Deadline drama for film festival's appeal for funds

April 27th, 2019 9:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Fastnet Film Festival director Hilary McCarthy.

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By Paddy Mulchrone


THE clock is ticking for the Fastnet film festival’s appeal for a financial shot-in-the-arm for its latest project.

The Schull-based festival is offering a spectacular array of rewards for those who can help secure the future of the town’s planned new performance centre.

But time is running out for the €40,000 Kickstarter crowd-funding appeal and if pledges don’t hit the target by May 4th, money will not be taken from existing donors’ accounts and the festival will lose the lot.

Festival organisers have even reached out to Irish Americans in the arts to help seal the deal on their dazzling plans for the iconic old Allied Irish Bank building at the top of the town’s main street. They want to transform it into a leading performance and film centre.

The seaside village’s festival of short films is a success story that celebrated 10 years last year, and runs again next month from May 22nd to 26th.  

The film festival in the town without a cinema has already brought an estimated €1.5m in business to the Mizen peninsula each year, showing short movies everywhere from pubs, hotels, restaurants and cafés to a ferryman’s bedroom on neighbouring Long Island.

Exciting plans for the bank building have already been boosted by the generosity of local Irish American benefactors William and Judith Bollinger, who have not only gifted the premises to the festival, but promised two-to-one funding for every euro raised.

So if the €40,000 is raised next month, that will instantly become €120,000 to get the performance centre project going.

Once it gets the green light, Schull will finally get its own 120-seat cinema, performance and exhibition space, with the main floorspace boasting moveable seats to host films, concerts and conferences.

There will be an extension to the new building and renovations to existing offices for meeting rooms and editing suites. There are plans for state-of-the-art sound and lighting and the latest technology for video presentation and projection.

Festival director Hilary McCarthy told The Southern Star: ‘The Performance Centre will be a base for film makers working in the area and an amazing asset for the community. The renovated centre will give us the space to offer the same range of workshops and masterclasses we host during the festival, only these will happen year-round.’

The University of Texas at Austin and London’s University of the Arts have both expressed interest in establishing ongoing film education programmes at the centre. To donate, see

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