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New Filmmaker debuts with ‘Grace’ at the Strand

Date Posted: May 4, 2016

On May 2nd, The Strand Cinema in East Belfast hosted the local premiere of Grace – a period drama written and directed by exciting new filmmaking talent, Jack Walsh.

Grace is the story of an introverted Catholic teenager who attends a cross-community weekend and falls in love with an outgoing Protestant girl. However, when their forbidden relationship comes into contact with the treacherous outside world, they are both faced with potentially tragic consequences.

Evocatively filmed on 16mm by cinematographer, Kevin Treacy, and an 11-person professional crew, the production was financed and supported by Jack’s family and friends. The film has recently been selected for its World Premiere in the Cannes Short Film Corner at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Caolan Keaveney and Jack’s younger sister, Bronagh Walsh, produce truly engaging performances in the lead roles.

Grace was filmed in various locations across Northern Ireland including Maghera, County Down, Castlewellan Forest Park, East Belfast, the Windy Gap, Dromara, the Ulster College of Music in Belfast and the Rathlin Island Ferry.

Jack Walsh, 23, is from Lisburn. He began his filmmaking career by studying Moving Image Arts, the first A-Level in the UK in digital filmmaking, at the Wallace High School under a partnership arrangement with Friends’ School, Lisburn where he attended for a number of years. Moving Image Arts is offered at GCSE and A-Level by Northern Ireland exams body, CCEA, and teacher training is provided by Northern Ireland Screen through Northern Ireland’s three Creative Learning Centres.

After completing his A-Level studies Walsh moved to Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) Degree in Film Studies from the New York Film Academy.

Grace is his final degree piece and was filmed during the summer of 2014 in Northern Ireland, completing in early 2015.

Walsh has always written the music for his films and was fortunate enough to serve an internship with John Debney – a three-time Emmy winner and Oscar nominated composer currently in cinemas with Disney’s, Jungle Book. The packed audience at the Strand also had the opportunity to enjoy Walsh’s earlier film, Not Another High School Musical, a clever send-up of the film musical genre which sees Jack not only writing and directing, but performing the lead role and singing his own compositions throughout this imaginative and very entertaining short film.

Since graduating, Walsh has worked with YouTube Channel, the Game Grumps, in Los Angeles and has become a key member of the tight knit team there – developing a large personal online following.

He will return to LA shortly for another 3 years on an artist’s visa and is planning to attend the Cannes Film Festival later in May.

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