A new film festival, the first of its kind in the West of Ireland, will debut in Castlebar in 2022. The Mayo International Film Festival (MIFF ), a submissions-based festival, is dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers and smaller production companies by offering a dynamic platform to showcase their work.
Despite being an international festival, one of its core objectives is to highlight the West of Ireland, specifically Mayo, as a stellar filmmaking location, which is addressed by the inclusion of a special ‘Best of Mayo’ category. It also aims to encourage the development of filmmakers and crew based in the West.
An initiative of the Linenhall Arts Centre, and generously funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, MIFF is a new step for the organisation in supporting artists and creating access to diverse arts experiences for Mayo audiences.
"We cater for so many artforms at the Linenhall and with an abundance of dedicated film lovers in the community, we felt it was time to bring a renewed focus to the art of filmmaking", says Linenhall Director, Bernadette Greenan. "We’re starting small but aiming big, hoping that over the coming years the festival will bring welcome attention to Castlebar and Mayo, benefiting the entire community."
The inaugural festival in 2022 is being curated by programme director, Cathriona Slammon, an emerging filmmaker and screenwriter from Castlebar, whose work has been selected for festivals internationally, earning her awards and nominations in categories such as best screenplay, best director and best short film.
After completing a Master’s degree in film, Slammon is embracing the chance to support and engage with independent filmmakers. "It’s so exciting to finally have a film festival in Mayo! I hope that by bringing fresh focus to the county in this way, Mayo will be fostered as a filmmaking location, as well as a rich resource for filmmakers and crew. I’m grateful to the Linenhall for establishing this exciting opportunity for both local and national filmmakers."
MIFF submissions are currently open and submissions from all over the world are accepted, with all filmmaking styles and genres welcome. Gender equality, diversity and social inclusion are key focus areas of the festival, as it strives to enrich, excite and engage audiences.
Festival categories include Best Irish Short in Live-Action and Documentary, Best International Short in Live-Action and Documentary, Best Animation and Best Feature in Live-Action and Documentary, and Best of Mayo. Selected films will be screened in the Linenhall Arts Centre and will also be considered for awards. The judging panel is set to encompass a team of industry professionals, with trophies sponsored by Kellehers Trophy Centre, Castlebar.
There is an eight-month submission period for filmmakers, from May to December 2021 via Film Freeway, for screenings at the inaugural three-day festival which runs from Friday, February 25 to Sunday, February 27 2022. More information can be accessed via www.mayofilmfest.com or by emailing [email protected].