First Cut! Youth Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing new films by young filmmakers. It takes place at the Mall Arts Centre in Youghal, Co. Cork.
First Cut! provides young filmmakers between the ages of 12 and 24 with a platform for screening their short films. It is committed to ensuring that these screenings take place in a friendly and vibrant atmosphere where young people can meet and mingle with likeminded peers and share their passion for making films. Whether working individually or as part of a school or youth group, panel discussions with participating filmmakers allow young audiences to take inspiration from the experiences of their contemporaries.
Its youth-centred approach is also reflected in the First Cut! Youth Advisory Council, a rotating group of young people who have acted as festival advisors for each edition. 2018 will see the introduction of a Youth Advisory Council prize, for which the Council will select a film to be awarded from the open submissions. This prize is in addition to the jury awards First Cut! presents every year for Best Film, Best Director, Best Young Adults Film, Best Schools Film, Best Animation, Best Music Video and Best Documentary.
First Cut! also offers workshops and presentations by professional filmmakers at the cutting edge of Irish cinema. Festival audiences have had the opportunity to listen to and engage with top-tier directors including the Oscar-nominated Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner) and Peter Foott, creator of the phenomenally successful The Young Offenders film and series. In 2018, Cartoon Saloon’s Mark Mullery, technical director of The Breadwinner, was the festival’s special guest. He gave a presentation on that renowned Kilkenny-based animation studio and a glimpse into the making of The Breadwinner.
First Cut! Youth Film Festival is the home of YMVC (Youth Music Video Competition). Presented in partnership with Feel Good Lost, this annual competition offers five young emerging filmmakers the opportunity to create a music video under the mentorship of top music video director Brendan Canty and producer David Lester Mooney.
Now in its ninth year, First Cut! emerged from Cork Young Filmmakers (CYF), a programme of practical filmmaking workshops for schools and youth groups run throughout County Cork by Cork Film Centre, and funded by Cork County Council and SECAD. While constantly expanding in scope, the festival continues to feature CYF films as an integral part of its programme and remains true to supporting local, grass-roots youth filmmaking. At the same time, the range of national and international film First Cut! presents keeps broadening. 2018 has seen the festival extended by a day to become a four-day event: four days packed with screenings, workshops and discussions.
First Cut! Youth Film Festival receives core funding from the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Cork County Council Arts Office, and is supported by Cork Film Centre. First Cut! has always been a not-for-profit organization. In 2018, it gained charitable status. Its charity number is 20106652.