X-Pollinator announces the 12 CREATOR Participants

X-Pollinator has announced the participants for CREATOR, selected after a highly competitive process, with over one hundred and thirty applications for only twelve places. These twelve exciting female and non-binary directors will take part in an immersive residential talent development lab, encompassing a week-long residency, workshops with actors and mentorship and guidance from leading industry experts.

CREATOR kicks off this week with the immersive residency in Adare, Co. Limerick, led by renowned Irish director Aisling Walsh (Maudie, Song For A Raggy Boy) as Lead Creative Mentor. The directors will participate in group sessions with visiting experts across all aspects of the directing process; with speakers including directors Clio Barnard (Ali & Ava), Kate Dolan (You Are Not My Mother), Sophie Hyde (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) and Frank Berry (Aisha); producers Yvonne Donohoe (Boys From County Hell) and Tristan Orpen Lynch (Joyride); cinematographer Kate McCullough (The Quiet Girl); editor Alex Mackie (Benediction); and casting director Maureen Hughes (It Is In Us All).

Following the residency, CREATOR participants will get the chance to work on their skills and test out their projects and ideas with actors in a practical workshop environment in partnership with Bow Street Academy. And finally, CREATOR will connect participants with further development opportunities for them and their projects by facilitating access to shadow directing opportunities, ongoing mentorship and further networking opportunities with industry and creative producers, in partnership with the National Talent Academies.

The twelve successful directors selected for CREATOR are:

  • Aisling Byrne (Headspace, Cork International Film Festival – Grand Prix Irish Short Winner)
  • Andie McCaffrey (Sparkle, from The Actor as Creator scheme)
  • Ayla Amano (4×4, Cork International Film Festival – Special Mention for Best Director)
  • Claire Frances Byrne (Hello?) – Dublin International Film Festival Aer Lingus Discovery Award Winner
  • Gilly Fogg (El Deafo, BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated Apple TV+ animated special)
  • Katie McNeice (Lambing) – Kerry International Film Festival Taking Flight Award Winner
  • Kim Bartley (Pure Grit, Galway Film Fleadh – Best Irish Feature Documentary Award Winner)
  • Mia Mullarkey (Safe As Houses, Slamdance Film Festival)
  • Rachel McGill (Sheamy, ENGINE Shorts Winner)
  • Rosie Barrett (music videos for artists including James Vincent McMorrow, Villagers, Gemma Dunleavy and Jape)
  • Solène Guichard (VHS, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Belfast Film Festival)
  • Sinead O’Shea (Pray For Our Sinners, Toronto International Film Festival)

Proudly supported by Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Northern Ireland Screen and BBC NI’s CINE scheme and Creative Europe Desk Ireland, CREATOR will provide a unique opportunity for participants to develop their distinctive voice, build their practice and articulate their vision in a creative and supportive environment while building a peer network and confidence borne of experience along the way.

I am still striving to become the film maker I want to be and to make the films I want to make. It’s a life’s work. I want CREATOR to be about inspiring participants to achieve their ambitions. I want to talk about all that it entails to make your film from script to production to post production and beyond. The importance of understanding each step from development to casting. Finding a team to travel on the journey with you. How to find a way of working that suits you. How to achieve your dreams or at least ensure you get half way there. How to get you feeling as confident as hell to go out there and make the films you want to make.

Aisling Walsh, X-Pollinator CREATOR Lead Creative Mentor

We are so excited to be launching our new iteration of X-Pollinator: CREATOR. Given the recent report from the Council of Europe’s European Audiovisual Observatory that female directors made just 25% of the European feature films released theatrically in at least one European market between 2017-2021, and the Annenberg report that found that Hollywood releases in 2022 had fewer women and fewer people of colour directing than previous years this couldn’t be timelier. To have the trailblazing Aisling Walsh as our Lead Creative Mentor is such a coup, and we can’t wait to see our amazing group of participants who represent such a great diversity of experience and backgrounds connect, be inspired and enlightened, and to help support the next generation of Irish female and non-binary directing talent.

Katie Holly, Lara Hickey and Evan Horan, X-Pollinator Team