Emma Fagan

Position: PR and Marketing ( Volunteer)


Ive had a passion for film for as long as I can remember but my love for movies and in particular my love for more diverse and offbeat cinema owes a huge debt to my parents and in particular my late Dad. In my early teens, I would not yet appreciate fully films like “Dog Day Afternoon” with a young Pacino , Scorcese’s powerful “Mean Streets” or Coppollas masterpiece of voyeurism “The Conversation” but there is no doubt that being exposed to good movies such as these growing up influenced my interests later on.

Unfortunately I never imagined that my passion for film would be something I could make a living from. When the time came to sign my life away, (i.e. fill in the CAO form) I followed the herd (and the advise of my career guidance teacher) and drifted off into a marketing course. At the time, within the circles I moved in anyway, an Arts Degree was seen as too vague and “artsy”. I loved film and cinema but I didnt see myself as particularly creative. So, for far too many years I drudged through unenjoyable jobs in marketing and market research, jobs that paid fairly decently thus enabling me to pay my bills and support enjoy a comfortable enough life. I watched a lot of movies and read about them, volunteered with the Jameson Film Festival and did several evening courses but I never really felt as involved as I wanted to be.

Then last year, I heard about the Fingal Film Festival, a relatively new but excellently run and well organised festival based in Swords, Co. Dublin. Its aim is to offer new, emerging film makers a platform for their work while at the same time bringing a range of diverse independent films to communities in Dublin and further afield. I was honored to get involved with the Fingal Film Festival as PR& Marketing volunteer working alongside the director, Liz Kenny and a team of dedicated volunteers. At first I was surprised to discover the enormous amount of work and commitment that went into running even a relatively small film festival but on Opening Night in September 2014 in Movies at Swords as the screen lit up and I looked behind me at the sold out theatre, I realised what it was all about. Unfortunately, and this is the case for all up and coming festivals, screenings dont always pack out. It can be challenge, particularly when organising a suburban based festival, to encourage film goers to sacrifice the blockbuster and try something “different” even for one night. So educating cinema audieces about new and diverse film is always going to be a work in progress but one that I enjoy.


Of course we wouldnt be able to hold a festival if it wasnt for all the talented film makers who submitt their work and every year submissions are growing from Ireland and all over the world. Another great benefit of working with the Fingal Film Festival is having access to many wonderful independent shorts, documentarties and animations and meeting the film makers when they attend the festival.


It can be quite a come down after the festival weekend to “get back to normal” after months of eating, sleeping and breathing all that goes along with the organisation of a film festival but thankfully I didnt have much of a break. I currently organise the Fingal Film Roadshow 2014 which involves screening a selection of the festivals short-listed and award winning films in various venues around the country. Obviously one of the aims of the roadshow is to keep the festivals brand in the minds of the public but what I relish most about it is letting the average film goer know that there is much more out there to enjoy in the world of films aside from whats on in the local multiplex and that they dont need to be afraid of the unknown. I think that sometimes people see the word “foreign” or “subtitled” and immediately think this film is not for them. Why? Its just a story like any other but in a different language. This year in fact, a larger proportion of the films we scheduled were Irish and some of these were “as Gaelige”.

I’m passionate about building audiences for independent films from new, emerging filmmakers and also shaking off the negativity that has been associated with Irish made films in the past as there is so much talent out there that needs to be supported. With this in mind, I am really looking forward to bringing the Fingal Film Roadshow around Dublin and Ireland in 2015!

My favourite film from the festival was the award winning Skunky Dog, a powerful and poignant Irish film set in rural Ireland produced by Paddy Slattery and directed by James Fitzgerald. My top 5 favourite films of all time are Carlitos Way, Withnail and I, Secretary,The Fabulous Baker Boys and Requium for a Dream, all of these fuel my passion for film.


Emma Fagan

Fingal Film Fest