The much anticipated Blackrock Film Festival is now in its second year and according to those ‘in the know’ out at the seaside village, it’s set to be even better than last year, with some classic films being shown between August 22nd and 26th.
The idea for a film festival originally came about when Jason McGee and Conor Hughes set about organising the Cinema on the Sand event back in 2015.
They contacted a supplier of a large cinema screen and advertised the event on social media.
According to Jason, the event was a resounding success, with a full moon and tide coming in early that evening giving it a great atmosphere. Over time, this has scaled up into the festival that is around today.
This year’s line-up of films includes classics such as “The Quiet Man” or “Blazing Saddles”, but also includes “The Greatest Showman” to be shown on the beach.
As Jason explains, he personally pushed for most of the films being shown this year. He enjoys the spectacle of the blockbuster being shown on the beach, saying that they lend themselves to being shown on a big screen.
According to Jason, they wanted to do something different due to Blackrock not having an annual food and drinks festival. They settled on a film festival, thinking that Blackrock could pull off something quirky and fun. This year the festival organisers plan to use props to decorate the screening locations and have dancers and singers performing before the films begin.
“We’re setting our own standard here and we don’t want to follow anyone else”, said Jason.
These little extras are an “added piece of value” Jason says. They have the usual film festival trimmings such as a red carpet and photographers, but also have a few surprise events lined up for this year.
This includes some widely unknown film trivia to be shown before certain films, as well as other events. One of the biggest surprises is that John Moore, a Dundalk-born Hollywood director is hopefully going to make it home for one of the screenings.
The Blackrock Tourism and Development group sees a lot of potential in this festival due to the size of the village. They’re able to make use of the smaller venues and Blackrock Beach is big enough to form a makeshift cinema.
Jason also sees the character of the town as a selling point for attracting more visitors. Co-operation with Fáilte Ireland will help bring both domestic and international tourists to the village.
The power of social media has been very helpful when organising the event according to Jason. Instead of advertising through traditional means, they used Facebook to inform people about the events. For the very first Cinema on the Sand, they managed to engage with over 50,000 people across Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
Blackrock also holds several other events throughout the year, such as the yearly Christmas Market and Pumpkin Carving. However, the most potential is seen within the Film Festival and more emphasis may be put on it in the coming years.