Fresh Film Festival

About Fresh Film Festival

Founded in 1997 as part of the Limerick Film Festival as the Irish School’s Video Competition, Fresh Film Festival was originally a schools video competition for secondary students. It has since grown into a year round organisation with a focus on national and international filmmakers spanning the primary and secondary age groups. ‘Fresh’ has incrementally grown in scope in response to increasing numbers of entries and ‘Ireland’s Young Filmmaker Awards” now constitute three sections – Junior (7-12 years) – Senior (12- 18 years) and The International Young Filmmaker Awards. Each section is open to individual filmmakers, schools, youth and community groups in these age categories.

How Fresh Film Festival came to be

Jayne’s Story – Founder

When I grew in up the ‘80’s, we spent a lot of time watching movies, sometimes on t.v., sometimes in the cinema. Going to the cinema was and still is a magical experience for me. I love the lights dimming, the smell of popcorn, the expectant faces, waiting with the hope that the next two hours will transport and transform me.

I remember being shocked when I realized Bambi’s mother was dead (Savoy – Limerick, 1976), crying when Elliot reaches out to E.T. from his hospital bed (Kilmallock Cinema -1982) and wondering what Antoine’s questioning gaze towards the camera meant at the end of ‘The 400 Blows’ (Notting Hill, London, 1989). These images are all seared into my mind and while they are my particular memories, they are also memories that I share with millions of people across the world.

When I graduated from Limerick School of Art teacher education, in the late 1990’s, there wasn’t an outlet for young filmmakers to show their films. In setting up Fresh in 1997 we were looking to create those shared moments. We loved cinema and we wanted to create a community of young film-makers who would bond over screenings at a Festival. The Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Competition meant that the films screened and stories told would be their own.

A gentleman (in every sense of the word) John Hunt supported the early Festival and we were off. Video was king then, and we watched as video cassettes dropped through our letterbox from all over the country. And they’ve continued coming, on shiny discs, memory sticks and links now from Ireland and across the world.

Eoin McQuinn (2006), James McDonnell (2007) and Laurence Snashall (2008) talk about their association with the Fresh Film Festival and what their hopes and ambitions are for the future in the film below.

Meet the team

Jayne Foley

Our founder and Creative Director, it was Jaynes vision that brought the Fresh Film Festival to fruition and she continues to lead the team with the same passion 20 years on.

Ciarda Tobin

From workshop leader to young filmmaker’s advocate to festival manager, Ciarda has been with the festival since 2001, no one knows the filmmakers or the festival better than Ciarda.


The Panel

Fresh recruits frequently for a panel with filmmakers, facilitators, event managers, support team and technicians. We vet and run induction for the panellists so that they are ready to deliver the programme and activities. If you have a skill that might be a good fit with Fresh’s programme please contact us with your expression of interest and a cv to

Board Members


Dave Burns (is a retired UL Lecturer who is involved in the Royal Project which aims to build a 4-screen city centre cinema with cafe/bar and media training facilities in Limerick’s Athenaeum Building in Cecil Street.  He wants to promote more film-making and digital media development through better facilities and more local and national government support for film)


Brendan Maher  (Artistic Director of The Source Arts Centre in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. A graduate of Limerick Art College and  Arts Administration in UCD,  he previously worked with Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Arts Centre, Concorde Film Studios – Galway, South Tipperary Arts Centre – Clonmel and Nenagh Arts Centre).

Donal Foreman (Irish filmmaker, critic and teacher living in New York City. His first feature as writer-director, Out of Here, was theatrically released in Ireland in 2014, after winning awards from the Jameson Dublin Film Festival and the Dublin Film Critics Circle. Donal won his first award as Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year at the Fresh Film Festival in 2003. Since 2011, he was been teaching filmmaking to public schools students around NYC for the Tribeca Film Institute)

Tony Tracy phd (Before co-establishing the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway in 2003, Tony was involved with film production and film education in a variety of contexts. He spent several years at international schools in Japan, Paris and New York where he included film in his curricula. In New York he worked in a production capacity on a number of independent films and then for Miramax International before returning to Ireland.  After an MA in Film (courses taken at NYU and UCD) he became Senior Education Officer at the Irish Film Institute from 1996-2000 and was central to the development of film education for second-level students.This included the introduction of film in the Leaving Certificate English curriculum. He spent several years developing and delivering teacher-training programmes for the IFI and Department of Education. He was appointed the first lecturer in Film Studies in NUIG. His research focuses on three principle areas: Silent Cinema; Irish and Irish-American themed cinema).

Sean Molony (Secondary School Art Teacher St. James CBS Dublin, he has produced a number of award winning short films with young people and has directed two short films).

Suzanne Kelly (Group Head of Children’s & Young People’s Programming RTÉ, is an experienced Producer within the media production industry. She is skilled and experienced in Broadcasting, Video, Camera, Film, and Documentaries. Suzanne has a BA Film & TV Production  from The Manchester Metropolitan University).

Nicole Dunphy (Entrepreneur with a BA in English and History of Art from Trinity College. Nicole owns boutique confectionary label Pandora Bell, she is also a Media Professional with years of experience in radio at Lyric FM, Live Event Producer and specialises in marketing, public relations, creative concepts, programme making, management, multi media, design, event production and management).

Rachel Meehan (Solicitor with special experience in family law).

Alison McCluskey (Project Manager BFI Future Film Academy, with 17 years experience in coordinating youth and community-led film projects in London and has produced over 200 short films with young people. with the BFI Future Film Academy she has been responsible for training 20 young people aged 16-19 in preparing to work in the tv and film industry for the past 7 years. She was the Director of the Flipside Youth Film Festival, a youth-led project and the main Tutor and Coordinator for Youth Animation and Media, a multi-award winning organisation, running filmmaking workshops for young people in South East London since its inception in November 2002. In 2006, she established YAM on Rye, one of the first festivals in the UK to exclusively showcase films made by young people. Alison is currently an active member in the Youth Cinema Network, an organisation connecting youth film festivals and educators worldwide).

Richard Fallon (Senior Education Officer at the Irish Film Institute. Before working at IFI, Richardreceived an M.Phil in Film: Theory and History at Trinity College, and a Professional Diploma in Education at UCD before going on to teach music at second level).

Fresh Film Festival is committed to SORP where appropriate and is committed to begin the long term process of implementing the Code of Governance.

Fresh is grant aided by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City and County Council. It is a not for profit organisation, the running of which would be impossible without support from various organisations including: