Festival organiser Geoff Thompson; Credit: Ali Sahib

The British & Irish Film Festival Luxembourg (BIFFL) launched its Young Filmmakers Competition during a Shorts Evening on Thursday 28 September 2023.

Whilst the core part of the BIFFL 2023 Autumn Edition came to an official close on Friday 22 September 2023, a few other BIFFL screenings and events took place this week, ending with the Shorts Evening on Thursday.

Festival organiser Geoff Thompson confirmed that attendance (for the Spring Edition and Autumn Edition combined) was up by about 30% compared to pre-COVID-19 figures. He went on to launch the BIFFL Young Filmmakers Competition, which is open to anyone in secondary or third-level education in/from Luxembourg or anyone under the age of 25 as of 1 March 2024. Films must be two to five minutes long (including credits) and can be a drama or a documentary. Entries will be judged on their storytelling, script, acting, lighting, sound and technical aspects. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2024, with the winning entries being screened at the BIFFL 2024 Spring Edition. Submissions (video link, information sheet) should be sent via email to geoff@bifilmseason.lu.

In her welcome speech, the British Ambassador to Luxembourg, Fleur Thomas, noted that the British Embassy was "very happy" about the launch of this new competition for budding young filmmakers. She thanked Geoff and his team for their "tireless work" in bringing British and Irish films to a wider audience.

Returning to the objective of this new competition, Geoff said it was to "encourage people to start filmmaking", adding that the best advice he could give was to "just start now". He invited Hammad Khan up to the front to give his tips for aspiring fellow filmmakers: he encouraged them to watch films and learn about the art form, imagine - "imagination is where it all starts" - and show rather than tell their story, be efficient, i.e. use the tools they have, and then release their creation into the world - "know when to stop, be brave, get it out there" - with the first letter of each keyword spelling "wiser" - the kind of filmmaker one can become after implementing these tips.

The audience then enjoyed five short films of varying genres and lengths: the Oscar-winning Northern Irish short film An Irish Goodbye; Luxembourg Oscar nominee The Red Suitcase; a short Irish documentary about sustainability called Movers and Shapers; another short Irish documentary about two Dublin boys who travelled on their own to New York in the 1980s, Nothing to Declare; the English short-drama George Barton.

The screenings were followed by a Q&A with the director of Movers and Shapers, Ciara Kelleher, who shared her own filmmaking experience and tips for others, and a reception sponsored by the British Embassy.