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Sunday 21 April 2019

Kilcoole teens' short film to be screened in New York

Young people involved in the short film ‘Reality Baby’.
Young people involved in the short film ‘Reality Baby’.

The short film 'Reality Baby', which features a group of teenagers from Kilcoole, has been selected to screen at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

The short film will receive its international première at the festival, following its Irish debut at the 2018 Cork Film Festival and was also shown at the Dublin Film Festival. Reality babies are lifelike newborn baby dolls given to teenagers to care for. They cry and feed and wake through the night, just like a real baby. This short documentary follows a group of friends as they take on the responsibility of looking after these infants.

Reality Baby is written and directed by Nodlag Houlihan and produced by Matt Leigh for Zucca Films. The senior group from the Kilcoole and Newtownmounkennedy Youth Project took on the task of looking at the reality of becoming young parents.

While making this film the young people were also caring for their own reality dolls. This included all that caring for a real baby entails such as feeding, changing and caring for the dolls 24 hours a day. They participated whole-heartedly and displayed great dedication and enthusiasm through the whole process of filming and retaking. The group recently won a Wicklow Garda Youth Award for the insightful film-making project.

The programme itself helped change opinions of the difficulties of being a young parent and showed the participants the reality of raising a child while still in school. It created a great buzz in the local community and discussions have begun to bring the programme into schools with the hope of rolling it out with transition year students. They were instrumental in highlighting the very important topic of teen pregnancy in their communities and are a group of inspirational young people.

Tribeca was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Centre. The festival has evolved into a destination for creativity that re-imagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite communities. The festival will take place from April 24 to May 5.

The young stars of the film would ideally love to go to New York for the screening, but are not sure if funding can be obtained, so if any generous sponsor wishes to come forward and make the dream a reality, email Kilcooleyouthcafe@gmail.com.

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