posted on October 31st, 2018

‘Grace and Goliath’ screenwriter receives a Rising Star Award in LA


Maire Campbell

Cinemagic’s latest feature film ‘Grace and Goliath’, which had its world premiere in Belfast, hit cinema screens in New York and Los Angeles recently.

The USA cinema screenings of Grace and Goliath were part of the 2018 Irish Screen America Programme.  The programme runs a bi-coastal Irish Screen America festival in New York and in Los Angeles, which ran from 19 – 28 October.

Irish Screen America also announced that Maire Campbell, Grace and Goliath’s screenwriter, was the recipient of a prestigious Rising Star Award at the festival.

Joan Burney Keatings MBE, producer and executive producer of GRACE AND GOLIATH, and Chief Executive of Cinemagic, the award-winning Belfast-based film and television charity for young people, discusses“We are absolutely thrilled that Grace and Goliath will be screened to audiences in New York and Los Angeles and in Boston in December. We have been overwhelmed at the excitement and positive feedback, both locally and internationally, for the film since the world premiere in Belfast just a few weeks ago.

“The film showcases the beauty of Northern Ireland, its stunning landscape and also the genuine warmth, humour and spirit of the Northern Ireland people. We are unique in so many ways and this feature film captures and conveys our positivity.”

Ms Burney Keatings continues: “I would like to thank Irish Screen America for their continued support and on behalf of Cinemagic and the wider production team I would also like to congratulate Maire Campbell. We always believed she was a rising star and this award simply confirms that!”

Originally from Omagh, Maire is a writer and director who creates ground-breaking work for stage and screen. Maire was the screenwriter for Cinemagic’s first feature film ‘A Christmas Star’ and she has also written a number of compelling short films for the charity including ‘Sasha of the Sea’, ‘Chancer’, ‘Punch’ and ‘A Time to Stand’.

Maire has just returned from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a play she wrote, directed and produced called ‘Epiphany’.

Discussing Irish Screen America’s Rising Star Award, Maire Campbell says: “I am very honoured to receive this award from Irish Screen America (ISA). ISA plays an instrumental role in promoting work from this part of the world right across America and we really value what they do for our local creative industry.

“I also think it is important to acknowledge the incredible producers and crew at Cinemagic.  They believed in me and worked tirelessly to bring Grace and Goliath to the screen; a heartfelt thank-you to them. To Tony Mitchell the film’s remarkable director, thank-you for capturing the core message of the story; that although life can be very tough, love and grace must prevail.”

Since its inception, Irish Screen America has grown in tandem with the Irish film industry and connected Irish films with audiences and distributors in the U.S. and promoted upcoming Irish talent within its North American creative network.

Grace and Goliath’s unique production process also supported upcoming talent. Fifty aspiring filmmakers aged from 17 to 25, from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Los Angeles were given the chance to take part in a six-week training programme under the guidance of British/Canadian director Tony Mitchell (The Bible, AD The Bible Continues, Primeval, Supervolcano and Flood), producer and Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keatings MBE, and GRACE AND GOLIATH screenwriter Maire Campbell.

The aspiring young filmmakers got practical experience in a range of disciplines from directing and production right through to costume, make-up, sound, lighting and music composition. Significantly, as a result of their input, they also gained their first ever credit on a feature film.

Film and television charity Cinemagic (www.cinemagic.org.uk)started working with young people in 1989, and has since run festivals, workshops and masterclasses in Belfast, London, Castres (France), New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Nashville to encourage involvement in the industry. Cinemagic patrons include Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Paula Malcomson, Julian Fellowes, and Suranne Jones to name a few.

Marie Campbell and Olivia Nash at the Irish premiere of CINEMAGIC’s exciting new family film GRACE and GOLIATH which is presented in association with Tourism NI.