It’s been a real pleasure getting to know these folk over the last few months, it’s been as educational for me as I hope it has been for them. I can’t wait for them to see the fruits of their labor on the big Screen at DIFF in February & March!”  A big part of the Screen8 project is the help and support received from our partner The Digital Hub, which hosts the participants each week. We asked Dr Stephen Brennan, lead on The Digital Hub’s partnerships programme about how The Digital Hub has created a symbiotic relationship with the Screen8 project and the local community. 

Dr Stephen Brennan, lead on The Digital Hub’s partnerships programme

Screen8 is oner of our core learning programmes. It started out as an activity to try and showcase the types of careers and skills that anybody creative can use and become part of the Irish film and Tv industry. Now it is as much focused on the content created by the individuals that participate and allowing them new ways of telling their stories to the world.  One of the reasons that Screen8 has continued to evolve and develop is that, year after year, the films produced by the participants are gaining more of an exciting audience. The sort of feedback we get from the participants  and those who view and interact with the content inspires us.

In the last number of years where we’ve worked with older members of our community and the stories that they tell allows us an insight into what it is like to be part of the Dublin 8 community, the Liberties with its rich culture and heritage.  

The Digital Hub has been part of the Dublin 8 community for 2 decades now. I think the community think of us, and we certainly think of the community as our home. We are trying to nurture new and exciting talent in technology and creativity into this community in order to provide a sustainable future. The future of work and jobs is all digital and we’re really trying to facilitate opportunities for the community to grow and develop those skills from within via the companies, the researches, the technologists, the creatives and everyone we work with. Screen8 gives us an opportunity to work directly with the community and it allows us to engage with experts, to bring technology and the digital world into the purview of the local community so they can use it for their own purposes. In this case, to use film as a way of telling their story to the world and it engages the whole of the community, not only in the final product but in the journey to the final product, which is just as important.” We are all looking forward to seeing the hard work of all those involved with the Screen8 project on the big screen! Check back on our website on Tuesday 7th February to view screening times for ‘The Heart of Dublin’.

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