About Us

First Cut! Youth Film Festival provides young filmmakers between the ages of 12 and 24 with a platform for screening their short films. It is committed to fostering the creative development of young filmmakers from every background and provides a broad range of programming from animation workshops and screenings for primary school students right up to events aimed at emerging filmmakers entering the film industry in their early twenties.

First Cut! is youth centred, placing great emphasis on bringing young filmmakers together. It is a positive story centred around young people and their extraordinary creativity. Diversity and inclusion are core values for this festival. All events are free to ensure accessibility for the widest possible youth audience.

The festival creates a space where young filmmakers can share their passion for making films with their peers. 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. They are also responsible for selecting a Youth Advisory Council Award for films in the open call screenings. This prize is one of the range of awards that First Cut! presents every year in a dozen categories including 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 filmmakers at the cutting edge of Irish cinema. Festival audiences have had the opportunity to listen to and engage with top-tier film professionals including directors Nora Twomey, Oscar nominated for The Breadwinner, and Peter Foott, creator of the phenomenally successful The Young Offenders film and series.

First Cut! Youth Film Festival is the home of YMVC (Youth Music Video Competition). Presented in partnership with Feel Good Lost, this innovative annual competition offers young emerging filmmakers the opportunity to create a music video under the mentorship of top music video director Brendan Canty.

First Cut! is proud to partner with Cork International Film Festival, Ireland’s first and largest film festival. CIFF is First Cut’s digital partner for our 2021 festival in which we went online for the first time. It presents an annual award to an outstanding film from the First Cut! open call selection. It also selects a curated screening of shorts from its programme to show at First Cut! every year which broadens the scope of films screened and connects young audiences with the best in international short film making.

Animation plays a major part in First Cut! Nothing conveys the magic of cinema like animation which is why First Cut! uses it to introduce our youngest audiences to the fun of filmmaking through primary school workshops, presentations by animators and family screenings.

First Cut! initially emerged from Cork Young Filmmakers (CYF), a programme of practical filmmaking workshops for schools and youth groups run throughout County Cork, managed by Cork Film Centre, and funded by Cork County Council and SECAD. The festival continues to feature CYF films as an integral part of its programme and remains true to supporting local, grass-roots youth filmmaking.

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 Education and Training Board and Cork Film Centre. Our main sponsors include Youghal Credit Union. First Cut! has charitable status.