Schull’s Fastnet Film Festival, which was launched last night, costs €160,000 to host, attracts 7,000 visitors, and generates a spend of €6m in the local economy.
Programme manager, Hilary McCarthy summed up the pulling power of the festival saying this year’s event has 55 special guests appearing in 13 venues in a location that can proudly claim ‘our village is our screen.’
The village has no official cinema but Hilary confirmed that work on turning the old AIB bank – which is currently serving as the festival's box office – into a film centre will begin in earnest this summer.
Meanwhile, the launch party on Wednesday night proved to be the biggest ever with hundreds attending the al fresco party at Grove House.
Milling among highly recognisable faces from TV and film were hundreds of young people – including students from the University of the Arts in London, UCC and Trinity – who were working as part of a 60-strong crew of volunteers that ensure the mammoth undertaking all goes smoothly.
Lots of people turned out to see if they could spot some of their favourite actors, such as Paul Mescal and Joe Alwyn. There were lots of rumours that Joe’s girlfriend, American songstress Taylor Swift, would be in town for the weekend.
Fans of Kin were on the lookout for Ciarán Hinds but theatre buffs were most keen to meet the multi-award winning actor Stephen Rae.
Other exciting guests in Schull this weekend includes Aisling Walsh, Alison Oliver, David Puttnam, Pauline McLynn and Lenny Abrahamson, plus lots of film experts keen to share their craft.
The festival will host a series of seminars, masterclasses and workshops covering a range of topics including acting, casting, auditioning, cross platform media, shorts to feature, sound, production, multi camera filming for TV, distribution and more. Fringe events include live music, drama, book readings, an Antarctic virtual reality exhibition, café viewing all over town and high quality, free family entertainment for all.