Article by Hiram Harrington
On a blustery December night, deep in the heart of Trinity’s exam season, student filmmakers of all years and experiences meet in a cosy side room in Workman’s to share their work. This is no average society event, nor is it a ritual screening of David Lynch’s entire filmography. This is The Film Scene.
The second night of the event’s inaugural run took place the first week in December. Following the success of the first event (boasting upwards of fifty attendees and a slate of promising young filmmakers), the second session promised to be equally as entertaining and educational. Putting it in such a teacherly manner doesn’t do it justice, to this reviewer’s own detriment. The format of The Film Scene is fairly simple: student filmmakers submit their films in advance, five of which are selected for screening by the organisers. On the night of the event, the films are shown to the audience one at a time, followed by an audience Q&A with the director. These questions are largely about inspirations, thought processes, and the general challenges of being a student filmmaker (many of which the audience can relate to). This is all hosted by The Film Scene’s creator, Hannah-Kate Sheridan, herself a Senior Freshman Film student at Trinity College.
The experience at The Film Scene’s second night of screenings was one of relaxed enjoyment. Due to the looming assignment deadlines and the incoming exam season, the number of attendees had unfortunately dwindled. This did not deter those present from engaging in the forum, however. Five films were shown by students from a number of Dublin-based universities and colleges, with the first film made as part of a collective whose films focused on the ideas of Human Rights Issues.
The evening reflected the diversity in Dublin’s filmmaking community, from a short about a child bomber to an absurdist-inspired, nonsensical short about a disintegrating relationship. It becomes evident however that certain student filmmakers have greater resources than others – some universities and student groups have access to a wealth of funding and modern, industry-standard equipment, while others are forced to be more resourceful in their methods.
Sheridan says that she started the event as a way for student filmmakers to showcase their work as well as meet others who shared their passion. A notable feature of these social interactions was the inclusion of a name badge with the person’s name and preferred film production roles (ie. director, producer, musician, etc). The idea being, of course, if one was looking for an individual to fit this role on your next picture, all it would take is a look around the room to find someone with that skill. Sheridan, whose primary interest in film is in music composition, notes that there are existing forums for student musicians to showcase their work through open mics. Allowing student filmmakers to show their work in a non-competitive environment, and to get feedback on said work, will ultimately have the same confidence and skill-building benefits that performers would from a practice stage.
It’s clear from the interest around both events from Dublin’s student film community across education institutions means The Film Scene is a much-needed outlet. Sheridan’s Jools Holland-esque engagement with directors and passion for the films alone is enough for this reviewer to want to keep coming back. Even for the sense of community alone, it’s wonderful knowing you’re not the only struggling filmmaker in the city.