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Boss of Oscar-nominated studio urges young people to create their own work

Pictured at Movie House Dublin Road are Sean Kelly (Into Film), Paul Young (Cartoon Saloon) and Lurgan College A-Level student Maja Ochojska

YOUNG people from across Northern Ireland were inspired to consider careers in film-making by the chief executive of an Oscar-nominated animation studio at a special event organised by Into Film.

Cartoon Saloon head Paul Young told a group of more than 200 teenagers about the increasing opportunities in the film and television industry at the Belfast Film Festival screening of his company's latest film The Breadwinner

“My advice to young people is to start as early as they can. They can be writing and putting together their own short films now – don't wait and don't be shy about sharing your work.

"My colleague Tomm Moore, who created Song of the Sea and Book of Kells – which were both nominated for Academy Awards - started making his own films when he was 12 or 13. It teaches you how to be creative and to work collaboratively,” he said.

Cartoon Saloon, based in Kilkenny, now employs 95 people while its sister studio Lighthouse employs a further 70.

The Into Film (www.intofilm.org) event, supported by NI Screen and Film Hub NI, gave young people the chance to discuss careers and to see Cartoon Saloon's newest film, which was also nominated for an Academy Award.

The Breadwinner is the animated story of 11-year old Parvana who gives up her identity to provide for her family and try to save her father's life.

Directed by Nora Twomey, it's based on the best-selling children's novel by Deborah Ellis and has been nominated for dozens of awards.

Among the schools attending the special screening at Movie House Dublin Road included St Paul's College in Kilrea, St Mary's College in Clady, Fort Hill College Lisburn and Hazelwood Integrated in Newtownabbey.

Lurgan College A Level student Maja Ochojska said: “Events like this are a great chance to hear from the actual film-maker. When you consider a career in movies, you initially think of Hollywood blockbusters and it all seems completely unattainable. But to hear about the success of a film studio in Ireland, shows that there are opportunities hear and it makes it look more within reach.”

Maja, who joined an Into Film movie club several years ago, is now a young reporter for the organisation and hopes to go on to study history, journalism or film-making at university.

Into Film is a UK-wide organisation with a regional hub in Northern Ireland, which aims to put film at the heart of children and young people's education, helping to support their academic, cultural, and social development.

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