Fresh Film Festival

About Fresh Film

Founded in 1997 as part of the Limerick Film Festival as the Irish School’s Video Competition, Fresh Film 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 International Film Festival’ 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.

Fresh Film also runs a number of programmes throughout the year including under five headings; Fresh Events, Fresh Education, Fresh International, Fresh Production and Fresh International Film Festival

How Fresh Film 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 Jayne’s vision that brought the Fresh Film to fruition and she continues to lead the team with the same passion over 20 years on.

Ciarda Tobin

From workshop leader to young filmmaker’s advocate to Fresh Film manager, Ciarda has been with Fresh since 2001, no one knows the filmmakers or the organisation 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


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).

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)

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).

Alison McCloskey (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, Richard received 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 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: