A 17-year-old Southsider has been crowned Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2021.
Ella Nethercott from Rathgar won the prestigious award at Fresh International Film Festival for her deeply inspirational short film.
Titled ‘Learning to Dance Like a Bird’, Ella’s film is about a young girl struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who is taken out of her comfort zone when she meets a boy who helps her to let go.
Fresh International Film Festival went digital this year as it celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Senior Awards 2021 took place online via Fresh International Film Festival’s YouTube channel.
This year’s competition received over 1,200 entries with presenter and documentary filmmaker Stephen Byrne and comedian and social creative Justine Stafford hosting this year’s online awards.
Speaking about her win, Ella said, “It was an absolute honor to win Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year.
“I’m extremely proud of myself and of how much I have grown throughout this process.
“It has been a huge honour to participate in the Fresh Film Festival over the last two years and I’m so grateful for the platform they gave me to express myself and meet like-minded people.
“I had such a genuinely incredible time making the film but to then receive recognition on top of that just made the experience all the more unforgettable.
“I looked at this film as a form of escapism for me as I was struggling through lockdown.
“I wanted to explore a contrast with our current age.
“I didn’t want the story to be tainted by technology, especially after spending so much time glued to my screens, and so I brought it back to a time before the era of smartphones, a time I see as liberating and free.
“I love music and so I put a lot of time into finding songs which narrated the ideas I was trying to portray. I spent a lot of time developing Eddie.
“She is a character that is very close to my heart and I put a lot of work into exploring what made her tick.
“After my last film I wanted to follow real people and real issues, which is what I’m planning on doing in the future.
“I didn’t want to romanticise the hardships of mental health and so I really tried to emphasise those raw struggles, while still presenting a teenage romance above it all.”
Jayne Foley, Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Film said:
“Many films entered this year are a glimpse into how young people in Ireland are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. Films are a powerful form of expression and an effective way to educate, create awareness, improve understanding and encourage action.”